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The Immigrant Lorry Crisis

When it comes to news reports involving the professional driving industry, there is a scarcity in themes. Largely, reports fall into three categories; road accidents involving HGVs, the implications that Brexit may have and the ‘illegal immigrant lorry crisis’. The immigrant crisis, as it’s labelled, is a topic which we at Barnes are yet to speak on, and it is a topic that can be difficult to discuss as there are various elements to it – but as an issue which can compromise the safety of hardworking professional drivers, it is one we feel compelled to explore.

A story of ‘illegal immigrants’ recently circulated the British tabloids; eleven people, including three children and a baby, entered the UK by lorry, only surviving their journey by eating the chocolate that the haulier was carrying. The circumstances surrounding this particular story are not uncommon; the group had boarded the lorry as it travelled from mainland Europe and then secured the vehicle in such a way that it could not be easily opened again, reducing the likelihood of them being found before reaching their desired destination. Although this narrative is a commonality, it is important to consider that not all who secretly stow themselves away are criminals, in many cases, the very act of illegal hitch-hiking appears desperate and involves a significant level of risk to it, suggesting that it is entirely possible that the people found on board were refugees or asylum seekers who simply hoped for a safer life based in the UK.

 

In such situations, regardless of the circumstances of the stowaway, it is also important for us to address how drivers can deal with such situations, as ensuring their safety is paramount. Unfortunately, many professional drivers feel let down by the existingHYPERLINK “https://www.gov.uk/guidance/secure-your-vehicle-to-help-stop-illegal-immigration” legalities; as it currently stands, legislation states that drivers must secure their lorry in a way that would prevent anyone from entering the trailer. In the event of a ‘clandestine entrant’ being found on board, drivers can face a fine of £2000 per person found on board. Even if the driver did not willingly or knowingly transport them, they face the fine as it demonstrates that their vehicle security measures have failed, and were therefore insufficient. These penalties are severe, particularly when the majority of drivers are not intentionally smuggling people across borders; in many cases, the desperation of stowaways can overcome the efforts of the driver, and there have been multiple cases reported where the driver has checked, rechecked, and even passed through specialised scanning equipment, but all have failed to detect any bodies on board. In such instances, the driver truly cannot be held accountable; if advanced technology fails to find stowaways, how could the driver be expected to? And yet many miles later, when eventually discovered, both the driver and stowaways face being detained.

 

It seems that the system of fining and detaining has fuelled anger towards immigrants who cross borders on lorries. Make no mistake, we are certainly not encouraging, agreeing with or promoting illegal immigration, but, we urge both the government and public to consider the safety of both the driver and immigrants. Our hardworking drivers should not be penalised or faced with potential penalties in these events, nor should they be locked away in a cell whilst investigations are begun.

 

As a business that operates within the logistics industry, we know that drivers are experiencing this far too commonly, and as a result, better systems are needed immediately, as they cannot continue to be subjected to the physical, emotional and financial stress that comes with the discovery of unknown passengers in their vehicle and the legalities that follow. If the circumstances are not addressed, we fear that drivers will continue down this same road for the foreseeable future, but we are hopeful that if we, and others alike, continue to raise awareness of this issue, policy makers will be encouraged to take necessary action.

 

Please share with us how you think our country can better protect our professional drivers by dropping us a tweet.

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.

Beating the Winter Blues

The decorations go up, the glasses get re-filled and the out of office goes on – there’s nothing like a festive break, is there? That is, of course, for those who work office jobs where the whole business can shut down for a week or two and get picked back up again in January. For drivers, the reality can be a little different – whether it’s delivering stock for post-Christmas sales or vital machinery parts for businesses, the world of logistics keeps turning and the roads keep calling, and drivers are often on the road when others are tucked up at home in front of the fire.

 

It is, admittedly, something which can cause drivers to experience some melancholy – which is why, following our previous discussions on mental health and summer driving attitude, we have decided to extend the conversation to a time when many people can often feel at their lowest. A study from the Samaritans in 2014 found that almost half of men felt depressed or sad around Christmas, and with logistics and driving still male-dominated industries (something that we most certainly hope will, and actively work towards, changing), it felt appropriate to look at how those who work in the professional driving sector might be able to help tackle swings of low mood in the run up, and during, the festive period.

 

The first step we would look to take would be one of practicality – countless studies have shown that eating the right foods and treating the body with the respect it deserves has a huge impact on serotonin levels, helping to battle low moods. This doesn’t mean you have to forego the classic Christmas delicacies – the high levels of zinc in walnuts can help in alleviating feelings of anxiety and depression; and sumptuous flavanol-rich dark chocolate helps to regulate mood.

 

Now, we move towards actions which help to engage others – use the time you have, whether it be on or off the road, to bring the merriment to you wherever you are. Make every moment count and ensure time off is filled with activities – drinks at the local with friends, parties hosted with family or, quite simply, sitting down with loved ones to watch a favourite film. There’s no value that can be put on restive quality time. This should not be limited to time away from work – connect with colleagues and other regular road acquaintances and organise some festive fun. Anything as small as organising a round of bacon butties will perk up spirits all round. And the best part of stepping up and leading the charge? You never know how much you might be helping others who are feeling low by reaching out and making that first move.

 

Our final piece of advice begins to move away from the functional and towards the mental – driving over the Christmas period requires a shift in approach and thinking. Embrace the season – avoiding the revelry of December is nearing the impossible, and attempting this will only leave one in misery; so play your family’s favourite festive songs in the cab and take advantage of the opportunity to reflect on one’s blessings. As we speak of reflection, it is worth noting that the increasingly popular act of Mindfulness (the practice of bringing one’s attention to the present moment) may be a useful tool to master – the quiet roads and the beauty of Britain in its wintery glory provide the perfect backdrop to take some time to contemplate and appreciate the state of now. The most important matter to focus on? The visualisation of being back home – after all, as much as we may not be overjoyed working over December, we must focus on the fact that it is all temporary, and soon we will back home in front of the warmth of the fire, with the decorations glittering and our glasses full – Merry Christmas!

A Look Back on Road Safety Week

Last week was one of the biggest events in the transport calendar: Road Safety Week. Having commenced on the 20th November, the week, ran by the charity Brake, focused on highlighting the dire need to tackle the serious issue of speeding. Despite an increase in the associated fines and the shockingly high statistics surrounding fatal speed-related accidents, many road users persist in breaking the law, but Brake have pinpointed a simple fact in their vital slogan: Speed Down, Save Lives. Reducing the speed at which a vehicle is operating can often make the difference between life and death in the event of a road traffic accident.

Throughout the week, the organisation centred their efforts around emphasising the dangers of speeding on rural roads and built up areas where pedestrians and cyclists are more likely to be at risk. The initiative, which was promoted within schools, organisations and communities, cannot be echoed enough, so here at Barnes, we are seizing the opportunity to push the message out to our fellow road users and members of the freight and transport industry. In this latest discussion we shall consider the importance of speed limits, how speeding affects our roads and how we can all, as responsible road users, resolve the ever-prevalent problem of speeding together.

Speed limits, contrary to what some believe, are here to make our roads safer for everyone. They are proposed based on a number of factors (risk, danger and environment) and account for elements such as housing, schools and road layout. In April, the Government raised speeding fines in a bid to deter drivers from the temptation of breaking the law. Offenders can now expect a minimum of 3 points on their license (for minor offences – the number of points issued correlates to the severity of the speeding offence) and a fine of around 50% of their weekly income, although this can be increased to 150%. These penalties are larger still for new drivers. But, even with such severe consequences for drivers, why is speeding still a major issue?

There are risks associated with all road vehicles; this is to be expected. Newer vehicles, for example, can accelerate more quickly than aged vehicles, whilst older cars are somewhat less reliable. However, driving behaviour is a large associating factor when it comes to speeding. Speeding is choice that drivers make, a selfish one at that. The statistics gathered by Break speak for themselves, speeding is undeniably dangerous:

  • Breaking the speed limit or travelling too fast for conditions is recorded by police at crash scenes as a contributory factor in one in four (23%) fatal crashes in Great Britain.
  • Drivers with one speeding violation annually are twice as likely to crash as those with none.
  • A recent Brake survey found that four in 10 (40%) UK drivers admitted they sometimes drive at 30mph in 20mph zones.

So how can this problem be overcome? Largely it comes with awareness. The saying ‘ignorance is bliss’ can be called upon here – often those who speed are ignorant to the potential dangers have been fortunate enough to not suffer the consequences – yet. Campaigners adopt a variety of awareness methods, from visual scare tactics to demonstrate the extreme realities of speeding accidents, to cognitive approaches that rather than using horrific aesthetics promote a ‘look twice’ method, where the audience have to re-watch the ad to see the underlying message – THINK!’s latest ‘Pink Kitten’ campaign is a fantastic example of this. Brake’s Road Safety Week is a credit to the UK’s highways in the work it conducts to overcome the problem. From social media campaigns to donations, action packs, virtual games and merchandise, the charity exerts every effort possible into truly making a difference, both during the marked week and throughout the rest of the year. Here at Barnes, we believe that they make a significant difference.

As a company who have over 100 drivers on the road each day, safety is absolutely paramount, to both our drivers and other road users. We will continue to promote the road values we hold and encourage all drivers to put safety first in the hope that we can make our roads a safer place. With hard work and determination, we are confident that speeding and the consequences it stimulates can become an issue of the past.

Rochdale Business Awards Success

Earlier this year, we entered Barnes Logistics into the annual Rochdale Business Awards after our first successful year at our new headquarters.

 

Established in 2011 to celebrate the achievements of businesses and business people within Rochdale Borough, we entered the ‘Business of the Year’ category, for businesses with a turnover of more than £5 million.

Rochdale Awards 5

The judging panel were looking to see how a business had performed over the past year in terms of turnover, team expansions and growth opportunities. In the past year we are proud of our incredible business expansion – increasing our fleet and team lead to needing to move to larger headquarters; and later in the year we grew the business even further by acquiring the haulage company GA Newsome. This business growth meant that we could create further jobs in Rochdale, and the opportunity to bring our top quality professional logistics services to even more time critical businesses.

 

We also outlined the highest standards to which each and every Barnes employee is trained – every driver is CPC qualified and then internally assessed, and graduates are closely mentored to develop to supervisory and managerial positions.

 

Finally, the judges were looking to see what businesses did to give back to their community – and we are proud of our commitment to supporting Springhill Hospice this year. Not only this, but our MD Chris Barnes also sponsors a number of sporting institutions across the North West.

 

The event was held at the magnificent Rochdale Town Hall, where our team met and mingled with other like-minded business professional in the glitz and glamour of a black-tie event. We were delighted to be announced as winners for the Business of the Year, in the highest turnover category. After the awards ceremony, we continued to the after party for a well-deserved celebratory drink!

If you’d like to know more about how our award-winning company could help your business for all of your logistics needs, don’t hesitate to contact our team today.

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.

Same Day Delivery – Is It Sustainable?

Gone are the days of ‘standard – three to five days’ being a sufficient delivery window. In this present day, there are a vast range of delivery options available: time specific, next day, premium, and, the subject of this blog: same day. As a company who works exceptionally hard to fulfil all our client requests with ‘Just in Time’ delivery, we have to question, is a same-day delivery option truly feasible?

There are a number of factors which must be considered – and perhaps these are easier to consider for those who work in the industry and are directly impacted by the effects of same-day delivery. From cost-effectiveness to efficiency, as industry professionals we propose this thought: is it logistically possible to offer a same-day service for a sustained period of time?

One can understand why business leaders, particular for consumer products, might be tempted to trial same day delivery: last year, Ecommerce News found that 72% of UK consumers would shop more if the retailer offered same-day delivery, and that sales could be €5.77bn higher with more delivery options. For those customers placing the order, there is a period of excitement as one waits until the product arrives. But beyond the screen of the online retailer, the logistics sector which drives these industries does not experience the same emotions. The process of same-day delivery is one of pressure, and boxes need to be ticked.

Major international companies like Google, Amazon and Uber have all adopted a ‘same-day’ delivery option, but often, if viewed from a smaller scale perspective, this is not a realistic target for national and local firms. Not all have found it to be a success, however – retail giants eBay have struggled to retain this service; terminating it shortly after it began due to its high costs not matching demand. In addition, with the driver shortage in the freight and logistics industry still a highly prevalent issue, the option of same-day delivery seems far from possible – how can sustained same day delivery be achieved when there are not yet enough drivers on the roads to cope with the current demand from consumers?

Another important consideration to take into account is whether quality control may slip. With time pressures becoming the main focus of warehouse workers, it is not difficult to imagine that mistakes might happen when only a tiny window of time is given for employees to suddenly process orders.

Largely, a concern at the forefront of our minds is the likelihood of every logistical company being able to cope with such a demand. At Barnes Logistics, we are proud to have a fleet with over 100 drivers on the road each day who help us meet order delivery requests; however, we, in our expert opinion, find a ‘Just In Time’ approach to be far more sustainable – a concept you can find out more about in detail in our previous blog. In sum, ‘Just In Time’ works for orders to be moved to specific locations only at the required times, reducing flow times and the amount of inventory to tackle waste and save money. This, combined with our experience and expertise, has proven invaluable to a number of industries.

Perhaps it is time for consumer retailers to take a step back and place efficiency and practicality over increasing their customers’ expectations – particularly given the state of the drivers’ shortage in the UK. Surely managing customer expectations will lead to higher levels of brand loyalty than promising a service which may not be tenable? A slick, well-regulated ‘Just In Time’ system implemented by trained professionals seems a far more economic and skilful logistics scheme to adopt, and one which would offer customers a happy medium in terms of product demand.

If you’d like to know more about the benefits of ‘Just In Time’ and how it can help your business, get in touch with our friendly team 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.

Intelligent Design – An Evolution For The Environment

The following paragraphs almost read quite differently to how they currently do, with writes, re-writes, and much editing down in an attempt to try and get over a point which is of much concern to us and, we hope, the broader public. It was few thousand words which, at times and rather uncomfortably, teetered on the edge of that chasm of apocalypse which characterizes the, understandably impassioned but often irrational, debate regarding pollution and the environment which it, without any doubt, is doing great damage to. Then an announcement was made by the Department of Transport, and it changed, entirely, the tone in which this latest blog speaks, with negativity giving way to positivity.

The announcement stated that the UK government intends to bring to an end the sale of new diesel and petrol-powered cars by the year 2040. That is, at present, only ‘the sale’, and specifically ‘new cars’, and comes as the latest in a line of announcements by other governments and of car manufacturers, indicating some strong momentum away from internal combustion. At a first cynical glance, from a UK perspective, this means that the used fossil-fuel car market will take a good decade-or-so to wind down, and there may suddenly be a mushrooming of sales of small vans as people attempt to take advantage of such loopholes. So it is, realistically, quite a long time down the road, and much can happen before then. I mean, to lend the timeline some perspective, a young couple who may have just invested in a smart new car, could, if purchase and re-purchase trends hold, be on their fourth or fifth new car some twenty-three years from now, and on their way to a maternity unit to welcome their latest grandchild into the world.

How does this affect the operations of Barnes Logistics? On the face of it, not a great deal. However, it isn’t some irrational display of clairvoyance to predict that heavy goods vehicles will one day benefit from a massive propulsion re-design, and it got us thinking as to what will our fleet of lorries will look like in the year 2040. It’s just that we’re not planning on going anywhere but forward, up to and beyond that date with destiny for cars, in the future.

Nobody could really say operating a modern fleet of trucks is fun recreation – it’s costly, a headache of regulations, and they are rather attention-seeking when it comes to the strict maintenance regime we observe. A fleet consumes thousands of litres of fuel per day, and operations are replete with any number of factors which can impede or halt progress. However, they are quite an essential tool in industry, supporting people and growth and contributing to prosperity for all. Aye, there’s the rub, and as things stand, it is a real question of ‘To be or not to be?’ if one wishes to retain a presence in the road transport industry. For the present and for the movement on the roads of the size of loads our trucks and those of other operators carry, diesel trucks are the only cost-effective show in town. For the future, however, we at Barnes hasten the advent of economically and environmentally efficient hybrid commercial vehicles. The technology is there, and has been for many, many years. From the once familiar sight of an electric milk-float, right up to some of the largest quarrying trucks, moving 350+ tonnes per-load. It is a question of range and efficiency with regards application, but it will come, and we welcome it.

I think one of the dilemmas for the majority must be that we have, in rather a short space of time, become very conditioned to the internal combustion engine as the pinnacle of transport engineering, and the idea of not having it or of having the choice of ownership taken away is considered a violation against the personal. Yes…it is a marvellous piece of engineering, in its time, in the same way a valve television once was. Like such televisions, the engine as we know it may well, one day, occupy a place in a museum of historical curiosities. I relish the idea of our successors looking upon such an exhibit with amusement, as a token of a time when things were less sophisticated and less advanced; and, like more enlightened thinking about now outdated and less efficient forms of transport of goods and people saw an end to certain other fuel sources’ use, so it will with regards to current modes. To give the understandable environmental concerns all the credit for re-design is to miss a point, as the perpetual enquiry inherent in technological research was always going to render much of what we know and currently use to be obsolete, given a long enough timeline.

Another bit of misdirection which the eventual eradication of diesel and petrol engines lends itself to is a kind of panic thought that we will not recognize the few vehicles we perceive will remain, when oil-burners have gone. Except, just as evolution of an organic species is a slow and long game, the technological evolution of manufactured goods is a rapid one which implements re-design to a consumer block so accustomed to upgrading with every tenth breath, with the majority of re-design being solely in function, and only a slight margin given to appearance. This is intentional, as whilst we demand improved function and application, our eyes are an early warning system, and if something looks too suddenly alien or a threat to what we understand, we’re less likely to readily engage. In the manufacture of vehicles, this has put far more not instantly recognizable hybrid cars on the road in the last decade-or-so than we would believe, and our obsession with the known aesthetic is why these cars of the future have few of the very acute angles and long sweeping arcs which our naive imagination had us drawing as children. Yes…a mid 20th century vehicle looks markedly different to a new vehicle on a forecourt, today. But, given that the engined car is, only about 130 years old, it’s a cosmetic evolution as comparatively slow as us creeping from the primordial swamp, to where we are now.

However the inevitable socio-economic evolution alters truck design, the Barnes Logistics of the future will embrace such changes, as we’re sufficiently pragmatic to understand that all evolutions have one steering principle…efficiency. Like anything evolved, the internal combustion engine is going, and it was on its way out as soon as it was formed, as there are certain engineering design compromises which lend it a certain efficiency, but nowhere near the potential of yet to be exploited sources of energy. As a company, we equally demand new efficiencies, and embrace all mechanisms which encourage such. We just eagerly await technological advances in truck design, as newer and more sustainably efficient trucks will be good…the four charging horses of Barnes Logistics on their bodywork will be better.

Summer Driving – It’s All About Attitude

We’re marching on through July, and we here at Barnes Logistics have been considering the challenges which annually face our transport side as the summer holidays and the heat of the season takes over, in earnest.

One of the issues, if one can call it such, is that the majority of our core clients and their industries are not really in a position to pause production for a period of note, with the ‘butterfly effect’ of the supply chain demanding we, as a key link in that chain, continue in our endeavours of getting the goods to exactly where our clients want them, when they want them; and our team of transport professionals are at the sharp end of making this happen. Of course, being summer, members of our workforce are equally keen to take well-earned leave themselves; and with our transport management team co-ordinating operations to ensure staffing levels are right to keep the industry moving, it is never far from their minds just what the challenges are for our drivers out on the road; and they know it isn’t just sunshine and an unequal tan to one’s right arm. It is a time of year which presents its own peculiar problems and considerations.

Time spent at any of the hotspots on the arterial routes to the UK’s holiday destinations during summer will inform the observer that traffic volume increases immensely, with those for whom the road network is their workplace noticing the seasonal change the most. With increased volume comes increased potential for any number of variable factors to have an acute effect on the progress of the working day, the health of one’s vehicle, and, of paramount importance, the health of one’s self. The potential for accidents to cause misery and delays, and for this to be compounded by a repetition, under stress and frustration, can not be understated. However, if we all pause to dedicate a few moments to consider how we are all simply trying to get somewhere, and how a little preparation of both the vehicle and the self can fundamentally improve progress for all, and there’s a strong possibility we won’t yield to the popular thought that the roads are a hellish cauldron of aggression inside a particularly unpleasant war-zone.

To present a tick-list of checks to one’s vehicle for summer driving wouldn’t actually read much different than likewise for winter. It’s tyres, oil, coolant, screen-wash, lights, bodywork, load etc. Professionals like Barnes drivers know this, and it is one of their first actions at the start of every working day. Hot weather is no bar to the unforeseen happening, and it does make a different set of demands on vehicle and performance; but personal responsibility and vehicle husbandry is the most effective mechanism for minimizing its effect.

Preparing the personal for the added stresses of operating on a vastly more populated road network is a strategy very much aided by attitude. You see, nobody really embarks on a journey with the intention to obstruct or delay others; but it’s easy to fall into the trap of believing so, if one’s own journey is hampered. It needn’t be so, and it is far better to be a part of the solution, as opposed to the problem. So if we consider that every road-user has equal merit and an equal desire to safely reach their destination, and that our journeys are actually no more or less important than those of others, we can possibly share a better level of understanding and co-operation. It’s a common-sense constituent part of professionalism, remaining calm and focussed when much around appears to be combining and conspiring to scupper one’s ship of progress. Equally professional is knowing when a short break can be the tonic to refresh and re-boot the self and one’s calmer approach. Five minutes sat on the other side of the cab, wrapping one’s self around some of the contents of one’s flask, can only have a positive effect.

Progress, productivity, and a better sense of accomplishment can only increase as a result of a re-think of approach, leaving us all to enjoy a glorious summer in a less stressful and far safer environment.