Thursday, September 26, 2013

Road Haulage Firms Get Internet App Boost as CPC Gate Draws Closer

Operators Need Proper Preparation to Ensure Work Can Continue
Shipping News Feature

UK – With the need for all professional drivers to undertake five days formal training to obtain their Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) certification, without which they will be disbarred from working, the pace is quickening to ensure that all road haulage operators have ensured they have all bases covered. With the resultant qualification being mandatory by September 2014 truck drivers are being warned not to leave things to the last minute whilst the Freight Transport Association (FTA) has launched an internet based app to aid them in their daily tasks.

A good example of preparation is that of Farrall’s Transport, which is in a ‘good place’ regarding the progress of its drivers toward CPC compliance according to Managing Director Mike Farrall. The company, which services customers throughout Wales and the north of England has established on-site courses run by an external consultancy on the first Saturday of every month. Mike Farrall explained, saying:

“We have been training our drivers long before the Driver CPC came about, but the programme – by making it necessary for drivers to have at least 5 days training in 5 years – is likely to help raise the professional standing of drivers across the freight transport sector, which has to be a good thing. With one year to go, most of our drivers have completed at least 3 out of the required 5 days and we have many drivers already picking up their qualification card having finished all of their 5 days of training. Following the most recent course we are well over 75% complete in terms of our drivers gaining their Driver CPC.

“While the qualification card is obligatory, we have married our own objectives to the courses, which ensure that our drivers are properly trained in all areas of their job, rather than using Driver CPC simply as a ‘box ticking’ exercise. We put our drivers on a separate rotation of 5 different modules – which include driver hours, safe and fuel efficient driving, and safe loading of vehicles. So when a driver gains their DQC, they will also have completed at least one of these modules. After 2014, every driver will receive at least one full day of training a year on something that will be applicable to our business.”

The FTA initiative is designed to make the obligatory walk round checks somewhat easier thanks to the new internet-based app. Compatible with iPod, iPhone, iPad and a selected range of Android devices, it is easy to use and cuts down on any errors or inefficiencies associated with paper inspections. It also complies with VOSA’s safety and maintenance guide and is available in formats for trucks, coaches and buses, and vans.

Implementing and using the FTA Drivers’ Walk Around Check app, which is powered by Truckfile, is as simple as ‘scan, inspect, transmit and track’. Quick reference bar codes are placed on the vehicle at key inspection points. These weather resistant label tags contain information about the driver, vehicle, inspection point and the components to be checked. If defects or advisories are found they can be selected from a pre-defined list within the system, making it simple for a driver to report a problem.

Defects are alerted in real time and the driver confirms that the vehicle is safe to drive, or not, when completing the full check. This innovative product ensures the driver physically walks around the vehicle to complete the check and times the examination, something managers and supervisors will welcome to aid compliance with legislation.

The system keeps a full history of the checks, with up to 15 checks also kept on the hand-held device’s history screen. The information is transmitted to a secure database and can be accessed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by an authorised user from any web browser.

The cost of the system is £22 plus VAT per vehicle for the first year (which includes a set of stickers) and £12 per vehicle for subsequent years. FTA’s Drivers’ Walk Around Check app can be ordered online HERE or by telephone on 08717 11 11 11.