Guildford Council reports new efficiency from Traka 06 April 2010

All operators have to maintain strict records on vehicle maintenance, driver licensing and competence, and vehicle use and mileage to co comply with VOSA (Vehicle and Operator Services Agency) requirements – and Guildford Council is no exception. However, with about 25% of its driver workforce employed by agencies, responsibility and accountability for vehicle use has, in the past, been more challenging than for most.

So when the council reports that it has achieved a new efficiency in managing the movements of its fleet of 44 waste collection vehicles and maximising utilisation by adopting Traka's key management system, we ought to sit up and take notice.

Mick Tuffs, the council's fleet administrator, makes the point that there are several aspects to this. For example, he cites accident management, which to him is about managing risk, but doing it well. "We accept that accidents do happen," says Tuffs. "Even the best driver will occasionally clip a wall or a gatepost. But it makes life so much easier when accidents are reported. And now, all our drivers know they can be identified with Traka, [so] they are much more likely to report any misadventure."
However, he explains that it's also important to ensure that drivers are only accessing keys to vehicles they are qualified and licensed to drive. Since Traka locks every key in place and only grants access to authorised users (with LED illuminated key strips, showing which key to take and where to return it), Tuffs says he now controls who has access to keys and how many they can take. And he adds that there is also an advance key booking option to stop anyone taking a vehicle that has been allocated for service or repair.

Finally, to comply with ISO9002, the council has to be able to demonstrate that it has procedures to manage and account for driver activity. Prior to installing Traka, driver records were patchy, log sheets from agency drivers were not always submitted and, if there was an accident, a speeding fine, or a report of inappropriate driving, it wasn't easy to identify the driver. "We can now trace the driver immediately, even if the incident happened weeks ago. The Traka software holds all records, giving full and accurate accountability."

So successful has the system been that the council has since extended it beyond its waste collection vehicles, also to manage road sweepers, litter vehicles, and event pest control operations and car parks. "The great thing about Traka is that it does exactly what we want. Iit was easy to adapt and we didn't have to change our processes in order to fit the software. It saves a significant amount of administration time and it's very reliable. We haven't looked back."

Brian Tinham

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