Following a successful trial, supermarket chain, ALDI Australia, has announced it will install a new fleet management tool incorporating Electronic Work Diaries (EWDs) across its entire fleet subject to approval from the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR).
The move according to Kelly Wells, ALDI Australia Logistics Director, will assist 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,” she said.
“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," said Wells.
"You cannot argue with the merits of this technology."
ALDI will be using data gleaned from the fleet management devices to improve efficiency and safety as it looks to better understand the movement and operation of its commercial vehicles.
The retailer believes technology will continue to play a key role in improving safety on Australian roads and outlines as much in part of its upcoming submission to the parliamentary Inquiry into the Importance of a viable, safe, sustainable and efficient road transport industry.
New technologies and the impact they will have on advancements in freight distribution, vehicle design, road safety and alternative fuels remain one of the key focus points of the Inquiry.
The purchase and roll-out of this new fleet management tool is one of many ongoing safety programs ALDI has adopted to ensure it supports a safe work environment for its operators.
As the company already requires all drivers to maintain log books, ALDI, said in a statement, it is confident that the move to EWDs will not reveal compliance issues.
At present, schedulers are attuned to managing run allocations to give drivers an average shift that is well below the upper limit of hours under Basic Fatigue Management.
According to ALDI, converting this data to digital files will simply improve the process and provide transparency for regulators and authorities if required.
“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," said Wells.
"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," she said.
Wells said drivers, before commencing their shifts, conduct supervised exercises and work diary pages are monitored continuously via software to ensure compliance with fatigue regulations is met under the Heavy Vehicle National Law.
"Moving to electronic work diaries is a logical next step to help us maintain a safety first culture for our operators."
In a 2015 submission sent to the Workplace Relations Inquiry Commissioner
ALDI claimed it had a greater level of control over its truck vehicle fleet which it owns and operates.
As it typically runs between two to four deliveries per day, fewer than its major competitors, it minimised its environmental footprint.