Chris Cuffe, a freelance consultant who has more than 15 years’ experience working with tachograph software, discusses the topical conversation of how Aquarius customers can benefit from an independent desktop compliance audit.
For the interests of this feature, Chris uses a fictional character called Woody to set the scene
Unlike his cartoon namesake, Woody is no cowboy when it comes to compliance. He has been a Transport Manager for seven years and he knows the challenges involved in driver compliance and he knows the stakes are high for the company if things go wrong. Demands on Woody’s time have been increasing as the fleet has grown, and rule changes have made his ‘sheriff’ role yet more onerous and stressful.
On the face of it, Woody seems to be doing everything in his power to stay compliant – ‘pulling all the strings’ metaphorically speaking – but there is always that nagging doubt in his mind that makes him think; what would a DVSA examiner find if we were investigated? Are we really picking up every issue? Are there trends in the data I am missing? Is there a rogue driver(s)?
I am sure these questions are commonly asked in transport offices and by senior managers, and with a bit of time and investigative work the answers are all available within the Aquarius suite of products. Let’s face it though with most software, we as users are just scratching the surface and we need Google, a colleague, or the online manual (oh heavens!) to reveal those additional features.
Some of our existing customers however have decided to leave nothing to chance and have asked us to act as a set of independent eyes to look for more hidden issues in their data, and to create an audit document with findings and an action plan. These audits have not been limited to larger organisations; in fact, the largest companies will naturally have more dedicated resources to handle these processes. I would suggest that any company where the fleet is growing rapidly, or there are multiple sites, should consider whether an audit could be of benefit. It could also prove to be an important step towards Earned Recognition if that is an aim.
In recent years the DVSA has been tightening up its requirements and in particular they want to see a strong handle on continuous data, which means the inclusion of the correct manual entries. They also want to see effective management and debriefing of infringements together with tangible evidence of walkaround checks and defect detection and management. They are also taking a keen interest in missing mileage and driving without a card.
In recent audits we have undertaken we have uncovered a range of issues;
- Missing driver and vehicle data for a range of reasons.
- Missed walkaround checks or too short to be effective.
- Missed walkaround checks when swapping vehicles.
- Missing trailer checks.
- Data stuck in the import queue as wrongly assigned
- Vehicle data with no associated driver and vice versa
- Vehicle over speeds due to incorrect calibration
- Driver ejecting a card then continuing to drive.
- Failure to account for large amounts of missing mileage
- Failure to debrief large numbers of infringements
- Incorrect manual entries leading to unnecessary infringements
The audit report which takes 1 or 2 days depending on the scale of your organisation outlines in detail case examples and recommendations for their detection in the future. We leave no stone unturned to find ways to help the organisation. We give statistics to help to highlight the extent of any problems. We don’t hesitate to point out all the positive areas too.
In terms of the action plan, we highlight any additional training required, which once actioned will inevitably lead to greater confidence and hopefully a marked reduction of issues in the future. There is no witch hunt here and the audit is confidential – we are all on the same side looking to improve outcomes for managers and drivers.
Our audits are not exclusively limited to compliance as the Aquarius suite is extensive and some of our customers have asked us to include Asset Management; again we analyse the data looking for incomplete schedules, missing data, and ways to improve the use of the system and reporting to avoid anomalies.
Given that software is improving all the time and Aquarius is adding features almost on a monthly basis, it becomes hard for users to be fully abreast of everything. We hope that the audit process can help companies to ‘reach for the sky’ with their compliance responsibilities, or as close as possible, and get the most out of their investment in Aquarius’ software in all areas.
For further information contact the Aquarius team.
About Chris Cuffe
Aquarius has known and worked with Chris for more than 15 years; since his early days at Tachosys when he was the Sales and Marketing Director. Today, using his vast experience of tachographs and software, he works as a freelance consultant alongside the management team at Aquarius.
For further advice on how to get the most out of our services, please contact us via https://www.aquariusit.com/contact/