HGV Cab Cameras and Media Perception: Is This The Turning Point?

This year, Highways England have harnessed HGVs to help tackle dangerous driving on our roads. Using secret wide angle cameras in unmarked lorries’ dashboards, the inconspicuous trucks have been capturing video records of unsafe driving behaviour.

 

The move follows the success of a trial last year, which saw over 4,000 dangerous drivers caught. By allowing unsuspecting law breakers to be followed by the cab and have their behaviour recorded, police forces could then pull over the offenders and deal with the situation – be it a warning, or a prosecution.

 

What was promising and encouraging to see is the mainstream media’s reaction to these announcements. Rather than berate the ‘spying’ HGVs, the reaction to the police and Highway England’s efforts to increase road safety through immediate intervention has been, on the whole, positive. Although the phrase ‘spy camera’ has a somewhat antagonistic feel, national news outlets reporting about the HGV cameras in a favourable manner.

 

With the exception of a few pieces implying that the new camera systems are an underhand enemy to be loathed, the majority focus instead on what is most important – the driving crimes which are being caught. These cameras aren’t just there to catch out drivers going slightly over the speed limit: they have caught drivers using their mobile phones at the wheel – the dangers of which have never been more prominent than in recent years – a driver writing on a notepad, one eating a meal and even another brushing their teeth!

 

So why is reaction so important? Historically, reporting on HGVs has taken the same one-sided route – sensationalistic pieces reporting lorries’ near misses and irresponsible driving. Although, of course, such behaviour from professional drivers is absolutely abhorrent and should be disciplined appropriately – the issue lies within the bias of reporting and how this influences public perception.

 

If the only stories the public read about the professional driving industry in consumer media outlets involve the few extreme cases of poor and dangerous driving, an assumption will grow about the whole of the driving industry. This can lead to misconceptions and seriously tarnish the reputation of the majority of the safe, skilful HGV drivers whose dedicated work allows the UK’s businesses to thrive. Without HGVs, the country and its economy would come to a standstill – an aspect which is never mentioned in stories reporting on dangerous HGV driving.

 

So the positive reaction to the HGV in-cab cameras is a step in the right direction – at the least, it gives another perspective to HGV stories. Although we are, of course, not there yet in a balanced and fair narrative on lorries in consumer media, we can take hope from the start of this movement and continue to raise the profile of the industry ourselves through our highest quality Barnes professional standards.

Barnes Logistics: A Look Back at 2017

2017 is drawing to a close and the New Year is right around the corner, and we’ve been thinking about all that’s happened this year here at Barnes Logistics…

 

After settling in to our new headquarters after expanding both our fleet and team, we set our sights on growing the business even further. Looking to grow Barnes Logistics organically, for many months we were working on expanding through strategic acquisition. In September, we were proud to announce that we had acquired the Nantwich-based haulage firm GA Newsome. The newly acquired business had its own purpose-built premises offering substantial warehouse space, offices, workshop facilities and parking. The acquisition presented a unique opportunity to expand our presence across the UK, to bring our Just In Time logistics services to even more companies.

 

We’ve been inundated with awards this year – in September, we scooped the ‘Best Logistics & Warehouse Company – UK’ award in Industry Insights Monthly. Later on in the year, we were thrilled to have been awarded the title of  ‘Business of the Year’ for businesses with a turnover of more than £5 million in the annual Rochdale Business Awards. We entered way back in the year, and strove to provide the rigorous judging panel with evidence of yearly business growth, outstanding staff welfare and continued community support. We fought off some tough competition at the black tie awards evening at Rochdale town hall in November, and we couldn’t be more pleased with our win – to be recognised as a business leader in the local area is wonderful.

 

2017 has also seen some significant changes to UK road legislation. We welcomed the increased fine and tougher penalties for those caught using their mobile phones whilst driving.  Back in June, it was reported that the latest crackdown caught 6,000 motorists within the first four weeks of the new rules. Later in the year, the focus moved towards HGV drivers, with the DVSA given the ability to give out on the spot fines for any drivers who break proper rest rules within the previous 28 days.  Drivers must now take their legally required breaks in designated rest areas, or risk fines of up to £1,500. These new rules received mixed reviews – although all road users must be protected from the dangers of tired driving, industry leaders pointed out that there were simply not enough legal rest areas available, and that more must be done to invest in these.

 

All in all, we would say that 2017 has been an incredibly positive and successful year for us here at Barnes – we are certainly looking forward to seeing what 2018 will have in store.

Black Friday: Impossible Without Logistics

As Black Friday looms and eager shoppers wait with bated breath to get their hands on the latest deals, the world of logistics is gearing up to work harder than ever. The modern American ‘tradition’ of shops tempting in savvy spenders looking for Christmas bargains with their best deals of the year for one day only has crossed the pond to Britain in the last decade, but what affect does it have on our industry?

 

For the shoppers looking to find purchases in stores on Black Friday, strategic planning is needed by managers in order to ensure that they carry the right amount of stock for the suspected demand. There could be few things worse than losing out on both a sale and customer trust by having to inform them that their desired item is out of stock after hours of queueing. So before the bustling chaos of Black Friday has even begun, logistics professionals will be working closely with retail managers months in advance to deliver the additional stock before the doors open to the public.

 

An emerging trend of recent years, to be expected in this digital age, is that more and more people are taking to the internet to buy their bargains during both Black Friday and its virtual sister Cyber Monday. With online shopping comes another added step in the supply chain. Rather than drivers delivering goods to a store’s warehouse, they must now pick up goods and deliver these directly to the end user.

 

In our previous blog, we explored the pitfalls to the realities of same day delivery, with online retail giants such as Amazon having to pull their same day service. But we must remember that, particularly in times of high demand, that even next day delivery capacity is finite. With so many customers expected to be clicking and adding to carts online, it is not within reason to expect each and every customer to be able to receive their goods the next day.

 

Retailers looking to embrace Cyber Monday must set their delivery targets realistically and handle customer expectations: it is far better to give a customer a longer delivery time slot in the first instance than promise a target which either cannot be achieved, or puts an undue level of pressure on the logistics driver.

 

Which leads us onto our next point: even without next day deliveries, the impact which Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping trends have on the professional drivers of the UK is considerable. Drivers will be expected to work hard to keep up with demand, which is where stringent company Health & Safety regulations and rules are most important. As logistics leaders, we at Barnes Logistics ensure that any increased workload from customers does not lead to an impossibly increased workload on our dedicated drivers – it means investing in more team members. Never do our drivers feel as though they have unattainable delivery targets, leading to illegally long hours on the road.

 

This Black Friday and Cyber Monday, never forget the importance of enlisting the help of qualified, experienced supply chain professionals – they could be the difference between success or failure. If you’d like to find out more about how our teams can help you, get in touch today.

Back to School: How to Start a Career in Logistics

It’s September, which means millions of people, young and old, are returning to an educational establishment of some variety in order to, ultimately, better their prospects in the employment market. Here at Barnes, we pride ourselves on employing experienced transport professionals in our teams, in order to ensure a superior service for our clients – but how exactly can one go about starting a career in logistics?

 

There is no one route into the logistics industry given the incredible variety in roles – leading to a diverse workplace filled with workers from a range of backgrounds.

 

For those who know that the supply chain industry is their goal, there are a huge range of higher education courses available – Coventry, Edge Hill and Liverpool John Moores are just a handful of Universities who offer degrees such in supply chain and transport management at both Bachelors and Masters levels.

 

Of course, it is certainly not uncommon that those at the age of 17 are unsure of which sector they wish to spend their post-graduate lives; so, logistics and supply chain courses are not the only path into a career. Those who have degrees based in law, business and management, IT, design or engineering will find a career in the logistics industry where their skills can flourish. From HR to fuel efficiency testing, working in an industry with high levels of professional standards and the strive for continual improvement will provide graduates with a challenging yet satisfying career.

 

Particularly in the last few years as fees have been hiked exponentially and interest rates on student debts seem to see no stability, going to University is not always a plausible, or even possible, route for young people to take. This is where the benefits of apprenticeships cannot be applauded loudly enough: providing the opportunity to gain relevant industry experience and training without the pressure of fee debts.

 

Early next year, the Supply Chain Academy is due to launch an integrated degree-apprenticeship, where students will be employed throughout their training, and will spend a fifth of their time on academic study. This is an incredibly exciting scheme that will allow apprentices to benefit from a fully professionalised course, leading to the younger generation entering the industry to bring far more skills than ever before.

 

Of course, we cannot discuss careers in the logistics industry without mentioning the most vital players in the supply chain: our drivers. To become a professional driver, one must be over 18 and hold a full car driving license in order to complete their Driver CPC – the Certificate of Professional Competence – on a provisional lorry license. Just as in a car driving test, the Driver CPC involves theoretical and practical tests; which incorporate hazard perception and the analysis of case studies.

 

Potential new drivers must then complete the practical test: lasting an hour and a half, drivers must answer questions on vehicle safety and complete both on and off-road driving. Finally, upon successfully passing the practical driving test one must complete a practical demonstration test, where one shows the ability to safely assess and load a HGV, their ability to deal with emergency situations and how to stop the trafficking of illegal immigrants – a subject much talked about in the news recently, as hauliers have seen a 12% increase in fines due to illegal migrants in their vehicles.

 

If a career in the diverse, exciting and demanding world of logistics is one which you might be considering, get in touch with our Barnes team today.

Barnes Logistics Scoops Another Award

We are delighted to announce that we have been awarded the prestigious title of Industry Insight Monthly’s ‘Best Logistics & Warehouse Company – UK’ in the Transport and Logistics Awards 2017. After thorough research from their team of expert judges, Barnes Logistics came out on top as the best business which goes out of its way to deliver first class service.

 

The wealth and depth of Barnes Logistics’ knowledge, expertise and experience were key in securing the win, as well as our investment in new state of the art warehousing facilities. Our commitment to keeping updated with the latest technologies to ensure the safety of all road users, and our friendly, open and supportive working environment were also highlighted as key factors.

 

Chris Barnes, MD of Barnes Logistics, comments: “We’re incredibly proud of the quality of services which we can offer our customers, so to be recognised by industry leaders is marvellous! It’s great to also be able to share our successes with the whole team, we wouldn’t have been able to win without the top efforts of each and every Barnes team member.”

 

You can read all about why Industry Insights Monthly felt we deserved our accolade in their article on the company below:

Transport & Logistics 2017 - Winners

 

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Show Your Truck Some Love

February: the month of love. But put down those flowers and chocolates because here at Barnes we think it’s time to show your truck some love! Not only will taking some time out of your day to ensure your truck’s at its best help with driving efficiency, but it will also hugely increase safety for yourself and other road users.

 

Firstly, always ensure that you have time for a walk around inspection of the vehicle – the best time to do this is just before it’s about to be driven; and is even more important when the vehicle hasn’t been driven for some time. If anything looks out of place, do not take any risks and report it.

 

Brakes are one of the most important safety measures, so check their efficiency with a brake test. Your vehicle should be loaded to ensure that a higher brake force before wheel lock can be tested (you should aim to apply at least 65% of the design axle weight on each axle), and brakes can be tested on a clean and well-gritted roller-brake tester (or RBT). The number of wheels which lock will differ from vehicle to vehicle – but remember that a locked wheel does not always mean a good brake.

 

Refresh your truck and give it an oil change – but might it be time to look at a new oil? There are so many choices out there from the commonly used E7, but consider switching to an oil which can be more fuel efficient such as E4 as E6. Even though many manufacturers have specific oil types, E6 oils meet many E4 and E7 requirements. Whichever oil you choose to use, why not take the time to check and top up or replace your oil to revitalise your HGV.

 

Finally, when was the last time you had a look at your headlights? The days may be getting very marginally brighter, but headlights are still a necessity not only for night time driving but also for driving in adverse weather conditions. But remember, when replacing a headlamp one of the most important factors is aim. Since April 2015, the Government changed that way headlamp aim is measured on MOT tests, aimed at making them more simple to understand and pass.

We hope that these top Barnes tips will persuade you to take just a little time out of your day to show your truck some love this February, and will help make your driving safer and more efficient.

 

What Might 2017 Look Like For Logistics?

It’s the beginning of a brand new year, and we’re starting to wonder what 2017 might bring. Although it’s impossible to predict what might happen in the future, we can always wonder about what 2017 might look like in the world of logistics.

 

The advancement of technology is something we have pondered upon before in previous blogs. Telematics have become a near-essential in the driving world to improve the safety of drivers and their freight, as well as increasing efficiency and customer trust. With 90% of the fleet industry using telematics, how will this increased use affect the advancement of the technology itself? Will further investment be made to make telematics even more accurate for both drivers and customers?

 

Another modern technology which surfaced in the logistics industry was the use of drones for deliveries. The delivery arrived after 13 minutes, but will this mean that the robots will take over? There are certain drawbacks – these drones can usually only carry less than 3kg of goods, and safety issues in airways have been reported by UK airports. Will this technology be developed to produce safer drones capable of more efficient loads?

 

Last year’s trend for ditching the department stores for online shopping isn’t looking to slow down. After an unprecedented rise, particularly during national sales days such as Black Friday, increased online shopping puts the pressure on warehousing and haulage to perform in more demanding conditions than ever. Armed with the knowledge of previous years, will the logistics industry be able to cope with next year’s rushes?

 

We are certainly hoping that after the new law bringing tougher penalties, that we will see a decrease in the number of road users using mobile phones. With the Government now enforcing six points on drivers’ licenses and a doubled fine of £200 for those caught, we hope that we will see less people tempted to reach for their phone – especially those who are ‘just checking a text.’ Hopefully drivers across the country will think twice, and countless lives will be saved from mobile phone road accidents.

 

Although, of course, we can’t say for sure what the future will, we can’t help but wonder about 2017. We hope that this upcoming year at Barnes Logistics will be just as successful as the last (which you can read about here), and that yours will be too!

WOMEN IN LOGISTICS

Despite the fact that there has been an incredible rise of women in the business world, the logistic sector is one of the sectors that remains male dominated.  Only one to two percent of the workforce in the world’s logistics sectors are women, although 125 million people work in this industry.

Although this statistic is less dramatic in the UK, it still remains that less than a quarter of the 1.5million within the logistics industry are female, according to the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES).

As we all know, the logistics sector plays a crucial role in the world economy. The improvements in the logistics sector, as far as increasing the women workforce, is therefore an important component in the ongoing improvements.

In recent years, some major studies have demonstrated that having more female leaders including board members, managers and supervisors leads to better business outcomes.  Examples of this include higher levels of productivity, safety and improved financial returns, as referenced in the 2009 Women in Supply Chain report.

This insight was supported by the PWC Transportation report, which stated that companies with the most women board directors outperformed those with the least by 16% in return on sales, and by 26% in return on invested capital. These studies make a compelling business case for gender diversity and inclusion.

So if there are such strong evidence that women improve performance, why are we struggling to bring women into the logistics industry and what can be done to help resolve this?

The transport and logistics industry is typically described as a ‘non-traditional’ employment pathway for women and suffers from poor perceptions of its career opportunities for women.  Addressing perceptions that the logistics industry is a career option for all is a real challenge as it’s hard to escape the fact that roles can involve moving and lifting.

We need to focus on the fact that logistics is applicable to every industry and business sector in the world – retail, life sciences, fashion, technology, construction, transport and so on. This means that in addition to needing drivers and warehouse operatives, there’s also a requirement for business development and customer-facing personnel.

Encouragingly, several market developments are creating viable opportunities to include women in ‘non-traditional’ roles in the local and global industry. These include advances in technology such as automatic gearboxes and hydraulic lifting equipment, the retirement of existing workers, increasing levels of education and improved technical training among new entrants in the workforce.

For more information on Women in Logistics, visit the group online (aptly named Women in Logistics!) who will be delivering performance workshops at the group’s annual conference this year.  The organisation, which aims to support the careers of women in logistics, now has more than 3,500 members, and will hold its AGM and annual conference on Friday, 25th November at Cranfield University in Bedfordshire.

For more information on how you can join Barnes Logistics, visit our website or give us a call on 0161 684 3070.

HOW TO PREPARE YOUR HGV/LGV FOR WINTER

Winter can really take its toll on all vehicles, particularly HGV’s and LGV’s. We have compiled some hints and tips on how you can keep yourself and your vehicle in check during the colder months and unpredictable weather that is surely ahead of us.

One of the most important aspects of safety when driving in winter is to check the weather forecast regularly for the entire journey and ensure you are leaving enough time to cover any potential disruption to your journey.

While you’re at it you should also be checking your planned route regularly for traffic updates and information about any accidents that may have occurred due to adverse weather conditions or collisions.

Don’t try and get ahead of the Christmas rush by skipping on vital vehicle checks before you are due to begin your journey, it’s not worth it. Check you have all of the necessary equipment with you and thoroughly check your vehicle in advance. Ensure you’ve got appropriate clothing and blankets for extremely cold and dark conditions – your well-being is the main priority here. 

Now that you’re prepped for checking your vehicle no matter the weather, it’s important that you ensure all of your windows, lights, plates and reflective markings, steps and handrails are clear of ice, snow and dirt. You should already be checking your wipers, screen wash and de-misters as part of your everyday check (you’ll also want to avoid jumping down from your cab in wintery weather as there could be an icy trap waiting for you).

Checking the weight of your load is evenly distributed is crucial at this time of year because it can affect your vehicle’s handling. Also remember to adjust your driving after delivering as when your load gets lighter, you could get blown off course with a strong side wind. When your vehicle has a heavier load you have better traction on the road, but too much weight and it will affect your vehicle handling – it’s all about balance in trying weather conditions.

In the case of bad weather conditions, hopefully gritters will will have been out to improve the main A roads but drive with extra care and attention and remember that if your route requires you to take smaller, rural roads you will need to take extra caution as gritters can not always access these locations.

You may be driving one of the biggest vehicles on the road, with lots of sophisticated equipment, but that does not make you invincible – Don’t take risks with your cargo and especially not with your safety.

By sticking to this advice you should be fit to drive in wintery weather conditions as long as you always stay focused and act with extra caution. However, if you don’t feel comfortable driving in the weather conditions, or you feel your vehicle is not prepared for the conditions, find somewhere safe to stop and rest until the conditions improve.

THE GOVERNMENT CRACKS DOWN ON DISTRACTED DRIVING

There has been a significant rise in the number of people using applications like Snapchat to record their latest rendition of Adele while driving; using Pokémon Go at a low speed in an attempt to ‘walk their eggs’ or posting status updates on Facebook, all from behind the wheel.

With a growing number of apps and distractions, It’s no wonder the Government has cracked down on the laws regarding the use of hand-held mobile phones while driving. But what changes have actually been made to the laws, how do these new laws affect HGV/LGV drivers and when are the laws in effect from?

The previous restrictions on driving while using your mobile phone including texting, making calls, taking photos/videos could have seen you get 3 penalty points on your license and fined up to £100 with the maximum fine being £1000. For those driving large goods vehicles the stakes are higher and so, the fine could be up to £2500.

So, how common is it for people in the UK to use their handheld mobile while driving? According to a recent survey carried out by the RAC, a third of drivers admit to having used their mobile while driving and 14% admitting to taking photos and videos with their phone:

 

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These statistics are worrying, and do beg the question – how many incidents have occurred due to drivers using their phone while driving?

‘In 2013 the use of a mobile at the wheel was a factor in 22 fatal accidents and this is likely to be underreporting of the true figure.’ The RAC

With this set to rise each year, it’s become apparent why the government wants to clamp down on this particular law, especially when there are so many applications and devices to distract drivers.

The new penalties for using your phone while driving will include receiving a minimum of six points on your licence and a hefty £200 fine. Twice as many points and twice the charge as the current penalties for offending.

A higher fine up to £1,000 and a six-month driving ban could apply to more experienced or professional drivers including those operating HGV/LGV’s.

The Department of Transport has said the new laws are set to come into effect in the first half of 2017.

What are your thoughts on the new penalties? Do you think they are fair, too severe or not strict enough? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!