Sussex Transport is a family owned haulage, lifting and warehousing business, employing around 50 staff and operating 23 vehicles out of 3 depots located in Brighton, Crawley and Chichester. Since being established in 1990, the company has steadily expanded its range of services and now offers external storage space, on and off site container hire, eCommerce pick & pack and ALLMI & NPORS safety training to its broad range of clients across the South of England and beyond.
The company has held FORS Silver accreditation for a number of years, however when General Manager, Sian Panton attended the 2018 FORS Member’s conference she recognised that big changes were on their way. Sian explains, “While visiting the conference we saw that the new FORS v5.0 standard was much more involved than previous versions and we needed a faster and more streamlined way to communicate company policies and standards to our drivers. However, because we provide dedicated haulage at a time that our customers require, we don’t have them all in at 7.00am, which makes it difficult for us to deliver a consistent 15 minute briefing to everyone.”
The business already recognised the benefits of using an online solution but as Sian describes, they were not 100% happy with their existing system’s performance, “We had a different e-learning platform, however it was difficult to use and although it contained generalised risks, it wasn’t dedicated to the road haulage industry. So, having previously worked with Road Skills for our FORS audits, we decided to move away from this generic risk approach and chose their solution to deliver our ongoing driver training. We also decided to sign up our warehouse, planning and management teams to Road Skills Online, as it’s a real benefit they all understand what we expect of our drivers.”
Sian continues by saying, “Coming from a health & safety and quality background, I recognise that FORS provides a really good framework for best practice in the road haulage industry and when we went through a FORS Silver audit last June, we used Road Skills Online as evidence. We created a document containing screenshots of the whole system to demonstrate the content being delivered, the questions at the end of each Toolbox Talk and the dashboard showing each driver’s progress.”
Commenting on the Road Skills Online system Sian states, “It’s so easy to administer and we can add new drivers at any time. Plus there’s also a big environmental benefit because now we don’t have to print off 30 Toolbox Talks to deliver training, the drivers can do it online using the Samsung tablets we’ve provided – which allows them to refer back to it whenever they need to.” She continues by saying, “The ‘live chat’ support is an excellent time saver for the business because some of the drivers are a little tech-phobic and if they have problems, instead of calling me, they now jump online and get it figured out that way. For example I had a small issue with one of my Toolbox Talks this week, so I used the ‘live chat’ and got it sorted really quickly – I was back up and running in 5 minutes, so it’s perfect.”
Previously delivering driver training was problematic, but things have changed since implementing the Road Skills online solution, as Sian explains – “It saves us a lot of time from a compliance and management point of view. New Toolbox Talks are automatically issued to the drivers and from the dashboard we can easily see who is falling behind. We then chase them on a monthly basis to make sure they keep up to date. Before it was always a worry that we’d need to put our own programme in place, however using Road Skills Online has saved us days of time each month.”
“What the drivers like about it is the consistent communication, compared to previously where it might have been more erratic. Because a Toolbox Talk is released every month we’re really reinforcing the policies and standards of the business, and the content is very much more on message.” Sian continues, “We’ve seen a dramatic drop in vehicle accidents and we didn’t have any reportable accidents at all in 2019, which was the first time for about 5 years. Road Skills Online is definitely one of the things that has aided an improvement in our targets and objectives.”
In summary, Sian concludes by saying, “We’re really happy with the decision we’ve made to implement the Road Skills Online solution – it’s easy to use, our drivers enjoy the content and they learn something from it. It saves us time and money and there’s a variety of topics about specific risks that the drivers face on a daily basis. There are no negatives, especially as it helps us to meet the requirements of the FORS Bronze and Silver PDP standards and makes it really easy for us to evidence that as well. Overall, it’s a brilliant system.”
Sussex Transport has a 35-driver subscription to the Road Skills Online Professional Development Plan. The program features monthly bite-size Toolbox Talks delivered in an accessible format that is available 24/7 on mobile phones, tablets, laptops and desktops. The solution provides management with an ‘at a glance’ dashboard of all drivers’ progress with the ability to export this information as evidence for audits.