How Maverick’s Mike Jeffress is helping his company — and the industry — combat the brain drain crisis with you guessed it, education.
Once a tech, always a tech. As VP of Maintenance at Maverick, Mike Jeffress is proud of their technician training program. He started out as a fleet tech himself, and was instrumental in getting Maverick involved in the annual TMCSuperTech competition.
“The driver is our customer.” Maverick fleet techs play a big role in driver retention. Each truck is a driver’s home away from home, so the techs want to keep them happy and keep them rolling. After all, without the drivers, the techs don't have a job.
One and done. A fleet technician fills a fleet vehicle with PEAK Final Charge. Because it’s rated for a million miles, he won’t have to flush and fill this truck again before it reaches the three-year trade cycle.
Low driver turnover. The driver turnover rate at Maverick is about half that of other fleet operations. While some operations report turnover rates of 110% per year, Maverick consistently comes in at 60% or less.
Stay a while. It is not uncommon for Fleet Technicians to stay at Maverick for 20 years or more. The younger techs see the tenured techs as a daily reminder that they’re on a solid career path.
High driver satisfaction. Drivers appreciate the rigorous training they get at Maverick, not to mention the well-maintained trucks, which Maverick trades out every three years.
Career move. According to Mike Jeffress, Maverick recognized the coming shortage of drivers and techs early on. “What we decided to do at that particular point in time,” he says, “is make sure that we were developing careers for our employees.”
A closer look. One of the skills Maverick techs learn in training is how to test the freeze point of antifreeze using a refractometer.
Divide and conquer. Brent Hilton, Director of Maintenance, is responsible for re-organizing the upkeep of Maverick vehicles under six Maintenance Coordinators. Each one is responsible for a specific group of trucks, which not only adds accountability, but aids in maintenance scheduling.
Labor saving coolant. Each of Maverick’s 1,400 trucks comes in for service four times a year. Each coolant flush and fill takes about 20 minutes. So with it’s million-mile warranty, Final Charge saves Maverick about 1,000 man-hours a year.
A productive month. In a typical year, the average Maverick technician spends 150 to 180 hours a year in training classes and modules. That’s a solid month of learning everything from vehicle wiring to power trains to engine fluids.
A new breed of mechanic. “Mechanics are not referred to as a mechanic or grease monkey anymore,” says Director of Maintenance Brent Hilton. “The trucks have become so sophisticated, with the technology that's on them nowadays, you have to be a technician if you want to be able to diagnosis and troubleshoot problems.”
Vital fluids. The purity of PEAK BlueDEF is key to maximizing truck performance. And Final Charge’s million-mile warranty convinced Maverick to go with this PEAK coolant exclusively.
Morale boosters. VP of Maintenance Mike Jeffress says morale for fleet techs at Maverick is at an all-time high. He says they appreciate the fact that the company is invested in their development and career path.
Competitive advantage. “Training here at Maverick is definitely a competitive advantage for us,” claims Mike Jeffress. “We want to make sure that our staff is above and beyond those the rest of the industry. And the only way to do that is invest time, energy and effort into their continuous education.”
Numbers game. According to labor statistics, 50% of fleet technicians will retire in the next 5 to 10 years. Which makes Maverick’s emphasis on technician training look like a brilliant investment.
Want a raise? Take a class. When Corporate Service Manager Jon DeBusk isn’t in a service bay overseeing vehicle maintenance, he can be found teaching technicians in Maverick’s training center. “The more training that they receive,” says Jon, “the more salary they make.”
“This industry is going to lose 50% of our service techs in the next 10 years. Training is the only way we can meet this challenge.”
MIKE JEFFRESS VP OF MAINTENANCE, MAVERICK TRANSPORTATION
As cofounder of SuperTech, North America’s premier service tech competition and training event, it should come as no surprise that Mike Jeffress is passionate about the value of education. The Arkansas native views rigorous training as the only way the industry can combat the dwindling number of service technicians in North America. And the best way for Maverick to compete as it grows into one of the largest haulers of glass and steel in the US. It’s why the company recently spent $4 million to construct a state-of-the-art training facility, and why its technicians spend nearly 200 hours a year in the classroom.
WELCOME TO MAVERICK U
THE LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS HEADQUARTERS IS A “STATE OF THE ART” CAMPUS FOR PROFESSIONALS IN THE TRANSPORTATION INDUSTRY.
“PEAK FINAL CHARGE DOES OFFER US A BIG ADVANTAGE OVER CONVENTIONAL COOLANTS.”
JOHN DEBUSK CORPORATE SERVICE MANAGER, MAVERICK USA, INC.