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Industry backers praise dawn of the EWD era

Productivity gains and efficiencies expected as Aldi eyes roll-out

 

There has been a broad positive response to the green light for approved electronic work diaries (EWDs).

The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) is sure the move will reduce red tape and improve safety for transport operators.

“Today’s announcement is a big step forward for our industry,” ATA chair David Smith says. 

“It will reduce paperwork for our drivers and the unbelievable amount of record keeping that companies need to do to stay compliant.

“The ATA is separately pressing for changes to the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) to simplify the fatigue rules even further.”

The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) also give it the thumbs up.

“EWDs have tremendous capacity to increase productivity and efficiency because they reduce the time required to manually record work and rest hours, allowing drivers more time to complete their vital transport work,” said VTA CEO Peter Anderson.

“The capacity for EWDs to reduce this kind of red tape is enormous and converts into potentially many millions of dollars in productivity gains which can be reinvested back into transport operators and the people they employ.

“We congratulate the Commonwealth government and the NHVR for working with industry on the development of the EWD Policy Framework and Standards, which will govern the implementation of electronic work diaries across our industry, and help transport operators adjust to this new way of recording work and rest.”

Anderson notes EWDs also have the potential to contribute to better safety outcomes and were an important tool in ensuring compliancy.

“The industry has worked hard to reduce fatigue among drivers, and we welcome the use of technology that can lead to healthier, better-rested and more compliant drivers,” he says.

Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia (HVIA) hails the move as providing “practical advantages that would be realised by road transport operators of all sizes”.

“What we are witnessing is the rapid development of truly connected vehicles,” Hacking says.

“On top of the wonderful safety benefits, the productivity gains and efficiencies are going right into the hip pocket of truck operators whether they are an owner-driver or a large fleet operator.”

HVIA notes the EWD Policy Framework and Standards were developed in association with technology providers, transport operators, police and transport authorities in 2018 and were subject to comprehensive review and consultation. 


Read about the official EWDs go-ahead in Canberra, here


Hacking says that partnerships involving truck and trailer manufacturers and technology developers mean that these solutions are increasingly built to work in harmony.

“Earlier in the year we joined with the NHVR and many of our members to launch the SETUP program as a blueprint to support manufacturers and operators to incorporate the latest safety technology into new and existing heavy vehicles,” he adds.

“Now we are combining vehicles configured with the best safety technology, features that provide a plethora of invaluable live feedback about a vehicle’s performance, fleet management solutions and scheduling systems and now, closing the loop, in-cab fatigue management.

“I strongly encourage all operators to talk to their suppliers about the benefits and the business case for implementing these technologies in the shortest possible timeframe.

“For operators that are keen on getting a better understanding of the opportunities, we will be hosting a Technology and Innovation Hub at the 2021 Brisbane Truck Show, with industry experts on hand to help you realise the advantages for your operations.”

HVIA notes that member firm Teletrac Navman is at the forefront of development of EWDs.

For that company, the launch represents the fruition of much work on its Sentinel product, which it says is already being used by over 40,000 drivers nationally.

“Our EWDs will streamline and simplify the whole process of logging driver hours, both from a safety and operational standpoint,” Teletrac Navman chief product officer Andrew Rossington says.

“EWDs empower drivers to manage their own compliance, give managers peace of mind that their drivers are safe, and make it easy for everyone to stay compliant and keep records of driver work and rest times.”

Teletrac Navman quotes Lindsay Australia fleet quality and efficiency manager Nick Lindsay as saying: “Lindsay Australia strongly advocates improvements for the trucking industry in safety through innovation.

“We fully support the use of the Teletrac Navman Electronic Work Diary and look forward to our work force embracing technology and the many benefits it will provide.”

Aldi’s plans

Supermarket firm Aldi backs the move within the company and uses the announcement to spruik its compliance strategy.

Aldi Australia announces that, following a successful trial, it will roll-out a new fleet management tool with plans to deploy EWDs, once approved by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR).

The new tool is to be deployed across Aldi’s entire fleet.

“If you care about the safety of your team, have nothing to hide and want to drive meaningful safety improvements in the transport industry, then fleet management tools and electronic work diaries are a logical step forward. You cannot argue with the merits of this technology,” Aldi Australia director of logistics Kelly Wells says.

“Our move to electronic work diaries will assist our operators by reducing the complexity and administrative burden that the current paper based system presents.

“In-vehicle driver information will also allow our team to plan their work and rest breaks and act when alerted to imminent working hour limits.

“As Aldi has outlined in its submission that will be submitted to the Inquiry into the Importance of a viable, safe, sustainable and efficient road transport industry, the retailer believes that technology will continue to play a key role in driving improved safety on our roads.

“The purchase and roll-out of this new fleet management tool is one of many ongoing safety programs led by Aldi to ensure it supports a safe work environment for its operators.”

Aldi says it is confident that the move to EWDs will not reveal compliance issues as the company already requires all drivers to maintain log books, irrespective of distance travelled, and they run audits on all records.

Schedulers are said to be attuned to managing run allocations to give drivers an average shift that is well below the upper limit of hours under Basic Fatigue Management.

“Converting this data to digital files will simply improve the process and provide transparency for regulators and authorities if required,” Wells says.

“Our rostering arrangements support safe driving hours and fatigue management practices, and our policies and processes are strictly enforced to ensure driver and public safety.

“Each of our distribution centres has a qualified driver trainer whose role is to oversee and train all staff, as well as provide ongoing support for drivers.

“Our drivers conduct supervised exercises before commencing their shifts, and work diary pages are continuously monitored via software which helps Aldi ensure compliance with fatigue regulations under the HVNL.

“Moving to electronic work diaries is a logical next step to help us maintain a safety first culture for our operators,”

 

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