Since the DVSA’s Earned Recognition scheme was launched at the CV Show in 2018, operators have been tasked with a new way of self-governing and addressing fleet compliance issues. A year on, CVW talks to Tracey Wetton, Senior Transport Manager at BT Fleet Solutions, to find out what BT has learnt along its Earned Recognition journey.
BT Fleet Solutions was actually a founding member of the scheme, so we are in a great position to explain how we have benefitted so far. At the start, one of the scheme’s main draws was that the DVSA had promised a reduction in roadside stops for approved operators, and we have found that this is something that has been delivered on. In fact, our vehicles have not been subject to a single roadside stop since joining the Earned Recognition scheme. Although we were never subject to many stops, the total transparency between the business and the DVSA means the agency no longer sees it as necessary.
The scheme has also given us more space for self-reflection, resulting in further internal auditing. From this, we have been able to identify issues that we previously wouldn’t have picked up on, enabling us to then implement processes to address them.
Earned Recognition has also allowed us to stick with what we know best, including the use of our own in-house management system, Willow, to track maintenance requirements. The enhancement of Willow is still very much ongoing, but we have invested heavily in integrating the system with our Tech Tool. As our front-end handheld device, the Tech Tool has enabled us to go paperless. We now receive all of our reports Over The Air (OTA), including details of Periodic Maintenance Inspections and of course the KPIs we are duty-bound to report to the DVSA.
This has had huge benefits for reducing admin time and ensuring we aren’t chasing missing documents. With digital documents, there is also less room for error and it’s far easier to capture any safety-related defects at the point where drivers enter the workshop.
What about the staff?
Joining a scheme like this is no small decision, so it was vital that staff fully understood the business’s ambition to maintain our status as an approved operator. As a result, all 65 of our owned workshops now have a dedicated Garage Manager that holds a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) – a key DVSA requirement for auditors. In addition, all transport managers and senior management are Operator Licence Awareness Training (OLAT) trained in order to understand the importance of safety issues and why we take compliance so seriously.
For new staff joining the business, we have a comprehensive training programme. It’s a steep learning curve, but we hold their hand every step of the way and have ensured we have the correct building blocks in place. This includes the roll out of our best practice guide for technicians, regular briefs for root cause analysis and a weekly knowledge call.
This added level of training hasn’t improved standards of maintenance and compliance per say, as we have always operated to the highest standard we can. This being said, the scheme has wholeheartedly given BT Fleet Solutions the chance to focus fully on maintenance and compliance. It’s nice to be recognised as an exemplary operator and that’s precisely what Earned Recognition gives you.
A knock-on effect
Maintaining our own fleet to Earned Recognition standards has also had the knockon effect of providing new ways of helping our customers by managing the maintenance process on their behalf. We can manage all the required monthly KPIs; ensuring a fleet’s 95% pass rate, obtaining a full set of correct safety inspection records, actioning driver safetyrelated defects, and doing so within an ISO9001-accredited management system.
I would say that if I had to bestow one piece of advice for any fleet thinking of joining, it would be: don’t over complicate it! Earned Recognition focuses on the key basics that all responsible fleet operators should be doing anyway. If you take a step back, you’re more than likely fulfilling all of the requirements anyway. So, why not get the recognition for the job you’re already doing?
Earned Recognition is a fantastic opportunity to show everyone how good you are and gives you time to focus on customers, develop your compliance processes and obtain more transparent results.