This might seem a silly question but on examining the data that we have gathered in the last decade only 7% of the businesses that we work with want to be the best, full stop. The others fall into the category of ‘We want to be better than our competitors’ – 63 % and the other 30% want to do just enough to not get caught.
Doing the minimum
There are a number of various reasons given but they generally fall into one or two of the following categories:
- We believe we are better than the rest.
- We’ve never been stopped by the DVSA
- If we get stopped, we’ll put it right then.
- We know loads of others who do the same as we do.
- We’ve always done it this way.
- We don’t have the time, we’re busy as it is.
Is it only the Big companies that do it right?
No and a very big NO! at that. A S Miles Consulting have a wide range of clients from those with 1 or 2 vehicles, to those with fleets in the 1,000’s. From well-known names to those you will have never heard of, both in the PCV and Freight sectors.
One thing that all of us at A S Miles Consulting have learnt is that size in no indicator of compliance, it is the culture of the business that is important and that starts at the top with the Directors.
What is really the best for the business?
So, what is best? You invest in an experienced and highly qualified Transport Consultant working on your behalf who goes through your business and provides you and your other Directors with a detailed report on what you are doing well and on those areas where you are at risk and helps you produce an Action Plan to put things right.
You then take the steps required, this may be Director and staff training and development, investing in better tachograph analysis, changing maintenance provider and including if needed writing to the Traffic Commissioner and asking for time to put it right (and we have never known them say No when there is a plan to put it right), you get it right and then move forward knowing your business is in great shape.
You stick you head in the sand and hope that you don’t get either a call or a knock on the door from the police or the DVSA and they start going through all of your vehicles and paperwork with a fine tooth comb and carry out their own audit on you.
They then invite you, your Transport Manager and you Drivers for a series of interview under caution and after several hours more work tell you that they are going to report the facts to the Traffic Commissioner for them to consider whether or not to call you to Public Inquiry, they may also be considering Criminal charges too dependent on what they have found.
At this point it will have already cost you more than one of our Audits and you will still have to put right everything that would have been found anyway.
You then engage a team of Transport Specialist Lawyers, they will very likely require you to have an Audit, have Directors and Staff undertaking Training. Then you have the Public Inquiry to go through, the publicity of clients getting to know that you ‘cut corners / don’t play by the rules / are a danger to other road users etc. That might put contracts at risk, the good drivers, if they haven’t already, may leave, and even after the Public Inquiry you may still have a trip to court.
At the Public Inquiry your operation is picked over and you may:
- Get a formal warning.
- Have your fleet reduced in size for a little while.
- Have your fleet reduced in size for a long time.
- Have it suspended for a period of time.
- Taken off you for good.
- You may not be allowed to be a Director for a company with an Operating Licence
- The Business may be disqualified from holding an Operator’s Licence
- Drivers may have their vocational licences taken off them or suspended for a period.
At Court the potential outcome can be much worse and that is on top of the penalties given by the Traffic Commissioner.
- Fines from a few hundred pounds to unlimited fines
- Penalty points on Driving Licences
- Periods of disqualification from driving
- Suspended Prison sentences
- Immediate Prison sentences
A cost or an Investment?
Now we are not sure if this is connected but for example one of the 7% clients, the ones that want to be the best, after a little over 2 years of working with us, of Audits, training and a restructuring in the business saw a 13% increase in turnover last year and without knowing the margins they tell me that this is very profitable turnover, they have gained one of the top accreditations in their business and are expanding at a very exciting but sustainable rate and their systems grown good compliance with them.
So, as we asked at the start of the article, ‘Are you the best you can be – or the best of a bad bunch?’
If you want to be the best you can be, call A S Miles Consulting on 01455 389053 or email: email@example.com