As a company, we are big believers in continuous improvement.
In many ways, we identify with “Kaizen” which is the Japanese philosophy based on continually seeking ways to improve operations. The key element of this principle involves identifying benchmarks of excellent practices and instilling a sense of employee ownership of the process.
Having worked closely with transport operators of heavy vehicles for the last 20 years, we know that there are always fleets at different stages of the spectrum when it comes to how well their safety management systems are implemented.
Technology used by road jurisdictions to enforce compliance is getting better and it’s far easier to put the spotlight on those who fall foul of the laws. For example, penalties for breaches of NHVL Chain of Responsibility (CoR) in 2018 were increased to up to $3 million fines for corporations and $300,000 plus 5 years imprisonment for directors. For the worst of offences. In terms of new areas that need to be addressed, was the inclusion of maintenance management as a responsibility, a closer alignment with WHS laws (including risk management) and new primary duties to ensure safe practices for each party in the logistics chain.
Tying everything back to the Kaizen approach, it’s our argument that management teams should regularly scan their current operational practices to identify areas that can be adjusted. Here is a summary which should work as a good guide.
Checklist of a Safety Management System (SMS) which can be improved:
- Drivers are required to complete safety forms using paper
- Driver fatigue record are manual with fatigue checks not possible until after the fact
- Corrective action processes are manual
- Paper is used to manage runsheets
- Business critical data is stored in Excel spreadsheets
- Administrative staff are used to collate and enter data into systems
- Reliance on the public or police when speed breaches occur
- Issues gaining access to sub contractor’s safety records
- Team members (internal or external) can potentially tamper with safety records
Take a moment to think about your fleet and ask yourself this question; If something went wrong, would you be able to provide the required evidence that your company had taken all-due-diligence approach?
For us, these represent key reasons why transport operators need to make an assessment on where they currently sit and be open to seeing how technology can be used to (a) achieve efficiency by (b) reducing the total amount of moving parts contained within your business.
Step to Improve Your Safety Management System:
- Remove paper that is used to collect data and require data entry
- Ensure any improvements are scalable to help your business grow – prove you have systems in place when you bid for jobs.
- To establish a baseline, analyse the systems your competitors have in place
- Ensure structured Change Management processes are in place to introduce new systems
- Address any areas where records can be manipulated by internal or external stakeholders
By taking an integrated approach to your safety management system, we have seen businesses gain rapid returns on investment and improve their risk rating almost immediately by using mobile applications to channel all data into one place. By removing layers of administrative process involved with a reliance on “paper”, time can be freed up to strengthen other areas within the business. Managers are also able to make better decisions by having access to Business Intelligence (BI) dashboards which can show data in real-time.
By digitising runsheets, you are not only able to better manage fatigue, you are able to review jobs in real time, improve run optimisation, which can mean more work can be taken on without having to invest in more drivers and vehicles.
One of the greatest impacts we see of using a single system to manage your operations is the peace of mind that comes with knowing that managers work under a standardised business processes which can future proof the business – thus opening up new opportunities for succession planning and/or selling if desired.
Lastly teams can revert to “exception reporting” which uses technology to automate the process of highlighting where the gaps are which need filling. It’s like an automated audit identifying when there are issues. This allows you to quickly transition and close gaps within your business.
Source: Read more about Kaizen here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaizen