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Almost Here! STR Compliance in 5 Steps

Eighteen years and counting! Time flies when we’re having fun, and sometimes even when it’s not so much fun. This July I will truly celebrate my anniversary here at Pam Young & Company, Inc. It is a pleasure and a privilege to own a business that is so diverse and positioned to be an asset to so many people who trust us with their own businesses.

As the time gets closer, I will be sharing a bit more about our previous owner, Jack Pardue. He is quite ‘storied’ and many of you remember him well. One of you told me the first time we talked that whatever Jack said, you could ‘take to the bank.’

One principle that Jack drove home to me was to show up every day ready to be the best help possible to everybody who needed it. I used to sit across the desk from him and listen as he seemed to be promising the moon to people. But darn it, he always delivered.

And what was so amazing to me was how he just had a knack at listening to someone and within minutes out came an idea, a solution, a possibility, all sorts of options in Jack’s mind to be helpful. Sometimes people didn’t even realize that then could use a little boost, but Jack just could see it, and always wanted to do it. If there ever was an example of ‘If there’s a will, there’s a way,” Jack was it!

I can’t say that I am as in tune with people as Jack. But I can say that for almost 38 years (Jack opened in 1978) our primary purpose has always been to find ways to help our carriers be as strong, healthy and happy as they can be.

As we started talking about the FDA’s Sanitary Transportation Rule, it wasn’t long before I could tell that not many members of the trucking community knew much about it. One of Aly’s carriers told her, “Just give me 5 steps to do to make sure we’re compliant.” So, I did.

Section by section, I read the rule and broke it down into ‘compliance pieces.’ I have to admit, I would rather read case law than statutes and regulations, but digging into the nitty gritty has to be done to ‘get done.’

The FDA’s overall goal, as it states throughout the rule, is really to build on current safe food transportation practices. So while there are requirements, most carriers, at least the professional ones, are already doing most of what is required.

I sent our carriers a link to a sample section so that they could check it out and let me know if what we are suggesting makes sense and has potential to be a tool in their compliance efforts. If I get a ‘thumbs up’ and I can get things tweaked according to their suggestions, I will make the plan available to anyone who might be interested.

My hope that this is something that a) will help carriers get their plans done, b) be able to use as a tool with their freight customers, and c) give them confidence that they are completely compliant, which is the most important thing to me. It is so important with all the changes in the industry to know you are on the right path and that a company can answer ‘Yes’ to the question, “Are you operating a safe and secure trucking operation?”

In our email newsletter, I also included a link to our How to Deliver your Cherry Load in ‘Cherry Condition.’ I want to believe that carriers are educating and training their drivers in the nuances of hauling produce. But I am finding that there are definitely some holes in driver training. If a carrier’s drivers and dispatchers follow these guidelines, they will eliminate unnecessary and unwelcome problems in their produce shipments.

Trust me, this list was gained through more pain that I want to admit! But 18 years driving this bus with very few claims (hear ‘knock knock knock’ on my wooden head) and I’m thinking this list is solid.

Take advantage of my mistakes. I am happy to share this list. Stop in and send me your email or call us and we can send you a link for access.

Jack’s advice to drivers who had fallen a bit behind their delivery schedules was always “Pick ‘em up and set ‘em down. One foot in front of the other.” This is sort of how I think of this new FDA rule and the path to compliance. It’s all doable, and having a plan to help stay organized will make you all Produce Transportation Specialists!

Hang in there, safe travels.

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