OUR ENVIRONMENT IS PECULIAR!
THE latest technology that comes with new generation asset types is capable of providing insight into a huge range of fleet activities, each impacting on different areas of a business for the achievement of specific strategic goals.
WHEN asking which elements of fleet data are most important, an organization must also ask what its priorities are. For most, saving money tends to be top of the list, but a focus in this area will also achieve a host of related benefits.
COST savings are achieved through efficiency gains, primarily by improving driver behaviour to encourage more efficient performance and boost KPL OR MPG. This, in turn, can also result in reduced maintenance costs and cheaper insurance premiums through improved safety.
HOWEVER, while the socio-political-cum-economic realities of the developed world could afford operators the luxury of making the pursuit of efficiency gains in fleet management the core and dominant area of focus, ours may warrant the extension of our quest to cover variables that border on issues that are deemed ‘settled’ in other climes.
Some of these are:
- Driving Competence
- Drug and Substance Abuse
- Physical Fitness and Stress Absorbance Capacity (SAC)
The possession of a valid CDL and past employers’ references would be considered sufficient in assessing the competence of drivers in places like US and Europe. In our clime, that you have a ‘Valid DL’ can hardly be deemed as sufficient. The reasons are pretty obvious.
Similarly, in an environment where employers are sceptical about issuing letters of employment to drivers, getting the employers to therefore sign-off on reference letters may be a near impossible task. Hence, operators are left with defining the criteria or modalities for continuously assessing the competences of their driving crew beyond the ideal mentioned above.
Integrity has in recent times become one of the rarest personality traits among drivers in our clime. With a porous security network, extremely treacherous terrain, unreliable nationally acceptable means of identification and licensing standard (that makes it possible for a single individual to carry more than 1 DL or National Identity Card), it is no surprise that we are having this challenge.
Operators must therefore find its own peculiar way of fortifying their business against the risk inherent in this systemic challenge.
Drug and Substance Abuse:
Drug/Substance abuse and Driving have somewhat assume a sort of complementary nature among commercial drivers in this part of the world. The prevalence of the abuse is quite evident in various motor parks, bus parks and private and public truck parks.
A random check on 10 drivers within a fleet is sure to throw-up traces of substance abuse in 7-8 drivers! It is a clear and present danger not just for the safety of other road users but also for the company’s human and financial assets.
Each operator must therefore find its own unique way or strategy of protecting itself and workforce against the menace.
Physical Fitness and Stress Absorbance Capacity (SAC):
Commercial drivers in our clime are not particularly careful when it comes to healthy living. Absence, poor or inaccessible medical care facilities, unchecked drug and substance abuse and wanton lifestyle are just a few of the factors that affect the fitness level of drivers.
Meanwhile, the excruciating job demand coupled with the operators quest to keep assets on the road for as long as possible (presently there are no enforceable well-defined national or statutory limit on the extent you can keep a driver driving) will definitely call to question the stress absorbance capacity of the drivers.
These and much more are the reasons why operators must carefully put together strategies that insulate the system against breaches that may be associated with all of these variables.