John Fairey FCILT of Prompt Training Ltd asks Drivers – Are they your ambassadors or a potential weak link?
Whilst technology exists for driverless trucks, a completely autonomous truck that can travel from A to B with no human intervention beyond setting the route remains at least 20 to 30 years away by almost all estimates. Meanwhile, drivers with the human element will remain an extremely important part of our day to day operations.
The ideal driver may not exist, so how do we create one? The simple answer is by training & management!
Many merchants may already be “micro-managing” their drivers and have robust systems in place including professional development training to ensure their business is conducted in a compliant, cost effective manner and not exposed to risk. Through this article, I would like to stimulate some thought & provide a few simple ideas as to how standards can be continually improved together with both risk & cost reduction.
The job description of Driver clearly infers that the main requirement is to drive the vehicle. If the average day was analysed, actual driving may account for 50% or less of working hours. Drivers have to possess a wide range of skills and qualifications to meet the basic requirements of the business. These include driving, loading, unloading, interpersonal skills, general fitness and capability – each of which open up to a wide range of detail. Failure in any of this detail will lead to the business being vulnerable to complaints, incidents, collisions, prosecution, brand damage and the resultant additional costs.
The first step may be to understand that simply to hold the relevant driving licence, DCPC & truck crane qualification, whilst critical- it is very much “only the first step”.
Additional driver development training can help in ensuring your drivers are safe, your business is compliant, minimising the risk of collisions & complaints and improving both business performance & driver motivation.
Consider identifying and targeting the areas for improvement and training. This could include the major areas of risk within the business for example WRRR (work related road risk) or high cost areas such as fuel and damage. Establish a training plan, which may include a monthly / quarterly tool box talk on a topical subject.
Has the business set clear objectives in the form of comprehensive policies and procedures included in a driver handbook, employee handbook, code of conduct or employee contract? If so have the drivers been made aware of the detail and signed a declaration confirming their receipt, understanding and acceptance? Is the information included in a signed Induction checklist and regular refresher tool box talks or briefings? It is important to fully record any training, it is a vital part of your evidence to protect the business in the event of a claim.
Ongoing commitment to development training will result in an improved overall performance and culture whereby drivers will become true loyal ambassadors of the business.
The BMF Transport Plus Service assists members in every aspect of compliance with Goods Vehicle Operators Licence Undertakings and Legislation. Prompt Training Ltd are pleased to provide this service on behalf of the BMF.