As far as I am aware, waste management business Cawleys is still the only firm in the sector to have joined the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) earned recognition pilot scheme, and for us it has been a wholly positive experience.
What is the scheme? The best description is from the DVSA’s own website: “The DVSA earned recognition for vehicle operators is a new way to prove [that] you meet driver and vehicle standards. You regularly share performance information with the DVSA. In return, your vehicles are less likely to be stopped for inspections.
“It is a voluntary scheme that is designed to work for operators of all sizes. The pilot is testing the idea of earned recognition, and that the policies and processes work.”
You need to have IT systems for vehicle maintenance and drivers’ hours. These will monitor if you are meeting a set of key performance indicators (KPIs). Every four weeks, these systems will tell the DVSA if you have missed any of the KPIs by a set amount. If this happens, the DVSA will work with you to fix the issue.
The DVSA will not have direct access to any of your data or systems – just the key metrics you send them under the scheme.
I heard about the scheme last November and, as Cawleys had been going through a process of upgrading all IT systems, it made sense to set up for this at the same time.
People forget that an efficient transport system is at the heart of a good recycling service. We need to minimise transport mileage and emissions, and technology makes all the difference here. It is something every company in the sector should be doing.
For example, all the information from our Fleetmatics system tells us how well our drivers are driving, and that helps us to improve fuel efficiency through driver training and awareness programmes. Route planning using the Dataset system helps us make efficient collections.
It was a natural next step to use software, in our case r2c, to cover the DVSA compliance. The hardest part was getting started: it took us two months to set up. Vehicle specifications, driver checks and workshop data all had to be loaded into the system.
“We have used the technology to go well beyond DVSA KPIS to capture a much wider range of data, used to improve other factors such as parts used, workshop planning and so on.”
We were independently audited by the Road Haulage Association to check that all our policies and procedures, required as part of the DVSA process, were in place. It was a tough process but it has been completely worth it.
Anyone who operates a commercial vehicle has to carry out a series of daily checks to ensure it is roadworthy. Cawleys operates a fleet of 75 vehicles, including articulated lorries, skips, curtain-siders and container lorries. Our workshop in Luton operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and we have 80 drivers.
Ironically for a business in the waste sector, we used to create a mountain of paperwork just from the daily driver vehicle checks: a record of every vehicle check, every day, had to be kept for 15 months. You can imagine the problems with any paper-based system.
We had to manually cross-reference paperwork against the vehicle workshop timetables, book in vehicles and adjust driver routes to compensate for maintenance and vehicles in the workshop – and don’t even start me on drivers with messy handwriting.
But the benefits to Cawleys are rolling in. We have already saved hours on administration. Instead of pieces of paper, the drivers now enter their daily checks directly into the computer system via an app on their phone.
Benefits to Cawleys
- Saved driver time through digitised checks
- Improved supply chain and workshop communication
- Increased productivity and reduced vehicle downtime
- Saved technician time, freeing them for more productive work
- Saved paper and storage space
- DVSA compliance at a glance
- Additional performance statistics and measurement
- Real time fleet reporting
- Ability to provide customer information on request
We set our own KPIs in addition to the DVSA requirements, giving us a bespoke dashboard of information. We can adjust the equations to conduct specific analyses of working practices, while r2c online updates the system automatically as DVSA requirements change.
We have used the technology to go well beyond DVSA KPIs to capture a much wider range of data, used to improve other factors such as parts used, workshop planning and so on.
Cawleys carries out only business waste collections, and being ultra-compliant is very important for customers. Being part of the scheme has already helped the company to win contracts with the most rigorous standards, and it is a great reassurance for some of our large corporate clients.
Would I recommend it for others in the waste management sector? Definitely.
Phil Gudgeon is director of waste collection and logistics at Cawleys