The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has announced it will change its structured engagement model to improve its field contact with regional working groups.
With officers across Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT, the change, as it seeks to increase engagement with the smaller end of the industry, will effectively allow it to operate without borders across the southern states.
NHVR Stakeholder Relations and Customer Experience Manager John Gilbert said he would like to focus on the 4.5 tonne to 10 tonne heavy vehicle operators no matter if it was at flower or meat markets.
"I want to ensure they are aware of their responsibilities under law," he said.
"As a modern regulator I want to lead the way when it comes to treating operators on the side of the road as a customer first," said Gilbert.
Last year the Brisbane-based industry body conducted an internal project to better understand the NHVR's customers.
According to Gilbert the project has helped staff to understand that every one that engages with the NHVR is a customer and with that there were ongoing responsibilities and expectations to meet.
The outcomes of the project are set to be rolled out during 2020 to all divisions of the NHVR.
Gilbert said operators would, as a result of the project, receive a better customer experience to help them go about their day-to-day business.
In 2019 the NHVR stakeholder team rolled out more than 30 information sessions in all participating states as part of its roadside information sessions or one of the many events the NHVR attended.
This included four truck information sessions across four states on one day in September.
Gilbert, who joined the NHVR in October, 2013 having previously held the role as Members Service Manager at the Victorian Transport Association, said the national day of engagement was a success as it allowed operators to talk to the team in a more relaxed environment.
"Some of this engagement has already led to changes and better wording of policy documents the NHVR has produced," he said.
The key function of the NHVR stakeholder team is to ensure visibility for the organisation to industry and the wider community by encouraging people to talk directly to the NHVR to work on solutions.
For Gilbert the job is not just about truck stops but listening to the latest feedback and providing up-to-date information along the freight routes.
"We have had caravan drivers come up and talk to use on a range of issues to better understand the role of a truck driver," he said.
"This type of engagement led to the team attending and setting up at the recent caravan round up held in Grafton with some great engagement from attendees."
Gilbert also wears another hat.
His other role is to manage the call centre and Hypercare Team, a point of contact for a lot of industry new to the NHVR portal.
The Hypercare Team helps operators navigate their way around the portal, setting up accounts, attaching vehicles to accounts and lodging applications with road managers.
"We’ve been busy recently working with accredited operators to bring their vehicles into the Accreditation Module of the Portal," Gilbert said.
The team is led by Suzanna Morisaki and the call centre located on the Gold Coast is overseen by Engagement Officer Jason Stewart.
More recently the stakeholder team ran the NHVR Performance-Based Standards (PBS) demonstration day held in Bundaberg last December.
According to Gilbert there always will be a need for a modern regulator to have a stakeholder engagement team out on the road connecting with industry.
"Some of this information can flow through industry associations, but the most valuable feedback and engagement is done face-to-face, standing in the shade at a truck stop or in a shed with a group of operators."
(Top image: NHVR Stakeholder Relations and Customer Experience Manager John Gilbert; Bottom image: Dan Casey NHVR Queensland).