Einride Portraits: Shabnam, Logistics coordinator
Einride Portraits: Shabnam, Logistics coordinator
Shabnam isn’t one to be intimidated by obstacles. She has obtained degrees in Criminal Justice and Operations Management, tackles hurdles head-on in her role as a logistics coordinator at Einride, and (literally) makes a sport out of navigating across grueling obstacles. Perhaps it’s little surprise that the mother of one isn’t shying away from the most pressing obstacle course of them all: the global climate challenge.
What is your role at Einride?
I work with the US Operations team as a Logistics coordinator. I specifically work at the Maersk site, in Chicago. Last year, Maersk announced that it would be adding 300 Einride electric trucks to its North American network, which made headlines for being the largest operational contract for heavy-duty road freight. We’re now part way into that rollout, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to see this come to life.
What does a logistics coordinator do?
Logistics coordinators exist at many companies, but being a logistics coordinator at Einride is a type of role that’s never been seen before. We are logistics coordinators in that we have oversight of the routes that drivers take on a daily basis, but we’re also fleet managers at the same time. We monitor the trucks and look for ways to improve the way that they are driven and operated. On top of that, we are learning processes and best practices that we can implement on other customer sites as they open.
In addition to that, we really are here as support for the drivers and all aspects. You could say we are one of the human interfaces to the future of freight. When it comes to the Einride electric trucks, we do all of the driver training, we maintain all of the vehicles and on top of those basics we also monitor what the drivers are doing on a day-to-day basis between their driver behaviors, driving patterns, mileage driven.
We're watching all these little pieces of their day-to-day, to try to find ways to improve battery usage on the trucks – among many other things – as these insights enable Einride to make electric transportation cost-effective for the shipper.
What is it like doing a type of role that has never existed before?
We were the first of this position in the US, and having the opportunity to build this type of role from the ground up has been a fantastic opportunity. This has been probably one of the most rewarding things I've ever done – because not only are we carving out a key function and what that looks like, but we're ensuring that things just improve. Not only for our generation but also for future generations, really. As this builds up more and more, it's only going to get better.
What was it like seeing an Einride electric truck for the first time?
I first saw one in person during my training and a few weeks later had the opportunity to drive one, and I can honestly say I’d never been so excited to work with a piece of equipment. And I still get excited when I work with them.
The fact that it’s quiet, with no vibration and no tailpipe emissions is all very surreal, but then you add to that what it represents in terms of paving the way towards better for the world. It's a remarkable piece of machinery – and a game changer for this industry.
Had you ever imagined yourself working for a freight technology company?
I never imagined I would be doing anything like this. Growing up, I actually wanted to become a homicide detective. And I even completed a degree in Criminal Justice. Then I guess you could say I switched gears, obtaining a degree in Operations Management, which led me to a role in the transportation sector, where I spent 6 years before joining Einride in September 2022. In my previous role I was an operations supervisor for a medical courier service.
Are there any parallels between detective work and what you do now?
I must admit, my current role is quite a stark contrast to police detective work! However, one parallel I do see is that both require a strong eagerness to do the research.
Einride operates some of the largest electric fleets in North America and Europe. And one of the reasons we’re able to be ahead of the game is our digital capabilities, since we’re able to gather lots of data from operating our vehicles in real customer contexts – and from that data, we can build advanced algorithms for coordinating and further optimizing electric freight.
Another key reason is our operational expertise. And that’s where I and my counterparts come in; we work to diagnose and solve challenges as they come, and we’re recording and digesting those learnings – or adding meaningful context to the data – to prevent similar issues recurring.
So, while I’m not the detective I once thought I might become, I’m nonetheless working in scenarios in which you are presented with a problem, and you need to do the investigation in order to find the answers or solutions you need. This is something I love to do – roll up my sleeves and dive head-first into research in order to complete the investigation.
What do you love about working at Einride?
I’ve had some fantastic support in previous roles. However, the support that I have seen my counterparts and our higher-ups provide to one another at Einride – the inclusiveness that I've seen – it’s something I’ve never experienced to this degree.
There’s also the excitement and passion that people feel when it comes to the movement of “electrification” that we’re really driving. Seeing everyone else around me constantly so excited about what we're doing – it helps keep that fire burning.
What are some of the challenges of the role?
One of the challenges is also one of the reasons I love my job – because it feels incredibly rewarding when you overcome it. It’s the fact that not everyone is embracing change, especially at first.
Some drivers are used to their traditional diesel trucks and are very set in their ways. So when they come here and see that they will be driving the electric trucks, they're very apprehensive.
We're really here to provide the support they need and to show them that this is the future. “The age of sustainable shipping is here,” I tell them. “You are literally driving it. And we’re all working as a team, so let’s do this. Let’s make things better.”
What sort of reactions do you get from drivers when they see the Einride electric trucks?
It really goes one of two ways. There will be the one driver who comes in, and they're super excited about this; it's like a new toy for them. They want to play around with all of the cool bells and whistles. These drivers are somewhat easier to work with because right off the bat, they have that interest.
On the other side, you have drivers who are slightly more – if not significantly more – apprehensive. They’ve been driving diesel for years and perhaps think that electric is not yet mature enough or that it's unreliable.
Meeting them, we give them a full training, we bring them around the tracks, we ride with them. We're constantly here as support if they have questions or concerns as long as we're really feeding them the information that they need. After a bit of time, the apprehension fades and the comfort starts to settle in – us being here on site helps to enable that smooth transition. And I think that’s important when it comes to change.
It's also a kind of support that is rare for some drivers. Generally, you don't see people going out with the diesel drivers and monitoring what they're doing and working on improvements, since it's been around for so long. On the other hand, the drivers walk in here and they see our bright smiling faces first thing in the morning ready to help them out and do whatever it is they need! I believe it makes a very big difference for them, being supported like this, day to day.
What would you say to those who feel that electrification is still a few years away?
Honestly, I would say: What are you waiting for? Why isn't the time? It's happening. You can see it with your own eyes. We’ve got vehicles on the road. Drivers are driving. The goods are getting moved. The emissions are being saved.
I understand why some may be hesitant. People can be incredibly resistant to change. Sometimes it’s tempting to stick to what you’re used to rather than go through a potentially uncomfortable period of time feeling challenged – especially when it goes against your instincts or what you know to be tried and trusted. It can take a lot of open-mindedness to switch over to something different. But I’m glad to have helped many drivers come around and get on board!
What are some of your hobbies and interests?
About ten years ago, my sister and I randomly stumbled on an obstacle course race. Prior to this we were quite fitness oriented, but these races – which we really started getting into over the years – introduced us to a whole new type of training. You really build up your endurance and strength. And they’re not just physically challenging, they’re also incredibly challenging mentally. And, you know, I just love a good challenge – doesn't matter what aspect of my life it is.
I actually met my husband at an obstacle course race! We haven’t competed in years, pausing due to the global pandemic followed by the birth of our daughter, who is now 1. But we are now back in training for it, and we’re both very excited to compete again.
Has having a child influenced how you think about the global climate challenge?
Absolutely – it makes a big difference. My daughter was 6 months old when I joined Einride. To be part of something that will benefit her and future generations is a big part of why I love doing what I do.
I mean, the global climate challenge is the biggest obstacle course there is. And it’s grueling. And it requires focus, determination, and a lot of work. But we have to find our way through.
I really do believe it's possible for people to band together and do what needs to be done. And it’s important to be optimistic about the possibilities. Part of why I love my job is that I get to share that optimism with others; I get to inspire them to embrace what seems like one small change to them – switching from diesel to electric driving – but a change that has a huge impact once you take a step back.
Want to join Shabnam in driving change for the better? We are always on the lookout for spirited and ambitious people who can bring relevant expertise to our team. Check out the Einride careers page to see our open positions.