As we mentioned in our recent Whitepaper: Understanding Chain of Responsibility in the Supply Chain, all supply chain partners bear responsibilty for transportation safety. The potential legislation of Chain of Responsibility (COR) related laws risk to have a profound effect on all areas of the supply chain.Taking the time to consider what your business needs to make it the most responsible business partner it can be can pay dividends in efficiency and safety for all.
On a practical level, there are numerous ways operations can be improved to help prevent accidents.
Shippers should offer flexible pick-up hours, a place for drivers to rest who may be coming up against the end of an Hours of Service work period, and eliminate indirect financial pressures that take precedence over driver fatigue.
For vehicle operators, routes and schedules should be carefully planned; drivers, dispatchers and schedulers must be adequately trained; there should be a place to rest for drivers; and consideration should be given to ergonomic vehicle design.
Drivers also have to take responsibility for route and schedule planning; they must be aware of and use fatigue management techniques; they need to know to avoid heavy meals and drugs, and alcohol; they should be discouraged from holding two jobs, which limits free time and sleep time; and they should be screened for sleep disorders (like sleep apnea).
Consignees, like shippers, must allow for flexibility in receiving and unloading trailers; they need to keep delivery schedules reasonable; and provide rest areas for waiting drivers.
No matter which type of supply chain organization you represent, there are tools available in the marketplace to help implement these suggestions. Technology is part of the reason that CoR has become an issue in supply chain operations.
With sophisticated GPS tracking systems and fleet management software relatively inexpensively available, every little action taken by a truck driver can be monitored. Driver logs and telematics tracking devices make the implementation of Hours of Service regulations possible.
With all that data theoretically available, it’s not just the trucking operators who can ensure their drivers are compliant. Shippers and brokers and 3PLs can also request that information as part of their due diligence in ensuring CoR obligations are met. It’s a powerful tool that lets you decide if a carrier demonstrates the kind of safety values that meet with your own.
Routing and Scheduling software, as well, has an important role to play in ensuring that drivers are making the most efficient use of their time, on the road, on arrival with a load for delivery, or at the dock door for a pick-up.
You cannot prevent events that are beyond your control like weather, traffic congestion and unforeseen delays, but scheduling software allows you to make the best possible decisions with the information you have, so as not to unduly hinder truck drivers who need to keep moving in order to make a living.
There are also simple policies you can implement, such as empowering your inbound or outbound shipping staff to offer motel rooms to drivers in the event of delays caused by your organization.
No doubt, when the attention to CoR intensifies and it looks to become regulated in Canadian and United-States jurisdictions, there will be a host of new products and services designed to help companies improve compliance and prevent significant incidents.
We invite you to download our White Paper to know more about the concept of Chain of Responsibility and how it may affect your business.
Understanding Chain of Responsibility in the Supply Chain