Why we like Policies and Procedures for Transport Managers? A great question! Ok, I know this doesn’t sound like the most exciting of subjects to write about, never the less it is important. Policies and procedures provide the framework within which a Company operates. They define what the Transport department does and how you do it. Clear policies and procedures support effective decision making and delegation because they provide guidelines on what people can and cannot do, what decisions they can make and what activities are appropriate.
A clear policy framework means there will be fewer misunderstandings or debates about what to do in particular situations and there will transparency and consistency in the way you operate as an organisation and make decisions.
The policies and procedures an Operator needs will depend on a number of factors such as the type of work and the size of your organisation and fleet.
Transport Managers need to have a way to implement all of the Operator’s Licence undertakings and we need to ensure all the Policies and Processes are in place. Vehicle checks, Maintenance, H&S, complaints, applications, induction, grievance, smoking, fuel tracking , vulnerable road users, training the list goes on!
Without doubt, writing your policies and procedures manual will be one of the biggest and most time consuming undertakings for the Transport Manager. Yet, once you have a general format and all the generic elements together, you’ll have the solid foundations for a very powerful document and when complete, a very valuable asset in your tool box.
Why Do We Have Processes and Procedures?
No self respecting Operator can run efficiently (or effectively) without having robust policies and processes in place. A business without policies and procedures is like a truck without a driver, essentially an organisation without control. Personnel at all levels would have no guidance on how to make any decisions and carry out their tasks. Think of it like returning a faulty product to a shop, if the shop had no policy on refunds, the result would be dependant on who would be serving you that day. An absence of policy leads to inconsistency of decision making.
The purpose for creating an internal control system through defining and documenting processes with well-written procedures boils down to a few very basic components:
- Operational Needs
- Managing Risks
- Continuous Improvement through review
Complying with traffic laws and regulations should be the most basic function of an Operator. While policies and procedures themselves may not demonstrate compliance, well-defined and documented processes (i.e. procedures, training) along with records that demonstrate process capability can make evident an effective internal control system and compliance to regulations and standards.
We love efficiency!
The Transport Manager cannot be everywhere all the time to ensure staff and drivers carry out their tasks correctly and responsibly. Instead the Transport Manager will develop and communicate policies, and ask staff and drivers to read and adhere to them. Therefore, policies and processes will help decrease the amount of direct supervision by the you, and at the same time increase the efficiency of work procedures. So creating well-defined processes documented by procedures in order to meet your legal and regulatory requirements should be of the highest priority.
Drive Improvement, keep control
Reviewing data for policy effectiveness is one form of internal control and should be an integral part of the process. Are your objectives being achieved? Are the objectives meaningful and reflect the processes’ importance and risk? Necessary corrections can be identified and implemented as a result of the review. Improvement occurs when we compare the prior condition to the current condition. Improvement is always a question of “as compared to what?”
I just don’t have time, are template documents any good?
In short yes they are. Off the self templates can save you much time and effort. They take the headache out of policy writing but you still need to read through thoroughly and adjust the template to your specific company requirements. It’ll still take some time but once finished, you’ll be proud of your accomplishments, whether you used a template or not.
If you would like to know more about policies and procedures for transport managers and how we can help, please do get in touch.