Features & Interviews

Compliance kings: how operators are using technology to gain Earned Recognition

20 October 2022 #Features & Interviews

Earned Recognition (ER) is a voluntary scheme for operators of all sizes that demonstrate a strong track record of compliance and adherence to standards.

Introduced in 2018 by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), operators must have robust systems and processes that ensure effective and proactive transport management.

Once accepted by the DVSA, these operators enjoy the benefits that come with a reduced burden of enforcement.

About 5% of UK fleets currently have ER status, but the latest technology is making it easier for more fleets to gain it.

For example, Warwick plumbing, heating and cooling trade specialist merchant Wolseley UK has used FleetCheck software to help it achieve accreditation.

The firm operates FleetCheck’s core fleet management system, which is ER approved, to produce all the maintenance key performance indicators required by the DVSA, which are then sent to the organisation on a weekly basis.

FleetCheck’s Driver app is also used to perform digital vehicle checks and all defect reporting takes place through the software, with bespoke interfaces collecting relevant data from suppliers.

Jess Partridge, National Compliance Manager for Transport at Wolseley UK, operates a fleet of more than 800 vehicles across the country, ranging from vans to HGVs and cranes, said: “ER shows our customers and our colleagues just how committed we are to offering a high standard of health and safety on the road.

“When we first adopted the FleetCheck system a couple of years ago, the aim of achieving ER was part of our decision making process and the company has played a key role in helping us become recognised.”

Somerset’s CRS Building Supplies, which runs 34 HGVs, has gained ER, with the help of Truckfile digital fleet management systems.

The decision to apply for ER came soon after CRS’s Truckfile installation, when Transport Manager Paul Gibbard realised all the data he would need to provide to DVSA was recorded by the system, ready to present to the agency’s inspectors.

He said: “Because Truckfile is highly automated and completely secure, everything is always filed in the correct place and no documents ever get lost. Sending the necessary updates to DVSA, to ensure our continuing ER status, is now very straightforward.

“Applying for, and gaining ER with the help of Truckfile has not led to any increase in paperwork for me or my team.”

Trailer services provider TIP is a validated IT Supplier for the DVSA scheme and last month launched ER by TIP – a service where its operations team largely manages compliance for its customers.

This includes dedicated support and 24/7 access to TIP’s in-house ER platform, which sits within FleetRadar, the company’s one-stop portal for maintenance compliance.

It takes the strain of compliance event data entry, managing compliance documentation and monitoring maintenance key performance indicators away from the operator.

The system also includes a dashboard to help operators see how they are performing in terms of maintenance compliance and to help them demonstrate to the DVSA that they have effective processes in place.

Mike Furnival, Managing Director UK & Ireland, TIP Trailer Services, said: “Having seen a growing interest in ER from our customers, we were keen to ensure that we could provide an effective solution to support their needs, as and when they looked to pursue ER status with the DVSA.

“Using ‘ER by TIP’ enables operators to reap the benefits of being in the DVSA scheme, such as reduced roadside or on-site inspections, but with the minimum of time spent analysing maintenance KPIs, ensuring compliance documentation is available and entering data, since our teams will be doing that for them.”

Transport consultancy Novadata is an approved and validated maintenance IT supplier for the scheme through its Convey Fleet Maintenance management online module.

Last year, it assisted infrastructure, groundworks and reinforced concrete frame services provider Tamdown, achieve ER status.

Novadata, which had already provided the firm’s tachograph analysis for many years, was able to provide its technology and vast experience to review and then strengthen all Tamdown’s transport systems and processes.

For its official DVSA ER audit, Tamdown could prove it had demonstrably robust systems, well-trained key personnel, was thoroughly compliant, fulfilling all its O Licence undertakings and applying best practice throughout the transport operation.

Mark Cain Tamdown’s plant & procurement director, said: “Gaining ER status has brought huge immediate and potential benefits for us.

“By sailing through the intense audit process, we’ve more than adequately demonstrated our commitment to compliance and best practice.

“This not only stands us in good stead should anything unforeseen happen while our drivers are on the road, it is also helping to further our plans for future expansion and progress.”

Meanwhile, AD Fuels, a UK bulk hauler for the renewable fuels and waste cycling industries, has been working to secure ER status with the help of compliance control and fleet management software systems from TruTac and Microlise.

The data captured and digitally stored by the TruTac and Microlise systems spans a wide range of driver and vehicle activity that can be accessed and retrieved from any portal for auditing and compliance checks at any time.

By using TruFleet on a tablet or any terminal, the workshop team can instantly view planned maintenance, inspections, MoTs and repairs, while adding calendar reminders for tax, insurance and service intervals.

Furthermore, inspection sheets can be instantly uploaded and, if needed, the system can also manage multiple garages, schedules and bookings.

Jon Mayes, AD Fuels’ managing director, said: “Ultimately, TruTac and Microlise have improved various aspects of our compliance control and fleet efficiency.

“Plus, aided by their software, and the peace of mind it gives us, we are applying for ER status.”

For operators of commercial vehicles, Earned Recognition status underlines their commitment to a proven culture of compliance and could reduce their chance of getting stopped at the roadside.

As a result, expect more fleets to use the technology available in the marketplace to help them meet the standards.


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