Dot Foods trucking operations meet holiday challenges of these pandemic times

Maryland

WILLIAMSPORT, Md. (WDVM) — This week leading up to Christmas can often be stressful; and with pandemic-related supply chain issues, this year’s holiday could be especially challenging.

Waiting on that Christmas ham or turkey? A Dot Foods warehouse could be loading it on the truck right now. The Williamsport, Maryland Dot Foods trucking warehouse is used to meeting deadlines. But this year, with supply chain issues and labor shortages, getting those trucks loaded proves especially challenging.

“There’s a lot we’re getting out each day,” said Evan Davis, Dot Foods warehouse manager. “We’re throwing a couple thousand each day, 1,500 per truck, and we’ve done about 35,000 up to date.”

Making sure those feasts are on the table keeps the Dot Foods warehouse particularly busy this week, delivering Honey Baked hams and turkey sides to dining rooms all across America. Because this is the busiest time of year, it takes weeks to prepare.

“Accuracy is key in making sure everyone gets their hams in time for the holiday, and we really can’t have any mistakes in order to ensure everyone gets their meals on time for Christmas,” said Ben Zeiger, Dot Foods operations support manager.

Trucking is a tough industry and it’s not getting easier. Since 2019, the nation’s workforce of over 400,000 long-haul drivers has been down to about 25,000.

“We’re facing the same labor challenges everyone else is,” Zeiger explained. “It definitely helps that here we definitely have a good core employee group and they do a really good job every day.”

But Zeiger and Davis said they hit the jackpot landing at Dot Foods. Their hard work has put them on a management track at the company, delivering for more than a thousand companies in all 50 states.

“I’ve moved up from the chain as far as going from warehouse floor to a lead to a shift manager to a warehouse manager, so there’s a lot of opportunities here,” said Davis.

The Williamsport, Maryland facility is one of 12 distribution centers the company operates in the U.S. Dot Foods says meeting their deadlines would not have been possible without their great employees. The American Trucking Association estimates the industry could hire another 80,000 drivers to fill available positions. It is an aging workforce with only 7% made up by female drivers. Another challenge is a new federal database that bars truckers with drug and alcohol violations.

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