When is a speeding offence not a speeding offence?

Are you ready for Rural Intersection Activated Warning Signs?
Have you got a RIAWS in your area? If you are in Canterbury or Manawatu, the answer is yes. Now that the last confusing Limited Speed Zones are all but phased out, enter the RIAWS. There are two trial sites:

• SH 1 and Route 56 at Himatangi, north of Foxton.
• Intersection of SH73 and Buchanans Road in Canterbury

According to the NZTA, “When a vehicle on Buchanans Road approaches the intersection, the electronic signs on SH73, about 150m each side of the intersection, will flash and display a 70km/h speed limit. Traffic on the state highway will need to slow to this speed, thus reducing the impact speed should a collision occur. If there are no vehicles on the Buchanans Road approach, the open road speed limit of 100km/h will apply.”

The best news about this is that at least there will be some certainty about what the speed limit is, similar to the variable speed limit on SH1 climbing out of Wellington towards Johnsonville. The question that is yet to be answered – and I’ll head out to have a look – is whether there is enough warning to slow down for the short stretch of road affected. Drifting at indiscriminate speed, whilst evaluating the hazard for yourself will be a no – no, but this is exactly what most do when approaching a roadworks sign with no sign of a wheelbarrow or road grader. I give you a high probability of earning a speeding ticket in the coming months for failing to adhere to the notice.

GPS monitoring of speed events in restricted speed areas.
All of this raises the question again of why speeding in restricted areas cannot be accurately monitored remotely. As any veteran of GPS speed monitoring can tell you, if a truck is shown as speeding at 96 km/h you can be certain he is above the speed limit, no matter where he is. But if he is travelling at 76km/h the answer becomes less clear. The reason for this is the disparity between the physical placement of the speed limit sign at the side of the road and where that is shown on the map in your GPS system. Even if the distance between the physical sign, and the map speed boundary, is only 100 meters, if your GPS system reports discrepancy between truck speed and speed limit, in that 100m buffer a truck legitimately travelling at 76km/h, could be shown as speeding if the map thinks he is still within the 60km/h area he has just left. Given that most speeding tickets that come up in discussion are issued in 50, 60, 70 and 80 km/h zones, this is a frustrating glitch in the management system which also reflects a significant impact on your ORS rating. Going back to the above RIAWS, to pre-empt a question that is sure to arise, no, there is not a simple way to monitor your fleet’s compliance with this. The closest you could come would be to geofence the area and enforce 70km/h for any of your drivers travelling through it, regardless of whether the sign is flashing or not. I’m not sure that is a practical option given the nature of the traffic on the Foxton straights.

MPH speedos
An article in the NZ Herald this morning shows an Auckland operator who has installed in cab lights to provide real time feedback to drivers. One of the triggers to turn a LED from Green to Red is exceeding the 50km/h speed limit. This is being welcomed by those who drive the European models which are afflicted with the “absence of a 50km/h mark on speedometers.” I see two challenges with this;

• If a driver hasn’t yet worked out that 31mph equates to 50km/h – the speed limit on the majority of his driving area, will a flashing light really help?
• The flashing light will be subject to the same inconsistencies of mapping discussed above so the driver could be falsely penalised, when his end of month “red LED” events are counted.

As ever, the limitations, as well as the possibilities, of the technology need to be well understood, to be used as an effective management tool.

Are higher fuel prices better for the economy?

Fuel prices
I have just been reading a fictional account of a discussion between a politician and an oil mogul in Texas. The Politician needs to balance his budget and his wife won’t let him cut spending on education or healthcare. He can’t raise taxes as it’s an election year. So he approaches an oil giant and asks for a favour. “I need you to help me to double the price of fuel at the pump, in return for some extra drilling rights.” The thinking was, if fuel prices go up, so does the government’s tax income.
So the Oil mogul thinks for a minute, “mmm that’s a tough one. We can’t say oil’s in short supply, we used that last year and made heaps of cash… our best year for a long time. What we’ll do is say that demand has risen as the economy is buoyant. That way, people will be happy to pay twice as much for their fuel because it means the future is bright.” And so the deal was done.

Fuel efficiency
I love it when researchers dumb down their stats to help us to understand them. Apparently for every 10km/h you drive over the speed limit, you use 10% more fuel.
Last week, I read of a move to consider raising the speed limit from 100 km/h to 110km/h. The AA has proposed the idea and apparently the government hasn’t ruled it out and the police are “open to discussion.” Does this mean that your vehicle will suddenly be 10% more fuel efficient when it is travelling at 110km/h? Of course not. Be careful whose advice you listen to and make sure it is not dumbed down so far that it is just plain dumb.

Australian Crash Stats down
Australian National Transport Insurance reports that number of major crashes per 1000 trucks and trailers fell 43% between 2003 and 2011. In an interesting angle, the data shows that where the crash was a car or light vehicle vs truck, the car or light vehicle was always at fault. If we can’t educate the majority, those of us in the minority, will have to continue to practice our defensive driving techniques to avoid those that cross our path.
Note that inappropriate speed in 2011 accounted for;

• 25% of all truck crashes in Australia
• 26% of all truck crashes in NZ
Fatigue in 2011 crashes accounted for;
• 11% of all truck crashes in Australia
• 11% of all truck crashes in NZ

Morale of this story? Mind your speed.
Speeding means you have to think quicker and react faster. The more you do that the faster you wear yourself out. You’re more likely to crash, either because you’re going to fast, or because you’re exhausted from the effects of previously going too fast. Your reactions often mean you have to brake more often, which reduces momentum – that’s great to avoid a crash but rubbish from a fuel efficiency perspective. Drive to the conditions, look further ahead, don’t wear yourself out; you too can be a fuel hero. Work at your driving to show your boss that he has to buy less of the pricey diesel to keep you in your truck – over time those savings will reap benefits for you and for him.

Its Easier Than You Think, But Not As Easy As They Tell You It Will Be

Saving money on fuel and operating costs is a fantastic achievement. We have been privileged to support a number of operators to have wiped in excess of $100,000 off their annual costs – some of these are part of national advertising campaigns funded by EECA at the moment.

But what of the other 98% of the industry – why are you not getting those savings too?

The Manager’s answers
• It will take too much effort and we’re not sure the savings will be worth it
• We don’t have time for that kind of thing
• Our trucks are speed limited, so we’ve got speed covered – that’s the main thing
• It’s on the job plan, and we’ll get to it later this year
• We’ve got a big tender / customer project just come up that is taking all our time
• We are finding it hard enough to get drivers, without ****ing them off trying to tell them how to drive their truck

The Driver’s answers
• Fuel savings? I think I’m better than most.
• With the crazy things they waste money on in this company, there is no point me busting a gut trying to save them a few cents on fuel
• By the time I’ve made my log book fit the work they gave me, I don’t have time for much else
• They did have a bit of a thing about speed and fuel last year, and it was good for a while there, but they lost interest so we just put the boot back up it and its gone back to how we used to be.

The perception of those In Charge
• Fuel savings are easy.
• There are a lot of manuals available, the transport companies just need to follow them
• Isn’t it obvious that trucks should never be left idling already?
• Transport Operators must need their heads read – why are they whining about RUC when they could make all that money back in fuel savings?

The truth
• Savings between $5,000 and $10,000 per truck per year are possible
• They don’t “just happen” but it isn’t a new full time job either
• Sometimes operational stuff does have to take priority, but it is not an excuse to completely give up on the project
• To achieve fuel savings, you first need to admit that there are some things in your business that could be working better
• Saving money on fuel is not the main prize, it is just a measurable side effect of getting the managers and drivers working really well together
• Most drivers want to work within the law
• Most drivers want to be able to prove that they are the best driver in the fleet, and will work hard to achieve that status
• Drivers who work for fleets that have a focus on fuel efficiency seem to enjoy their work more, are more likely to stay at their job, and try to encourage their mates to work their too.

Every fleet that we have worked with that has saved money on fuel, has achieved it in their own way, but they all have a few things in common. They:
1. have admitted to themselves that their company doesn’t always run like clockwork
2. are willing to have another crack at the way they work with their drivers
3. make their decisions based on facts
4. use each month’s data and action plan, as a new opportunity to make a difference

What is holding you back? Join the discussion on our facebook page.

Drivers hold the deciding card

Truck Crashes are down, but not far enough. The target needs to be zero truck crashes. This year’s stats show that in the year to Sept 2012, there were 216 truck crashes – 1/3 fewer than the previous year. This is fantastic news.

As with last year, the biggest cause of crashes is driver behaviour – speeding, inattention and failing to give way or stop. These account for 2 out of every three crashes.

Over the last couple of years, the industry has taken a hammering as the Operator Rating System has been introduced. Customers have been putting clauses into contracts along the lines of “If you fall below a 5 star rating and do not regain it when the next stats are issued, your contract will be terminated.” Ops managers all through the country have been chasing down maintenance programmes and debating the likelihood of their trucks being stopped for a road side inspection. But the biggest factor in the ORS what the driver does behind the wheel.

Your managers have acknowledged that speeding is not OK, fitted speed limiters and written a note in the company newsletter, or on the notice board.
They have either fitted handsfree kits in the trucks, or removed them entirely and put data terminals in the cab instead. They have implored the drivers to start driving as if this is 2012 and not 1973.

At the same time, the speed cameras across the country have been updated so they can now tell what is a car and what is a truck, so trucks will have their photo taken at 95 km/h, not be able to confidently blast through at 100km/h+

Yet, amongst all of this, you drivers are still blatantly speeding, using your cell phones and drifting thorough junctions. As an industry WE NEED YOU to know you are NOT “just a driver,” that the laws of the road are NOT beneath you, and that speeding tickets are NOT an occupational hazard. It is NOT OK to find a way to cheat your speed limiter, or to over run going down hills.
All of your manager’s work and all of my work is completely useless without you guys being professionals whilst you are out there doing your thing on the road.

I know that overruns down hills are incredibly fuel efficient. I know that it means your truck is not revving so hard as it works to restrain 40ish tonnes surging down the hill, and that is good for engine wear but amongst all of this, Safety is a number one priority. There are more people on the road, many of them are muppets. We need our professional drivers to show the rest of them how it is done, to lead by example, I’ve got a bunch of other text book nerdy phrases and all of them are appropriate here – are you getting the picture? We need you to be responsible.

If there was a rating system for drivers, based on the telematics in your truck, (not just on the records of the CVIU) how would you score? You know and I know that just because you have no speeding tickets, don’t meant that you don’t speed. Using a cell phone is illegal whilst driving, yet inattention (which is how cell phone use is classified) led to 1 in every three truck crashes last year, so you ‘re doing that too. You might be the king of the road ranger gearbox, able to eek out one more km/h than other drivers on any given hill, but are you actually safe behind the wheel?

So when your managers come to you with the GPS records from your truck, PLEASE accept the challenge to improve your stats. Step up and think about your driving – the rules have changed. Now it’s time that you did.

Focus on Fuel

Fuel Efficiency seems to be the new buzzword.
Renewed Govt interest has sparked the industry into action and now it seems that everyone has a way to help you to cut down on your fuel spend. The real question is: How do you know which solution is right for you?


Bolting things to your truck
Will this reduce your fuel consumption? Yes absolutely, but this gear comes at a price and will only be worth it to you in certain operations. You need to get the right kit for your job.

Pouring things into the fuel or meddling with the engine.
Exercise caution here. Manufacturer’s warranty can be a much needed pre – paid insurance policy. You could be giving that away for a too good to be true experiment -proceed with caution and a lot of research.

Again – tyres are not a one size fits all solution. Not only that, but measuring improvements in tyre wear can be a challenging business. By the time you have had a couple of punctures and rotated the tyres between axles, can you reliably point to a unit and know if your costs have reduced? Having said that, managing your existing tyres better (checking tyre pressures and condition regularly etc) can give you a measurable improvement in your fuel consumption.

Speed limiters
OK, so even though I rant on every month about not driving too quickly and what surer way to drop your speeds, and therefore your fuel than to prevent your drivers getting up there in the first place? Be wary though – if you don’t get your drivers on side with this, your fuel consumption could go the wrong way. There are a few “cheats” to get around the speed limiter in some trucks, but not only that, you try telling a driver he can’t do something he wants to do without giving him a good reason and watch him try to get up to speed more aggressively, drinking more fuel as he does so. A speed limiter should be a reminder to the driver of an existing policy, not your opening move.

Driver Training
We all know that nothing useful gets changed unless you can persuade your drivers that it is a good idea. So the real answer is obvious – you need to train your drivers. But have you ever noticed that after a few weeks that the training has worn off and everything is back to normal? Bugger – that didn’t work either…

The magic ingredients
All of the above will work in your favour, with two important ingredients: communication and follow up.
The only guaranteed way to reduce your fleet’s fuel consumption is to take advice from people you trust and respect. People who take the time to understand your fleet and operating environment and who will create a solution that reflects your needs. Even the best suppliers don’t know everything about your operation, and can only work with what you tell them about it. You need to communicate with them to make sure the approach you are going to take combines the best of your combined knowledge.

The next stage is to communicate with your drivers – they need to be convinced of the need to change – tell them what you want them to do and WHY. Don’t be surprised if you have to tell them more than once, you are asking them to change something they have been doing for years and it won’t happen overnight.

One last thing…. if you want to know how much fuel you are saving, you need to measure it, and make sure the right card is being used to put fuel into the right truck. Because it would be really annoying to go to all the trouble of convincing your drivers to slow down, adding covers to your bin trucks and deflectors to your linehaul trucks, negotiating a service deal with your tyre supplier and bringing in a driver trainer, to find that any savings were being drunk up by a private car being refuelled with a company card.

Good luck, it’s worth it when you can save around $6,000 per truck per year.

“You need friends in business”

“You need friends in business” Jim Ramsay from Hooker Pacific declared to the RTF conference last week.

One of my customers put it another way, “transport isn’t our only division, but it is the one with the highest costs and the highest compliance – it is the one we need to focus on the most.”

Having just got back from the RTF conference as I write this with all of the RUC, VDAM, H plates, ORS, RIDs, CoFs and other letters re-imprinted in my mind, it occurs to me that the first “friend” you need in this business is an interpreter…

Jim is right though, those initial years setting out with CCS Logistics so many years ago were hard, despite my qualifications and years of experience with big UK operators, establishing a business in the NZ transport industry was an uphill struggle.

The difference was made by those who believed in me and were there to watch my back and give me a leg up when the opportunity arose. More than seven years on, the CCS Logistics business is growing steadily and employs a team of great people – something that would never have been achieved without those “friends.”

In this industry where they tell us the freight task will double, but advertise trains at the expense of trucks, encourage environmental responsibility, but make HPMVs and over specc’d trucks for fragile freight difficult and / or expensive… yes you need friends.

This is evident in the slow amalgamation of smaller transport companies into larger entities, and is also evident in the relationships which I see our customers developing.

This is the generation where successful operators are increasingly sticking to their knitting. If you are good at running trucks, focus on that and surround yourself with others that can feed you with the information that you need – whether that is market intelligence or operating data from your fleet.

Data is important to make good decisions. In fact data management has recently been touted as the number one priority in continuous improvement.

This being the case, choosing reliable partners in this area has never been more important.

In some ways it has never been harder either. Even just in the GPS world, there are more suppliers than ever (30+ operating in NZ). Unfortunately many of these, you don’t want on your team.

People I want on my side, are those that I can form a personal connection with, who I can respect, who give more than take. At CCS Logistics we have seen more than our fair share of GPS suppliers who have dived into the market and their sole focus is to sell as many units as they can in the mistaken belief that this is the fast track to mammoth profits. I am sick and tired of those suppliers – they market features they have not yet started to develop, they get distracted part way through the development of something and leave it unfinished and they defend their product without checking its performance first. This is probably the most frustrating part of the CCS Logistics’ job.

The most rewarding is when, despite such supplier generated hurdles, we are able to support you by diving into your data to find answers when you want to understand why one truck is outperforming another, or introduce a driver incentive programme, or demonstrate your safety profile at insurance renewal time.

Investing time in to the relationships that we have means that when you need to call on them, your “friend” will instinctively know what you need, not just what you are asking for.

To me, this is the essence of a good partnership.  Two experts who coincide when required, to deliver a good job. As an operator, you will know more about running trucks than the other people on your wider team of “friends”. But they know stuff about things that you don’t want to understand so when the team comes together, it will make your business a success, and that should make theirs a success too.

Hanging it all out there

Can you have a driver that registers the lowest number of speed events through your GPS system but who is not your safest driver?

This is the question that came up at a customer review meting recently. It brought home to everyone that a manager’s intuition is an important part of interpreting the stats recorded by the GPS system.

Stats aren’t the whole story; they will tell you what has happened in the area you are looking at. If you are only looking at top speeds, they won’t tell you there is a problem in cornering speeds. If you are only measuring part of the operation, you could be missing something.

In this case, top speed is absolutely critical in managing safety of the fleet on the road, but it is not the only measure. The customer was baffled as to why Driver One was flagged as a red risk in the number of times he had gone over the speed limit, and the speeds he was reaching, but it was Driver two on the same route which was attracting all of the complaints.

When you overhear a conversation from the driver that he “couldn’t quite catch the guys to join in on the CB conversation” it suggests that the stats are right – Driver One is definitely pushing the truck faster than the managers were happy with, so there is something to work on there. But what about Driver Two?

In the absence of any GForce monitors in the trucks to measure fast / dangerous cornering, a target area or “Geofence” is being set up in the GPS system to monitor the transit time of both trucks through the risky area on the route that they both travel. It is expected that Driver Two will have a much faster transit time through that twisty challenging section.

He is probably trucking along at 90km/h on the straights but keeping his boot right up it around the corners. Driver One is probably the opposite – cautious on the corners but winding up the speed on the straights.

Here’s the trick – as a manger you have to deal with both situations. Granted you will need to take a different approach with both drivers as they have different issues, but both are likely to harm your fleet image, and eventually your finances. This isn’t a question of priorities (I’ll start with Driver One and get round to Driver Two later”) this is a question of clear and present danger.

The speed limit for trucks is 90km/h.

I will often ask a manager “have you ever told your drivers not to speed” and occasionally I get the right answer. But my new question is “have you told them what speed you expect them to drive at?” We are constantly asked to monitor the speed of trucks over 95 km/h rather than 90km/h, but in doing this, you are sending a message to your drivers that 90-95 km/h is OK.

I completely understand that when you start looking at the speed of your fleet, you get a shock at just how fast some of the trucks are going and getting them back to 95km/h is a big enough challenge. I also understand that speed has a part of the industry for so long that it feels like a mammoth task to address it. But you have to. Here’s why:

  • Crash records show that faster your drivers go, the more likely they are to crash
  • The more often your drivers go too fast, the more likely they are to crash
  • The Chain of Responsibility makes you, your managers and dispatchers just as much at fault as your drivers
  • The Operator Rating System 5 star challenge could be won and lost on speeding alone
  • Your performance in the ACC Fleet Safety Programme will also be affected

Getting the speed of your drivers under control sends a clear message that you expect professional behaviour from your drivers which will have other positive spin offs for your business – instead of the kind of spin off that could land your truck in the ditch.

CCS Logistics welcomes John Doesburg

A former senior manager with the NZ Transport Agency has joined forces with CCS Innovation in Logistics. John Doesburg, who held the position of National Manager – Commercial Operators Road and Rail at the NZTA is now an Associate Advisor with CCS Logistics.

As NZ’s only independent fleet performance support office, the team at CCS Logistics have spent the last 7 years interpreting GPS data and turning it into a managed improvement plan tailored to each customer. Their focus is to provide practical advice and tools to transport operators to improve safety and compliance and to reduce risk and operating costs. Corinne Watson the Managing Director of CCS Logistics is excited about bringing John on board “We have been constantly growing over the last few years and it will be great to have John join us to expand the services we can provide to our customers to help them meet their goals.”

John brings extensive management experience from both the private and public sectors, and a very strong compliance/regulatory background. This will assist operators to put management systems and processes in place to operate efficiently, while remaining compliant. John says “I enjoy working with people at all levels of an organisation, encouraging them to develop within a team or as individuals. I am looking forward to helping operators improve their ORS rating and also improve their fuel efficiency in my capacity as a Heavy Vehicle Performance Advisor and Business Programme Partner with EECA. Working alongside the team at CCS Logistics gives me the opportunity to leverage the experience of my years at the Transport Agency and put this to positive use within an established service company.”

John can be contacted on 021 822 316 or jdoesburg@ccslogistics.co.nz


Still got your fingers crossed?

There are too many truck crashes.

The CVIU are saying that trucks are getting faster.

The crash stats show that trucks travelling too fast was the leading cause of truck crashes last year. Research and my own personal experience shows that driving closer to the limit, is more tiring and makes drivers more reactive, and more likely to make a mistake.

No-one is perfect all of the time, but if your safe driving policy is Fingers Crossed, your fleet is a ticking time bomb.

Myth Busting: 

  • Going faster gets you there sooner
    • Not really, the extra braking into corners and accelerating out of corners average out against a driver who plans ahead and keeps a more consistent speed. Over a trip of 4-5 hours, a good driver may save 10 minutes on the trip. That’s not enough to change a customer from “irate because its late” to “happy that you are on time.”
    • Solution? Ring ahead instead so they work their frustration out whilst the freight is still on the road, and have time to change their own plans to work in with the new ETA.
  • Cruise control stops your drivers speeding
    • Cruise control is dangerous round corners, and doesn’t provide braking going downhill. Even my own car picks up speed going downhill on cruise control – and that is without 40ish tonnes pushing it forward
    • Solution? Only use cruise control to maintain a safe speed on long straight flat roads, with plenty of visibility.
  • Drivers need to make time up on the road
    • Why should the driver be used as the Get Out of Jail Card for poor depot processes, or prioritising the wrong truck for loading?
    • Solution? Travel time should be seen as non negotiable. If the trip takes 4 hours, allow at least 4 hours. If you need it there sooner, plan the loading to get it away sooner.
  • Speeding is a driver problem
    • It might be the driver’s licence but it is your brand. Your customers take notice of how your trucks look on the road. The chain of responsibility makes it legally your responsibility.
    • Solution? Make it your business to find out which of your trucks are speeding and why, then do something about it.
  • Driver training doesn’t help
    • Just because a driver has a driving license, and even if he has 15 years experience, doesn’t mean that he is driving the way you like to think he is. Truck technology is constantly changing, why is it ok that a driver maintains the same driving techniques year after year?
    • Solution? Use driver training to reward drivers, or as part of the package when you put them into a new truck. Show them that you think they are worth spending money on.
  • We haven’t had a big crash for years so we must be doing something right
    • If you can’t say why, it might be your turn next

What should you be doing to make sure that speed is managed in your fleet?

  • Decide what speed you think is OK for your fleet (hint: the speed limit is 90km/h)
    • Tell all of your staff, not just your drivers, and make a sign up to put on the wall.
  • If a driver thinks he will be late, instead of speeding, what do you want him to do?
    • Add the answer to the sign too
  1. Use your GPS system to monitor the speeds your trucks are travelling at. If you don’t know how to drive the GPS system, or it takes too long, get someone else to do it, or outsource it. If you don’t know the facts about what is happening, how can you be sure that all is fine and dandy?
  2. Run a competition and compare the drivers against each other. You know how they like to compete – especially if you offer a cool prize (a cap or jacket from the local truck dealer normally goes down well)
  3. For those drivers that lose the competition what are you going to do? They need some support or training. You can’t ignore these guys – because by doing so, you are telling them that speeding is OK.
  4. Put someone in charge of ongoing monitoring. Maybe a supervisor or someone from your health and safety committee. Make it important, because it could prove to be a life safer, literally as well as professionally.


In Cab Gadgetry

“Are you crazy – you’re putting iPhones in your trucks???”
This was my reaction a few years ago when an operator told me he was sending his drivers out equipped with the first generation iPhones. This was before iPhones were even common place on the street, and when any devices in the cab were big, industrial, wrapped in rubber and generally cost upwards of $3,000 each.

Well hats off to that guy, he had it sussed. The $3,000 hardware wasn’t working for him, and he had the faith in his drivers to look after the gear. After all, the trucks they were driving cost upwards of $500,000 each, and in that context, what is another $1,000 for an optional extra in the shape of an iPhone equipped with all they need to manage their load paperwork?

Your business is dedicated to getting the right goods to the right place at the right time. This takes the careful co-ordination of customer orders, work allocation to the right driver and truck, communication of the special instructions, recording of the quantities and rates and the recording of the job as it is carried out. In this day and age, with all of the proven technology that surrounds us, does it really make sense to record all of this on slips of paper which are handed to the driver before he leaves?
Is it really right, that a driver needs to record his every move on either a log book, a job docket, or a running sheet, or all three? To hold it all together you have probably still got at least one admin clerk who key enters the runsheets to your payroll and the job dockets to your invoicing system. Even with the best will in the world, the more people involved in the process, the more likely human error is to appear in the numbers. Add to that the time for the dispatcher to work out his plan, then to convert it to driver instructions, and to ring it through to the driver. The driver, to be fair, is probably driving and can’t write it down too easily. So a few hours later he calls back the dispatcher for the right details, but the dispatcher is on lunch… so the driver does what he thinks he recalls, writes that down and your key entry girl key enters it. Perfect.

But imagine a world where your dispatcher organises the work and once he has his plan sorted, one push of a button sends it out to all of your drivers to arrive on their phones. Their instructions are there waiting for them when they next pull over, and it’s all in writing so no confusion. The driver confirms what he has picked up and when, then again when he delivers it, all in less time than it currently takes him to find a pen.
Can your drivers work a smart phone? If they’ve got kids, the chances are they are better at texting than you are, and most will be educated to the Trade-Me standard of computer literacy (more practical than any NZQA standard!). And when you are looking for paperwork, no more harried phone calls, just search the computer system from your office and the records will appear in front of you, filed by driver name, customer name, product type – whatever is easiest for you.

Even if your drivers wreck one phone per year. $1,000 a lot of money for a phone, BUT a phone these days is not JUSTS a phone, and it works out at only $20 per week over a year. $20 per driver per week is a whole lot less than you are currently paying in admin time for a slow, clunky and error prone process.

All we are waiting for now, is for the electronic log book to be approved and your drivers can focus on the job at hand – driving – whilst updating their paperwork is a task that takes a few seconds at each end. Those 10 mins saved at each end doing paper work, can now be put to good use on the road, because trying to claw 10 mins back from a journey time is a mugs game.

You are the driver

Appearances are important. How you drive, your speed, your cornering, courtesy to other road users, in short your professionalism, speaks volumes about the company you work for. The way your vehicle is presented is another consideration – it doesn’t have to be the newest vehicle on the road, but it should be well maintained and clean.

When you look at another truck, do you think “would I be proud to be a part of that fleet?” What would another driver be thinking when he watches you go by?

One driver explained it to me in Rugby terms (with me not being very good with Rugby, you’ll have to accept that these are his words not mine…). When the Blues run out onto the field with their untidy beards, unruly hair and socks not pulled up smartly, is it any wonder that they are not winning games? Their appearance suggests a lack of discipline and pride in their job, which plays out when they get onto the field.

A manager at one of our customers put it another way; they advertised a driving position when they had three vacancies to fill. They received 67 applications.

GPS data should be used to educate you to help you to improve your driving. We understand that you spend hours behind the wheel and that you like to take pride in your job, but you rarely get feedback about your good driving, only about the lateness of the load (which probably wasn’t your fault anyway) or speeding past Granny in the Corolla (when it was probably her that got distracted and slowed down to 78 km/h again).

We know there are companies out there using GPS data to beat you up or when it suits them to make a point. We know that this isn’t helpful to anyone in the long run. We know that you want to be the best on the road but that it can be hard to know where you stand or if you are as good as you can be when you aren’t getting good feedback, or any feedback at all, about your driving.

Our customers tell us that changing the culture of a new employee is an eye opening experience which shows that not all companies are giving your drivers clear messages about what is expected from you. Little things like confirming that it is company policy not to drive over 90 km/h. If you think you will be late, it is OK to ring the manager before you leave and let him know why and when you expect to be able to safely get it delivered.

Professionalism is a mindset – a commitment to driving well, not a collection of numbers or a ranking. It is acknowledging that your job is not easy but you plan to do it well. Accepting that other drivers can be idiots but that they don’t all need yelling at and overtaking.

When you are ready to make this change, you will want to know how you are improving. This is where I am at myself. I have never put GPS in my car because I couldn’t choose one supplier over another. But now I have my new Android Smartphone I can track my own driving.

I use an application called “My Tracks” which I set going before I leave, and stop recording when I arrive. While I am driving, it records a map track of where I have been and collects a bunch of statistics, including my max and average moving speeds. Knowing I am being recorded strengthens my resolve to drive as well as I can, even though only I will see the records.

Some of your navigation GPS screens (the standalone ones like Tom Tom and Garmin) might have this feature too, and I am sure there is an iPhone equivalent too. If you’ve got the technology you may as well use it, and what better way than to monitor your own driving and measure your improvement? Our customers tell us that their drivers have taken a copy of their GPS performance reports when they move town and have to look for another job – more relevant than a CV.

After all it is not a matter of whether someone is watching you, it is a question of their intentions, and when the intention is to achieve professionalism, it is a great feeling.

Running for the ferry

How many times have I written about the pressure put onto truck drivers to meet the Picton – Wellington ferry when the loading has delayed its departure? Then here I am, leaving Nelson wondering if l have left myself enough time to get to the Picton ferry.

My first thought is that l shouldn’t have spent so long finding lunch. I have just finished a seminar where we were discussing whether there is a trade off between safety /efficiency and productivity. Of course, at face value it seems obvious that productivity has to suffer. If you slow your trucks down they will arrive later and the whole operation grinds to a halt doesn’t it?

But stop and think for a minute. Let’s say that your trucks are currently touching 100 km/h and you are being asked to bring that back to a max of 95 km/h. If you drive 350km at 100 km/h it will take three hours and 30 minutes. The same trip at 95kmh will take three hours and forty one minutes – so it will take an extra eleven minutes. Hardly seems worth pushing that bit harder does it? But hang on – you can’t maintain a consistent top speed for that distance – so the time difference is even smaller when you consider how little time is spent at top speed.

Now think about how long the truck is in the yard getting loaded – with a bit more planning, could you get the truck away 10 minutes earlier? Probably.

I can’t intentionally speed. With signwriting all over my car and so many of you reading this column, quite apart from the real reason I shouldn’t be speeding, I need to practice what I preach. All my research over the last 7 years that I have been running CCS Logistics has demonstrated that pushing harder doesn’t get you there faster or, at least not the 30 mins or so you are normally trying to save when there is a panic on. So all I can do now is focus on driving consistently and efficiently to get me there in the best time.

But how good am I? Yes I know all of the theory, but I don’t have any data. The data that I do have is across trucks up and down the country from a mix of different GPS systems. I’ve got no data on cars travelling between Nelson and Picton, so how do I know if I am above average or still have a long way to go to be considered best practice?

If you have GPS in your fleet you have the opportunity to give that sort of feedback to your drivers why wouldn’t you grab it with both hands? Your drivers pride themselves on being professionals. Inevitably some will be better than others and you have comparable data for all vehicles – don’t you think they will want to see it?

The escape routes are being closed

It has just been announced that publishing of ORS ratings to the public has been pushed out until next year. Within a week of this, we heard that ACC are to publish a Fleet safety rating for each fleet based on your claims history. This is not the same as the ORS, it has been established as a joint NZTA / CVIU / ACC initiative and is based on different facts and different calculations to the ORS.

What this says to me is that the escape routes are closing down. The cost of avoidance will soon be higher than the cost of playing the game by the rules. Soon the complexity of controls will get out of hand and that is before you start with RUCs, braking rules, lighting rules, HPMV permits….. However, whilst the rules are many and complex, you instinctively know what is right. You need to be safe, look after your people as well as other road users – no more crashing – and keep your trucks well maintained.

What this says to me is that the escape routes are closing down. The cost of avoidance will soon be higher than the cost of playing the game by the rules. Soon the complexity of controls will get out of hand and that is before you start with RUCs, braking rules, lighting rules, HPMV permits….. However, whilst the rules are many and complex, you instinctively know what is right. You need to be safe, look after your people as well as other road users – no more crashing – and keep your trucks well maintained.

If the mere thought of considering these things makes you nervous, or when you do think along these lines, you know your fleet could be doing better, now is the time to look for some support to start making changes.

Stick with the idea that you know what is right and wrong and make a list of the key things that affect the professional image of your company perhaps give yourself marks yourself out of 5 for each of the following;

  1. What do other road users think when they see your vehicles drive past? Are they driven well, and well presented?
  2. What do your staff think of the company – are they proud to work there? What about their families, what do they think of the work stories that make it to the family dinner table?
  3. How about your workshop? Do you feel confident when you arrive on the premises that these are the people who are keeping your trucks safe and legal when they roll down the road fully laden?
  4. What do the police and ACC think of you? They know of each ticket that has been issued and each claim that has been made. Do you think you are above average in the number of each?
  5. Now think of your customers; Are they proud to be associated with you, knowing that you are enhancing their own professional image?

For each question where you have scored less than 3 out of 5, ask yourself “What would it take to improve…” You aren’t alone in tackling this, lean on your drivers to get involved, ask your supervisors, your workshop people. You may be surprised how much easier it becomes when you open up the communication with your people and ask them to help make your company better. All of these people will want to take pride in their job, and you are asking them to make that a reality.

Use your systems to build on your ideas, not the other way round. Your systems will give you a good way of measuring how much difference you are making with the changes you are making on the ground.

This stuff might not be jumping up and down demanding your attention, when there are trucks to be loaded, new RUC rules to research, perhaps a customer complaint to deal with. If you are confident that you are up to scratch you are in a good position. If you know that you aren’t, and you don’t act to bring your operation up to standard now, rest assured that sooner or later one Agency or other will force it upon you.

You could soon be facing all manner of paperwork as the different schemes generate their “feedback” to you on different coloured pieces of paper each with their own consequences. You already know how much paperwork these guys can generate for you when they put their mind to it, and not all of it is easy to follow, especially when it comes from multiple directions at the same time.

It will be so much easier if you get started now making small changes each week until you are happy with your standards. With the publishing of ORS ratings to the public pushed out until next year, you now have enough time to make those changes before there is a public record that you weren’t quite up to scratch.


The Driver Shortage: an alternative option

It is less time consuming (and cheaper) to keep an existing customer than to get a new one.

With the driver shortage well upon us, the same thinking can be translated to Drivers. Now is not the time to be losing drivers, because the effort required to attract a replacement, never mind training, inductions and uniforms is going to be far worse than managing your way through the current issue.

Surveys have shown that the happiest employees have an ongoing sense of:

1.    Control over their own work

As a truck driver this is the main part of your job – so as an employer you already have this covered and you can read on the next one…

2.    Wanting to keep improving at what they do

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it’s probably easier to tell a truck driver that he is no good in bed than to tell him he isn’t driving his truck properly. If you asked each of your drivers how good they are at driving, most, if not all, will tell you in their own words that they are somewhere between ‘better than average’ and ‘the best.’ But how can all of your drivers be better than average when some are better than others and average is somewhere in the middle of that pack?

Drivers tell you how great they are because they have no way of knowing what is “great” what is “OK” and what is “rubbish” in the driving skills department. Following on from the point above – drivers spend almost all of their time alone so they have nothing to compare themselves to. As a boss it is your job to find a way to show them what you expect from your best drivers, and how each driver compares to that standard. If you set the rules and consistently encourage each driver to work towards achieving the standard, getting a little bit better all of the time, you can tick off this point too.

3.    Understanding how their job supports the company goals

Personally, I quit my job working for a corporate organisation in the UK when I could no longer draw a line between the crazy rules I had to follow and the seemingly inconsequential projects I was asked to do, and the success of the company as a whole. If your drivers believe that it doesn’t matter how they drive their truck so long as they get from A to B eventually, you are already half way to losing them. Of course it matters how they drive their truck – they are mobile advertising for your company, they could be a statistic waiting to happen resulting in the destruction of your customer’s freight, they could be driving up the cost of running their truck at the expense of the only profit you were going to make that day / week / month. The way your drivers drive your trucks affects your profitability and neither you, nor they, should ever forget it.

Like many in this industry, I’m not a natural people manager, and this time last year I put myself through a leadership course. The message from the course was simple;

  • Know what you expect from your staff, (and tell them!)
  • be seen to monitor their performance against those expectations
  • provide feedback, both when things are going well AND when they are not.
  • Staff will test us, sometime unintentionally, and our role as managers is to provide clear and consistent guidance.

Now, we are all busy, so the trick for all of us is to manage our time, set priorities and to make the best use of technology to get the job done well, with as little paperwork and clutter as possible.

In the stats published before Christmas, 61% of truck crashes were shown to be caused by speed, failure to give way and inattention. The data you collect from your trucks tells you which of your drivers are in the danger category. You probably already know who those drivers are, but now you can SHOW them how they can improve, rather than telling them you THINK they are an accident waiting to happen.

Our customers’ biggest successes have come from providing consistent feedback to drivers and other managers at regular intervals. Taking about an hour out of the month to make sure the drivers get the right feedback more than covers the inconvenience of finding 60 minutes in each month to make the effort. With this feedback, the driver feels as though he is a part of the company, why his role is important (point 3 above) and how to get better at what he does (point 2 above).

Work with your drivers to meet the three rules of staff happiness listed above to retain your existing drivers. When drivers enjoy working for you, word gets around, and recruitment becomes easier, no -not easy, but easier.

Because your profit matters.

History vs technology

Am I the only one that looks at the stories from the past in the back of Truck Journal with a sense of regret that those times are gone? Certainly the work was hard, but the sense of team work born of hard manual labour required to get the job done and a focus on doing the job well to retain the customer for repeat business (rather than to keep the paperwork in order) makes me think we might have lost something along the way. Trucks were much slower back then, and less forgiving. Customers understood that poor weather and closed roads would affect when they received their deliveries… are these just the wistful wannabe memories of someone who is too young to have experienced the harsh realities of that time?

Perhaps of course these days, health and safety is no longer about the avoidance of pain and personal injury, it is about the avoidance of paperwork and additional cost. As time has marched on, technology has arrived to “help” the driver to help himself, but far from dumbing down the role of the driver, now more than ever, we need intelligent people behind the wheel.

Some of that technology;

  • ABS to mitigate the effects of braking too hard
  • EBS to try to prevent rolling the truck, despite the driver’s best efforts
  • G Force alerts, including the telltale red light that tells you Drivecam has started recording. These have been around for a while, but 50 years ago your alert was a hot cup of coffee landing in your lap. (even that has a modern solution in the spill free travel cup….)
  • Remote tyre pressure monitoring to warn of poor grip (or poor fuel efficiency)
  • Lane departure warning, and auto-correction steering – so far this only tells you when the cab is out of line, but I’m sure trailer swing will soon be captured too
  • Speed limiters to save you from your own heavy right foot
  • Self check lights systems for when it’s a bit too chilly to do your walk around check in the morning
  • Cruise control  to help manage your cruising speed
  • In cab navigation, so you no longer need to plan your route in advance or check landmarks to check you are still heading in the right direction

With the relentless pressure to do more with less, trucks are getting bigger and more powerful, but unfortunately despite all of this technology, and more that I haven’t mentioned, it is still possible to crash, and the best way to avoid that is to have a conscientious, responsible, well trained person behind the wheel.

If you are upgrading your fleet from 480hp to 730hp you want to know who can drive the smaller truck without relying on the above list of gadgets. Without a shadow of a doubt, if you have drivers who love their EBS because it means they can get through corners faster (yes we have had a driver confess to that one), they are not the ones to reward with a bigger truck. We are starting to monitor more and more of these sensors remotely for our customers to help them make better decisions in driver training and rewards because 50% more power means your limits could be a blur in the rear view mirror before you realise you’ve gone too far this time.

We still aren’t getting it.

It only takes one road trip to remind me that even the bad guys are good in their own ways. I lost count of the trucks we followed at over 100km/h as we headed away for a long weekend on the motorbikes this week. But even these guys see a clear stretch of road ahead of them and indicate for us to pull past them on the bikes. They are quite aware of the roads and the traffic around them. Even following a B train through a tight cornering section with his trailer brakes locking on each turn, we got to the bottom of the hill and he waved us on through. In fact I still wonder if he was driving harder through the corners just to try not to hold us up.

We need to align this on road awareness with the expectations of today’s industry. We do want the drivers to be courteous, we want them to know what is going on around them, but we also want them to drive safely and steadily, with the confidence to do the right thing at the right speed.
We need to do this in two ways.

  1. Tell the drivers what is expected of them. We don’t expect you to speed to get your job done. If you are late and you feel the need to speed, it’s probably us that haven’t done our jobs right as we have delayed your leaving the depot on time. You won’t make up enough time to make a difference by driving faster. It doesn’t look good, it risks our truck, our customer’s products, your licence and our fuel bill starts climbing.
  2. Educate the public so that they have a better understanding of how a truck functions on the road. This is still a big issue. Loading the motorbikes onto the interislander ferry this morning, the loader waved us forward to start tying the bikes down, despite the fact that a semi trailer was trying to use the same space to turn into. This is a loader. A man that brings vehicles onto a ferry every day and he couldn’t see the conflict between a large truck revving behind him and a few small bikes. No wonder the average granny in a Toyota doesn’t understand the driving requirements of a truck, never mind the importance of the cargo that it is carrying.

Yes, the ORS is coming and whilst that it is a carrot (or a stick depending on how much you care about it) let’s not forget the reason it has been put together. We want to run an industry that is safe and professional. Drivers need to be seen as more than “the squishy bit between the freight and the steering wheel.” They need to be respected, supported and trained.

At CCS Logistics, we are now providing reporting direct to drivers, pulling together all of the GPS data and mixing it up with some coaching notes and presenting individual feedback on how each driver is performing against operational and legal requirements. The drivers at our customers are soaking it up. The shoulders are squaring, the chests are puffing out; these guys are really proud of the job they do and are loving being told what they are doing well, and being told where they could get better.

Take heart from this, speak to your drivers, respect what they do and make them respect what you do.

GPS / Fuel efficiency link recognised by EECA

GPS / Fuel efficiency link recognised by EECA

I am pleased to announce that CCS Innovation in Logistics has been contracted to extend the  (Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority) Energising Business programme to the transport industry. This means that if you run a transport fleet and spend less than 300,000 per depot per year on fuel, there is a good chance that EECA will subsidise 33% of the cost of implementing our TrucKing programme into your fleet. This is a whopping opportunity to dust off your GPS system and use it to provide some feedback to your drivers regarding their professionalism on the road; it’s what they spend up to 14 hours a day doing, so if you are going to talk to them, make it interesting, tell them how they are faring compared to the other drivers in your fleet. Our experience says that they will be really interested (even if they don’t look it initially) and over time will get competitive as they defend their pride in their driving. The results are all positive for you, and now EECA are going to make it even cheaper for you to get started!

Really it’s the people that make the difference and the people that have the most effect on the size of your fuel bill is the people you see least frequently; your drivers. The RTF Grant Thornton index shows that fuel represents 16% of the average transport company’s costs. Are you beating the average?

Enough companies have proven that driver training alone is not enough to secure long term improvements in fuel efficiency. Here at CCS Logistics we may not be the world’s best truck drivers, but we know a thing or two about using your GPS data to tell you which of your drivers is helping to bring down your fuel bill… and who isn’t. We want to help you to get the right feedback to the right drivers to encourage each of them to want to become safer, more professional… and more fuel efficient. Those smoko room bragging sessions take on a whole new meaning when there are hard facts at hand to decide the best of the best. Go to the EECA website to find out more about their Energising Business programme, or call us and we’ll give you the plain English version.

Now whilst I am talking about making numbers easy to read. I have seen the annual truck crash statistics being circulated for all truck crashes to June 2011. What a dull bunch of numbers we’re given to play with. So as ever, my creative side has kicked in to give you a taste of what we do to boring tables of data round here:

Here is a summary of the reasons why the truck crashed, and how the driver or truck contributed:


Your GPS can play a key part in your ORS

Your GPS can play a key part in your ORS

Were you pretty happy with your first ORS rating? You should have been as 95% of operators rated a 4 or 5 star.

The second ratings are being processed at the moment and the word is that that number is starting to slide. The reason is not that you have let standards slip, more that your trucks have been on the road for longer and therefore had more chance to accumulate an “event” that will affect your ORS. The last rating was based on 6 months’ worth of exposure; each truck may have only had one CoF and may have slipped under the radar having no roadside inspections and no driving offences.

With the second rating two things have happened;

1. you’ve now had 12 months’ worth of exposure for each truck – so at least 2 CoF’s each and twice as much time (12 months not 6) to be stopped at the side of the road, or for a driver to have crept over 95km/h or mixed up his log book.

2. The CVIU have refocused and are now trying to ensure that every operator gets a roadside inspection

So not only have you had time to interact with the transport agencies more, they are out there looking for you; “sharing the love” as it was so eloquently put at the RTA seminar in Twizel last weekend. Be prepared – this rating might have slipped a bit from the last one. You might still be a 5 star operator, but you might be a step or two closer to being a 4 star operator.

12 months down, 12 to go….

So here you are 12 months into the 2 year qualifying period for the first ORS public ratings and your stats are starting to slide. If you act now, you could reverse that trend, before the public ratings go live.

Where to start?

Start with the big numbers. Up to 63% of your rating is affected by driving offences – things your driver does whilst on the road. According to the NZTA, the most frequent ORS related driving offence is speeding. Yes really; your driver’s speeding tickets are your problem now. The limit is 90km/h. On a good day, the tolerance is 95 km/h. That’s to allow for a bit of oversight. It doesn’t mean the drivers should be driving at 95km/h and getting up to 110km/h to get past that Granny in the Corolla.

The next most frequent offence is log book related. Don’t schedule your drivers to work for too long, and encourage them to take their breaks. Train them so they know what the rules are.

Inspect what you expect

If you tell your drivers what you expect from them, check up to see if that is what is happening. If not why not? Use your GPS for this bit. Almost all of the GPS systems will give you a speeding report in some form, and a summary of their driving hours. Some are easier than others to read, but the information is there. If you are not sure how to find it, ring you GPS supplier, or ring us here at CCS Logistics, we work with all of the major GPS suppliers (and some of the minor ones too) and we will help you to find where to look. We still offer a free 15 minutes support for ad hoc queries – just pick up the phone.

Because even if your customers aren’t too worried about your ORS rating, the flip side to the CVIU focus is that they know your rating. If two trucks pass a check point and one is a 5 star, the other is a 2 star, the 2 star truck will get pulled every time. Even if they don’t find any faults, it is time out of your schedule which you could do without.

Of course NZTA have the data too, and if they find themselves with time on their hands to do a random operator audit, guess which fleet they will select first?

If you don’t know how to read your GPS reports, of you really don’t have the time, we can now offer up to a 33% reduction in our rates to create a one – off summary of your current performance from your GPS data. The report is easy to read and tells you in words and pictures where you stand. It is completely confidential to you and it could protect you, your drivers and your ORS rating before it is too late.

You can contact CCS Logistics on 03 348 2048 or info@ccslogistics.co.nz we work nationwide.

A ride, a cash saving, and a threat,

A ride, a cash saving, and a threat,

A ride

I went back to my roots this month and spent 22 hours in a truck – non stop, except for the obligatory pie (sorry log book) stops. Thanks to the Chilean ash cloud I was stranded in Auckland and, wanting to get home sooner rather than later, I called a customer and begged a ride home on an interisland truck. I’ve always found the difference between a transport manager’s outlook and that of his drivers, fascinating. During this trip I got a top up of the driver’s views.

The first, was talking to a passing truck driver as I waited at the truck wash next to Auckland airport for my lift to the depot. We got to talking about the GPS in his vehicle and he proudly told me that he could drive a truck and trailer or a semi trailer all the way around the Coromandel without setting off any accelerometer alerts associated with the GPS system. He realised long ago (and he had several years experience by the look of his rapidly whitening hair) that he could save far more time by spending a couple of extra minutes  being courteous and helpful with the staff at each of his deliveries, than he ever could on the road. He can now arrive to make his deliveries, the staff are ready, the store is organised and the delivery happens smoothly and straight away. A saving of 10 – 30 mins like this is almost impossible to make up on the road – especially on the Coromandel.

A cash saving

You may have been following the global push to improve the fuel efficiency of new trucks. Scania have just completed a fuel duel in Australia. Matching two “identical’ vehicles loaded to 59 tonnes and driving them from Sydney to Melbourne and back. On the outbound leg one truck was speed limited to 90km/h, the other to 100km/h. On the return leg, the speed limiters were reversed. There are a few stats to support their conclusion that if a truck was running this trip 5 times per week, by reducing the max speed to 90km/h (from 100km/h) a saving of $10,000 in fuel was possible over a year.

I have to say after my experiences in a truck last week, I have discovered that a speed limiter means nothing if a driver knows how to get around it, so the message still stands; all improvements start with your drivers. Help them to understand the lesson at the top of this article – steady on the road, efficient in the stops: your costs will fall and your customer service will improve.

A threat

The NZ Herald this morning carries an interesting story. A young man had his car stolen. He was a student of computing systems. He had built his own GPS system and installed it in his car. He called the police and was able to give them a running commentary on the location of his car as his system updated every 40 seconds. I’ve heard similar stories before. What is interesting is that the police feedback is that similar cases involving commercial vehicles have not been successful, despite having GPS tracking, as the delay of up to 5 minutes between GPS updates was not good enough to get to the truck whilst it was on the move.

There are a number of factors to consider between a one off student invention and a commercial system, but as ever, the new comers will always challenge the status quo and those slow to respond will fall victim to the old duelling truism: there’s the quick and the dead.

And finally…

A big thank you to all who helped to get me home last week – it really was much appreciated. A friendly reminder to the GPS company whose system was in the truck; we are still waiting for the login to get access to the data so I can provide some feedback to the fleet owner about his trucks. He will get an even better service than ever as not only will I have the data but I was also sitting in the truck at the time. He can then get even more value from your system by understanding how it can be used to get the fuel savings talked about above. A signed authorisation from the truck owner is sitting on your desk as usual… how hard can it be to help out your customers?


Try not to crash on Monday…

Try not to crash on Monday…

The CVIU’s new Top Cop Gwynne Pennell unveiled a new approach to commercial vehicle policing at the RTA seminar in St Arnaud in May.

She is intending to use data to plan where and when to deploy the energy and resources of CVIU; the biggest risks will attract the most resources in terms of time and / or manpower. The source of that data? Amongst others, crash statistics and the low achievers in the ORS ratings, when the public versions are published.

In addition to that, there is an assumption that the observation of one unsafe act may be a symptom of a low attitude towards safety. This may be a simple act such as failing to stop at a stop sign, but is that same driver distracted by talking on a cell phone, is he wearing a seatbelt? If a truck crashes on the Kaikoura coast, is this a one off incident, or the symptom of an issue with either that driver, or that company?

An Attitude of Safety

The concept of an attitude of safety is not new. Pre-employment ARM (Accident Risk Management) profiling aims to flush out those whose safety attitudes may not be a cost effective addition to your fleet.

The Operator Rating System (or Operator Safety Rating) similarly has its make up biased towards infringements and exceptions – those behaviours that will focus the attention of a patrolling officer. Your problem is now that with the advent of ORS, a quick driver is not just risking his own license (and your freight and reputation), he is also earning you a black mark against your TSL for your next ORS rating.

Now more than ever is the time to address those lingering concerns you have that your fleet could be performing a little better; a little safer and more professionally.

The peak for truck crashes is Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday lunchtimes. If the CVIU do indeed get their requested access to highway patrol cars, this would be the time to expect to see them flagging down your drivers before they overcook the next corner.

What would be your priority, if your GPS data was translated into an easy to read picture of your travelling risks? Consider following the example of the CVIU; they have data at their disposal which is allowing them to make decisions about their priorities. So do you.