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BT Fleet Solutions comment: Lessons learnt since Earned Recognition went live

Since the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency’s (DVSA’s) Earned Recognition scheme was launched at the CV Show in 2018, operators have been tasked with a new way of self-governing and addressing fleet compliance issues. And as we quickly approach the scheme’s first birthday, Tracey Wetton, senior transport manager at BT Fleet Solutions reflects on what the business has learnt along its own Earned Recognition journey.

  1. As one of the scheme’s founding members, what are the key benefits you have noticed in this time?
DVSA introduced the Earned Recognition Scheme in 2018
DVSA introduced the Earned Recognition Scheme in 2018

The DVSA promised fewer roadside stops for approved operators and this is something that has been delivered on. In fact, our vehicles have not been subject to a single roadside stop since joining the Earned Recognition scheme. Although we were never subject to many stops the total transparency between the business and the DVSA means they no longer see it necessary.

The scheme has also given us more space for self-reflection, resulting in further internal auditing. From this, we have been able to identify issues that we previously wouldn’t have picked up on, enabling us to then implement processes to address them.

  1. How do you use technology to keep track of maintenance requirements?

We use our in-house system, Willow, to track maintenance requirements. The enhancement of Willow is still very much ongoing, but we have invested heavily in integrating the system with our Tech Tool. As our front-end handheld device, the Tech Tool has enabled us to go paperless. We now receive all of our reports Over The Air (OTA) including details of Periodic Maintenance Inspections and of course the KPIs we are duty-bound to report to the DVSA.

This has huge benefits for reducing admin time and ensuring we aren’t chasing missing documents. With digital documents, there is also less room for error and it’s far easier to capture any safety related defects at the point where drivers enter the garage.

  1. How has the business managed staff training? What have been the difficulties and how are you ensuring staff remain up to speed with Earned Recognition requirements?

When we joined the scheme, it was vital that staff fully understood the business’s ambition to maintain our status as an approved operator. As a result, all 65 of our owned garages now have a dedicated Garage Manager that holds a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) – a key DVSA requirement for auditors. In addition, all transport managers and senior management are Operator Licence Awareness Training (OLAT) trained in order to understand the importance of safety issues and why we take compliance so seriously.

For new staff joining the business, we have a comprehensive training programme. It’s a steep learning curve but we hold their hand every step of the way and have ensured we have the correct building blocks in place. This includes the roll out of our best practice guide for technicians, regular briefs for root cause analysis and a weekly knowledge call.

  1. Do you think it has improved standards of maintenance and compliance?

We have always operated to a high standard, but the scheme has wholeheartedly given BT Fleet Solutions the chance to focus fully on maintenance and compliance. It’s nice to be recognised as an exemplary operator and that’s precisely what Earned Recognition gives you.

  1. How has your own experience with Earned Recognition affected the service passed onto your customers?

We have to maintain our own fleet to Earned Recognition standards, and so we are really well positioned to manage the process on behalf of our customers. We manage all the required monthly KPIs; ensuring a fleet’s 95% pass rate, obtaining a full set of correct safety inspection records, actioning driver safety reflected defects, and doing so within an ISO9001-accredited management system.

  1. What does the Earned Recognition scheme offer in comparison to other compliance schemes?

BT Supply Chain, a separate BT business managed by Fleet Solutions, is a FORS member. The Earned Recognition scheme is very different in the sense that it looks at the processes and procedures required to operate the fleet rather than the vehicle itself.

  1. What advice would you give for other fleet operators considering joining the ER scheme?

Don’t over complicate it! Earned Recognition focuses on the key basics which all responsible fleet operators should be doing anyway. If you take a step back, you’re more than likely fulfilling all of the requirements anyway! So why not get the recognition for the job you’re already doing?

It is a fantastic opportunity to show everyone how good you are and gives you time to focus on customers, develop your compliance processes and obtain more transparent results.

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