Compliance management practices can transform the customer experience.
Techniques for optimising road transport operations have become critical in meeting the increasing demands of customs and reducing cost. Optimised route plans and delivery schedules leave no leeway for being pulled over by the DVSA for a spot check – and any resulting infringement fine may wipe out the profit margin. So how can road transport operators tread the fine line between compliance and optimising efficiency of the operation?
Pushing the Limits?
With reduced profit margins, stiff competition, driver shortages and ever more demanding customers, transport operators may be pushing the limits in order to achieve tight delivery slots and maximise asset value. Yet how many companies are accurately assessing the risk of this model? Every day a driver is pulled up hit with a fine for exceeding permitted drivers’ hours; every day a vehicle is subject to a roadside worthiness inspection – and fails on several counts.
Taken as isolated incidents – a fine of a few hundred pounds here and there – and a company may perceive that pushing the limits is worth it. But is that true? In addition to cost, there is the on impact on the operators’ customer. Such roadside inspections are not quick, especially for repeat offenders, and the delay will compromise the company’s ability to keep on schedule.
But the impact goes further than an individual journey. Each time the DVSA has cause to penalise a company or its drivers, the Operators Compliance and Risk Score (OCRS) may rise. And that means more risk from more attention and fines – not just on the roadside but at transport office or depot as well. The reality is that pushing the boundaries without true visibility of the potential implications is a high risk strategy and one that adds cost and undermines the customer experience.
The only way to manage this risk effectively is to take a ‘compliance first’ approach. From managing tachograph regulations and drivers’ hours to checking drivers’ licenses and ensuring pre-journey vehicle inspections are undertaken. Embedding these processes within the normal day-to-day operations makes these essential aspects of compliance “business as usual”.
For example, automatically and routinely checking a driver’s license and any endorsements against the DVLA records not only saves time but avoids the risk of out of date information from the (soon to be discarded) paper license counterpart. Licence checks can be scheduled in accordance with the risk profile of a driver (e.g. the number of endorsement points). For those drivers with more points and therefore a greater risk profile, the company can instigate more frequent automated checks using a licence verification service such as SmartLicence, ensuring compliance is maintained at all times.
Probably the biggest issue is tracking and managing drivers’ hours. With the reported shortage in drivers, the opportunities for individuals to work longer than permitted by the law continually grow. Drivers face pressure from some firms to work extra hours; while some drivers decide to take that risk themselves. Either way, the potential business impact is huge. Road transport operators need to not only enforce the limits but also ensure that measurement is done accurately and effectively, creating an audit proof record for the DVSA in the event of a potential breach case. Solutions for managing digital and analogue tachograph data such as Smartanalysis are available for around 25p per driver per day. A fine of £300 would pay for Smartanalysis for 1,200 driver days and will help ensure compliance with drivers’ hours law for that period!
With confidence that compliance is ‘baked in’, it is far easier for organisations to optimise the operational effectiveness of the transport operation with optimised routes, telematics and mobile applications to serve customers better and increase profitability with no fear of accidentally pushing the limits – and paying the price.
Source – Total Delivery
Posted on: 15.05.2015