At last – an operator is hitting out on the subject of clients who demand the guarantee of safety and compliance for the haulage of their goods but aren’t willing to pay the appropriate premium for it. Instead, they go with less expensive operators who skimp on this crucial aspect of moving goods, often to the detriment of all parties involved.
FleetWatch has stated in the past that not all customers are Kings. Many, in fact, are way down the ladder of royalty rankings when it comes to working with hauliers to ensure safe, reliable, quality transport. All they want is the lowest rate without any concern given to how that rate can be achieved while enabling the transporter to conduct Best Practice standards. Nah! Not all customers are Kings. Many are Dogs.
“In such a vital sector, there is simply no room to cut corners. The end result for those clients seeking cheaper compliance options might be that unroadworthy vehicles end up in crashes and contribute to the country’s already-alarming road death statistics. From a business perspective, non-compliance can also be devastating,” says Bidvest International Logistics (BIL) Roadfreight SHERQ manager, Taryn Wenlock.
Because the industry faces numerous challenges, there is a need to shore up compliance standards to assure clients that their goods are in safe hands.
“It is the responsibility of operators to ensure vehicles are in possession of a Roadworthy Certificate, that there is no overloading, that pre-trip inspections are carried out and that drivers hold the required professional drivers permit (PrDPs) and that all drivers undergo regular medical check-ups,” says Wenlock
Going for the cheapest rate can not only result in material and financial losses but there can also be an interruption of business if the product being transported is part of the production process, particularly if there is high demand for that product. Modern manufacturing plants work to ‘Just-in-Time’ principles and deliveries have to be on time. On the road breakdowns and worse, having a truck impounded due to it being unroadworthy, are killers of ‘Just-in-Time’ production processes.
“Vehicle compliance is a key factor to ensure that the vehicle is not impounded which would create a delay,” Wenlock says, adding that there can also be situations where people end up with criminal records or the business might be charged higher insurance premiums. Even worse is if a negative incident is covered in the media, which could force the business to close.”
Wenlock’s responsibility as a SHERQ (Safety, Health, Environment, Risk and Quality) manager is to ensure that the relevant training, policies, procedures and risk assessments are in place and that all regulations and legislations are adhered to and updated as and when Acts require this. She also ensures compliance with regulations and legislation regarding the transportation of hazardous and non-hazardous goods from suppliers to their clients.
Devise a check list of compliance
To ensure clients are getting quality compliance from their logistics service provider, Wenlock and her team have devised a proven ‘check list’.
“We are effectively managing the risk of potential financial loss arising out of legal penalties and financial forfeiture, or material loss through non-compliance with regulatory requirements, industry standards or internal policies,” she says. “This is ensured or obtained by measuring and monitoring the service provider’s performance based on on-time deliveries, incidents and overall performance of the service provider.”
BIL also conducts audits on the service provider every two years, and ensures it is SQAS (Safety & Quality Assessment System) accredited and mirrors BIL’s standard operating procedures. Essentially SQAS evaluates the quality, safety, security and environmental performance of the service provider.
A further point on the check list is to set objectives, targets and goals that are received in a monthly report based on KPIs or KPAs.
“Having a clear, effective compliance programme makes it clear to stakeholders that compliance is a top priority for your company. It shows your commitment to doing business the right way and to the highest ethical standards,” Wenlock says.
It is a sentiment BIL national compliance and risk manager Lawrence Aldworth agrees with wholeheartedly.
“Compliance to all laws and regulations are obviously non-negotiable. However, by focusing on compliance to quality requirements, an organisation will ultimately ensure its ability to consistently meet its client requirements. Given the global environment in which we operate, getting the correct goods to the correct place in the correct condition – at the correct time – is an ever-increasing priority for the supply chain and consumers alike,” he says
Aldworth suggests that clients should always be proactive in their approach, and verify “upfront” that the intended service provider has a good track record of quality compliance.
As an endorsement to the comments made in this article, have a look at the accompanying FleetWatch video. It was taken some time ago but is still relevant today. And that truck was taken randomly off the road. Please note the end comments regarding the lower rate. That says it all.