Turners (Soham) Ltd Drives To The Forefront Of Fleet Conformance With Descartes Tachograph Analysis Software And Compliance Management Solutions
Founded in 1947 by two Cambridgeshire-based brothers who set up a local haulage business with a fleet of one truck, Turners has since expanded to encompass more than 1,200 vehicles and delivers cost effective, innovative supply chain solutions for transport and warehousing from 27 UK locations. With the company’s growth has come the need for automated processes and technology to help ensure driver compliance and operational efficiency.
Having previously managed and monitored driver performance through analogue tachographs, the industry was hit with the compulsory fitment of digital tachographs for all newly registered commercial vehicles in May 2006, in order to improve driver safety and reduce infringement levels. Running an extremely modern fleet, with regular deliveries of new vehicles, Turners was therefore required to update its approach to tachograph data analysis and needed the help of a company with the ability to analyse digital data. Working together with Descartes, Turners became an early adopter of the Smartanalysis tachograph analysis software in Descartes’ range of SmartCompliance solutions, which was initially trialled in three Turners locations.
John Burbridge, Group Quality and Compliance Manager, explains: “The Smartanalysis solution has grown with Turners as an organisation, and we have since taken on board every one of Descartes’ SmartCompliance solutions in one location or another. We could see that the rationale behind the Smartanalysis software was very good. The solution allowed us to easily lift all of the information we required at a realistic cost and we could manage the process ourselves, which we found much easier than having lots of other people trying to manage our compliance for us.”
“In 2008, Smartanalysis was rolled out throughout Turners, meaning we could quickly list and print data from the digital tachographs and present the driver with charts and reports showing their driving compliance and any infringements. We could print off all drivers’ hours law reports and infringement reports, as well as speed traces and vehicle data reports – in comparison to the analogue approach, everything was now instantly available so we could focus on the non-compliance issues to get us to the level we wished to achieve.
“Before digital tachographs and the deployment of Smartanalysis tachograph analysis software, our company infringement level was around 8 per cent or more. Now, however with Smartanalysis it is significantly reduced so that we currently run at an average of below 4 per cent. This is a great improvement and gives us the security when achieving the significant growth rate of the business that has taken place at the same time.”
Timely access to digital tachograph data is essential for managing compliance. It is required by law that digital tachograph driver card data be downloaded at least every 28 days and vehicle unit data every 90 days. This was increased from 56 days in the UK in 2015 to bring it in line with the rest of the EU. However, for most operators sticking to 56 days or less for VU data makes sense as it enables them to spot issues such as missing mileage earlier and take action. For a fleet of 1,200 it can be a huge task to co-ordinate and time consuming to download the data. Automatic Remote Download solutions make this task quick and easy and Turners has been at the forefront of the adoption of this technology.
“Again, this is a solution we have easy access to through Descartes SmartCompliance and we have now installed the Automatic Vehicle Download solutions SmartDownload in approximately 25 per cent of the fleet. The use of this technology saves around 100 hours of manual downloads per week across the fleet,” explains John.
“To capture the data from the truck, we simply set the download frequency we require – typically every seven days – at the desired time. During emergencies, for example, if a truck has been involved in an accident, it’s a huge advantage to automatically download real-time analytics through a simple phone call to the vehicle’s box. It means we can have access to the information before the vehicle has even been recovered.”
As well as monitoring and providing visibility of the compliance of vehicles, Turners is also able to use the digital tachograph analysis provided by Descartes to help incentivise further improvement to driver compliance levels. A local league table of driver infringement and performance ratings is showcased at each site, as well as a company-wide monthly infringement report to encourage depot managers to ensure infringement levels remain low. When tendering for new work, Turners’ high compliance levels are also generally very well received and reinforce the company’s approach to compliance, efficiency and customer satisfaction.
With the abolition of the paper driving licence counterpart in 2015, the most recent solution that Turners now benefits from is the SmartLicence online tool, used for managing driving licences and verifying the licence details with the DVLA. Through the provision of a historical log of checks and changes to licence details, SmartLicence allows Turners to assess the risk of licenced drivers and manage the frequency of checks accordingly.
John expands: “For us, the flexibility of SmartLicence works particularly well. If we think a certain driver needs monitoring more closely, we can increase the frequency of checks. We can also reduce the frequency for drivers who we know are compliant. A lot of other licence checking systems operate a standard fee with checks every 12 weeks, but with the SmartLicence scheme, we can apply the filters we want to focus our time and effort. We administer the system ourselves by simply altering the filters on line and we always have visibility of the cost.”
John concludes: “As a company, Turners has very much evolved around the Descartes SmartCompliance solutions and we have even developed a tachograph improvement programme for drivers based on Smartanalysis data, to ensure we continue to be held in high esteem by both our drivers and customers.”
“We’ve always been very impressed by the service level Descartes has offered us in the many years we have worked with them. We have a very good working relationship and one we at Turners are keen to continue; our compliance levels speak for themselves and Descartes can’t be beaten when it comes to its solutions, service and costs.”
John Burbridge, Group Quality and Compliance Manager, Turners (Soham) Ltd