By Patrick O’Leary
FleetWatch always believes in giving credit where it is due and in this case, we lift our hats high to Zimbabwean-based haulier, Nick’s Motors, for the dynamic and proactive action management took in responding to criticism of the behaviour of one of its trucks on a South African road.
Offering cross-border road transportation, Nick’s Motors services clients within the mining industry as well as major fuel and energy companies and smaller private industry players. The rigs haul from hazardous bulk liquids such as diesel, petrol and paraffin to specialised products such as mining solvent and JetA1.
The story started on the N14 when I stopped at the scene of a crash that had taken place earlier in the day. Clean-up operations were underway and I noticed that very few cars or trucks would slow down when passing the scene. That made it a pretty dangerous place for the workers.
Knowing of past incidents where construction and emergency personally have been killed in secondary accidents at such scenes, I decided to do a video to highlight the need to slow down. It was while shooting the video and interviewing one of the supervisors to get his opinion on the conduct of other road users that a Nick’s Motors rig came past at a high speed.
To cut a long story short, the video was uploaded onto the FleetWatch Facebook page and it was seen by many, one of whom was Simone Mesham, managing director of Nick’s Motors. Note that the video was intended to highlight the need to slow down at such scenes – not to put Nick’s Motors in the spotlight. It was a mere co-incidence that their rig came through while the video was being shot. The video can be seen here.
It was the next day that I received an email from Mesham. I was expecting it to be filled with outrage and indignation. Why? Because I have received some pretty indignant emails – and telephone calls – in the past after highlighting an on-the-road fault. Some operators go on the defensive rather than reacting positively to what is intended as constructive criticism. It this case I received a most pleasant surprise.
Mesham started off her email by thanking FleetWatch for its on-going efforts to improve road safety. She then stated that they had taken note of the video and that the driver would be sent on a Practical Driver Evaluation Assessment on his return to the depot. She also asked for a copy of the video for use as part of a Tool Box Talk Forum to be used in the training of all their drivers.
Wow! What a great response. Of course I sent them the original video – and here’s the really good news. This was followed up by Mesham sending me a copy of the Practical Driver Evaluation Assessment Form done on the driver who was shown in the video. His name is Inkram Dzimunwe and he was debriefed and coached specifically on his approach to hazards on the roads.
In addition, other company drivers were also shown the video in their training sessions with the result that through the positive reaction of management, all Nick’s Motors drivers are now aware of the need to slow down when approaching hazards on the road. That video has now become part of the company’s standard driver training sessions.
You can see a short video of some of the drivers watching it in a training session. FleetWatch is also pleased to see its road safety posters being put to good use in the training sessions.
Note that on his return to the depot, the driver was not shouted at. Rather, he was coached specifically on the problem as highlighted in the video so as to avoid repeating the same mistake in the future. By doing this, he has become a safer driver when out on the roads.
After seeing all this, I popped into Nick’s Motors website for a quick look around. What the company claims on its web site is backed by the actions it took in this case. Under the heading ‘Why we Excel’, it states: “Our success and growth is built on our reputation on delivering fuel swiftly, reliably and at a fair price. Over time, we have put in place better systems, established a stronger presence on the route, employed improved technology and launched better processes. From intensive driver training to strict adherence to SHEQ guidelines, performance excellence is integrated across our entire organisation and this commitment underpins everything that we do.”
I have visited the web-sites of some companies and compared their actions to their words. They are miles apart. In this case, however, you can believe what you read on the Nick’s Motors website – simply because they walk the talk.
Well done on setting such a great example.