Following the Mona Vale incident in early 2014, jurisdictions like NSW’s Roads & Maritime Service (RMS) have increased their watch on compliance with crackdowns aimed at catching out non-compliant operators and drivers. Under the Chain of Responsibility (CoR), everyone is liable for his or her role in compliance, from senior management, supervisors and staff through to the customer; the responsibility is no longer just on the driver’s head. There is no excuse for non-compliance.
Compliance is a day-to-day consideration for transport companies and their operating staff and drivers. Companies are constantly advised to operate as if an auditor is to walk through the door each and every day. Drivers and the back-office must adhere to a variety of compliance areas. These range from laws and legislation that legally must be abided by through to optional regulatory programs like the IAP or NHVAS.
There are the obvious benefits to abiding by the law or taking up compliance schemes. Simple benefits such as a reduction in the number of speeding infringement notices received or keeping permits, IACs or program accreditation because vehicle configuration and mass limits were not exceeded.
There are also the not so obvious reasons, some you may already know – although some may be a bit of a surprise.
Plain and simple, it’s great for business. Showing certification to win business is a real positive. Contracts can easily be won because you can prove that the company is compliant, empowering staff and drivers to be responsible for their part in the process. It further shows that a safe working environment and culture is built.
The IAP or NHVAS are schemes that allow transport operators to run a more efficient and productive operation. High Productivity Freight Vehicle (HPFV) can be operated on a specific road network throughout Australia’s states. HPFVs allow operators to save on a number of measures, including:
- Carrying more with less – the number of trips that are required are reduced, as vehicles are now able to carry an increased amount of freight.
- Fuel savings – since the number of trips is reduced, operators can see fuel savings of up to 50%.
- Vehicle combinations – The combinations available allow operators to partner with trailer manufacturers to engineer new combinations to suit requirements under the Performance Based Standards (PBS).
Efficiency gains are important to business – it helps reduce the costs required to operate with minimal dollar value input.
One of the biggest performance measures any operator has is productivity. Senior management is always on the look out to increase productivity with as little effort or dollars as possible. Something that regulatory schemes provide operators is an increase in productivity; the gains are extremely measurable.
Leading on from operational efficiencies, the ability to carry more freight means a reduction in the number of trips. It also means that these vehicles are now freed up to complete an increased number of jobs, increasing profitability and raising customer perception. As you complete more jobs for your customers, the number of customers being serviced increases, you are able to take on more work and your customers are happier. They’ll receive their goods faster and are more likely to come back to use your services.
Operating vehicles in compliance schemes requires monitoring of a variety of different modules – mass, maintenance, fatigue, speed, location and so on. It all depends on the undertaken scheme and its requirements. For example:
- Enrolling in the IAP requires an approved In-Vehicle Unit (IVU) to be installed that monitors your vehicle position along with recording mass into an in-vehicle monitor like Transtech’s iFace.
- The NHVAS requires records to be kept for auditing purposes to help manage operator compliance violations in exchange for carrying an increased payload.
In-vehicle technology provides drivers with a simple method to provide information to the back-office, jurisdiction or auditor.
The iFace is a rugged 7″ in-vehicle tablet-computer that allows for huge benefits – undiscovered benefits that couldn’t be found without technology, the Internet and its automation. The driver can enter information into the iFace along with the iFace automatically capturing data as events occur (such as location or speed). This data is then communicated in immediately to the back-office via an online portal; an example is Transtech’s NextGen platform.
So what are these benefits?
- Real-time information – data is collected in the field by devices like the iFace, IVUs, other in-vehicle monitors (such as vehicle performance), satellite trackers, PDAs – the list goes on. The data is communicated with NextGen and is displayed in human-readable terms. For example, GPS latitude and longitude is collected but you see a map of where the vehicle is located with a whole variety of information like job, fleet, device and vehicle data.
- Live alerts – alerts are triggered as events occur. These are communicated via in-system notifications, emails or SMS to pre-configured users. Real-time alerts as events occur.
- 24/7 Access – NextGen is a solutions in the cloud, allowing for 24/7 access from anywhere with an Internet connection. Stay informed, no matter where you may be – from home, business trip or the office.
- Proactive management – the ability to act as events occur and are brought to your attention, rather than after the fact means a reduction in infringements. For example, you are alerted to a speeding vehicle, allowing you to notify the driver to alter their driving behaviour. You can proactively approach situations – no more waiting for the inevitable house call from an auditor, jurisdiction or an infringement notice in the mail.
- Benchmarking and performance in report data – as already mentioned, devices in the field all send data into NextGen. Reports allow you to benchmark driving behaviour, monitor driver delays, find compliance issues, monitor driver logbooks, keep track of vehicle maintenance issues through completed pre-trip checklists and so forth.
- Make better and quicker decisions – as the back-office is alerted to events that occur in the field or as reports are run, quicker and simpler decisions can be made based on the information that is immediately available. They’re simpler because you know exactly what the issue is.
- Incentive – with the wealth of information that’s now available, management now possess the ability to provide incentives to better on-road driving behaviour with programs aimed at slowing down speed or driving smarter and safer.
Technology is an advantage, not a liability. Though drivers may initially be sceptical when introduced, it does make life easier – the benefits are substantial and are realised quite quickly.
We have discussed how the access to technology can help provide back-office staff and operating drivers with the means to comply. Technology helps lighten the load and the responsibility felt in organising pre-trip checklists, managing driver fatigue, distributing necessary documents and so forth. Non-compliance is then an excuse – it becomes so easy to comply that there is no other option. The iFace proves itself as an imperative driver tool capable of providing multiple applications, helping ease the load of everyday compliance tasks.
How does this have any relevance? Lets take SpeedAssist as an example. It’s an application that monitors driver speed providing instant visual and audio feedback. The vehicle’s speed is constantly displayed on screen as determined from the GPS signal. Green when the driver is not speeding, turning orange when the set threshold is reached (say within 5km of the speed limit, so 65km/h in a 60 zone). Once this limit is passed, it turns red signifying the driver is now speeding, sounding off a very obnoxious alarm that persists until the driver has slowed down. This alarm is designed to modify the driver’s behaviour. A reduced amount of speeding trucks on the road keeps the general public safer along with the fact that the number of infringements is reduced for the operator and the petrol bill reduces; a win-win situation. The back-office is instantly notified when these speed events occur and fleet managers can counsel drivers when disciplinary action is required.
Speed is just one example. The other compliance applications available on the iFace are:
- Sentinel – a tried and proven fatigue management system for both driver and back-office. It empowers the driver to manage and comply with their fatigue rule set.
- Pre-trip Checklist – a company configured vehicle and driver checklist that is aimed at allowing the driver to run through a list of important vehicle and driver points prior to commencing their journey.
- Mass Manager – an application that allows the driver to record individual axle-mass or combined mass directly to the iFace.
These three other compliance-based applications along with SpeedAssist help cover off all your NHVAS requirements, providing real-time information to office staff. Beyond money, productivity and efficiency, operating in a safe environment is for the greater good and the right thing to do. Operators can no longer just talk about safety; it is something that has to be actioned.
Advancements in and the wide availability of technology has allowed for the programmed spread of information throughout the operation. From the driver to the back-office and back, communication and information is now simpler and easier than ever. The iFace and NextGen‘s around the clock availability provide this unique position.
NextGen keeps staff, their supervisors and management well informed via reports, alerts and a dashboard full of valuable information. Human-readable graphs, tables of dependable information and maps with event markings and geofence data allow you to drill down to specific details. Technology and automation work together in this regard.
We have already discussed how technology can benefit the operator, but what do we mean by automation? Think of your operation and how it is run in terms of record keeping – of all the required data and information. Then ask yourself, how do i do this?. Most would answer with a paper-based system. Back-office staff and operating drivers are filling in forms for every single detail. Before the driver leaves with the vehicle on its journey, a checklist is completed or the mass of the vehicle is recorded on paper and kept with the driver until they return to the depot. Even the paper-work diary can be automated with technology.
Now pose yourself this real-world problem. The Paper-Work Diary (PWD), whilst legally required to be paper-based can be made simpler for drivers and back-office staff by implementing an Electronic Work Diary (EWD) in parallel. As drivers record their fatigue information on paper, they also record them in the EWD. This informs the driver when the next rest break is due and for how long. The back-office is notified in real-time if drivers haven’t taken their rest breaks and are in violation. Staff no longer has to wait days or even weeks for their copy of the PWD; they can act straight away if they have a driver operating outside of their fatigue hours.
Transtech’s iFace has a number of applications that provide feedback immediately to the back-office, ranging from Pre-Trip Checklists, Mass Declaration, Speed Monitoring and Sentinel Fatigue Management – an answer to the above conundrum. Drivers are able to record their fatigue information directly into the iFace, which back-office staff can see immediately able to see.
Sentinel alone provides a wealth of new benefits, including:
- Proactive management of violations, allowing staff to monitor each driver more effectively to reduce the number of violations that occur.
- Providing the drivers with the tools and means to proactively manage their own fatigue, in-turn, creating a responsible work environment.
- Intelligent and accurate rostering, as staff are able to see from a single report how many hours a driver has driven for the last seven days, along with information on remaining hours, long/night hours and so forth. This helps reduce the number of future violations and to plan trips and routes more efficiently.
Technology, efficiency and automation all play hand-in-hand. Once the investment in technology, it provides drivers and staff with the means to comply and the wealth of efficiency and productivity gains increase ten-fold. Operating drivers and staff become progressively responsible and watchful for their part in the compliance process.
Transtech will guide the journey to discover the right technology. The professional customer service team listen to operational needs and provide a world-class solution that fits the requirements – nothing more, nothing less. They provide an uncompromised service and a unique solution. With over 25 years of industry experience, Transtech deliver high-quality solutions to provide operators with a significant and very rapid return on investment.
Contact Transtech today on 1300 427 123 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.