How Twitter changes the game of trucking

Many companies within the logistics and supply chain industries are stuck on the social media starting line.  The reason – “they can’t get past the word ‘social’ and the perception it creates.”  The reality is that social media is a tool that can be utilized to create value and grow your business. 

This is the second in a series of articles that provides examples of companies within the logistics and supply chain industries who have moved beyond the social media starting line and have realized the business value of participating in social media.

trucking and Twitter

Long-haul truck drivers are more likely to be overweight or obese than the general public (86% v. 65%). Additionally, truck drivers are more likely to smoke, have high blood pressure, and suffer from sleep apnea than the general public.  The poor health of long-haul truckers is largely due to their lifestyle.  Long-haul trucking is a sedentary lifestyle.  It is also a lifestyle which makes it challenging to access gyms and healthy foods.

The cost of poor health is enormous – for truckers and for their employers.  The estimated annual health care costs of obesity-related illness are $190.2 billion, or nearly 21 percent of annual medical spending in the United States.  Looking specifically at the trucking industry – a study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that obese truckers had an annual average total health care cost of $1,944, compared with $1,755 for overweight truckers and $1,131 for normal-weight drivers.  A sleep apnea screening and treatment program conducted by Schneider National identified 350 drivers who required treatment.  Treating these drivers not only improved their health, but it also improved the company’s bottom line – over a one year period, Schneider National saved $530 per month per driver in insurance costs and saw a 71 percent reduction in accidents involving those drivers during the same period.

An article in Today’s Trucking shares the story of Jason Janneta a 42 year old trucker who had been driving for 20 years and was a poster boy for the statistics – overweight and unhealthy.  Fed up, he decided to make a lifestyle change.  Within six months of embracing a healthier lifestyle he had lost 80 pounds.  During this period he had also taken to Twitter to share his experience and to motivate other truckers to adopt a healthier lifestyle, lose weight, and improve their health.

Tweeting as @urbanhauler with #fittrucker, Jannetta captured the attention of other truckers (he quickly grew his followers to more than 1,500) and the attention of Jared Martin, the President of Speedy Transport.

Martin recognized the value of Jannetta’s efforts and of #fittrucker – healthier individuals, a healthier bottom line, and opportunity to attract new drivers.

According to Martin:

“I really enjoyed a lot of his posts and what he was trying to do for the industry, so we brought him in for a meeting.”

The two discussed the role of health and fitness on the future of the transportation industry. The next day, Martin offered Jannetta a job at Speedy Transport – Driver Trainer and Wellness Advisor.  Martin accepted the position and now tweets for @speedywellness where he brings “#trucking and #fitness/#wellness together.”

Speedy Transport is one company which has recognized social media as a business tool and has moved far beyond the social media starting line.  The Twitter profile of @speedywellness rightly points out “we #ChangeTheGame of #Trucking.”