Dart Group PLC News

Staying Compliant: Fowler Welch’s Top Tips

26th January 2011

Minor lapses in workplace discipline can have potentially disastrous consequences for fresh and chilled food distribution operators. Without proper cleaning of refrigerated containers, cross-contamination of food could result from the spread of bacteria. Furthermore, if these containers are not regularly maintained, consignments could be ruined by unplanned changes in temperature.

Therefore, standards need rigorous policing, and Fowler Welch show little is left to chance when it comes to ensuring internal procedures work effectively. As well as regular spot checks by the management team, outside organisations are brought in to monitor performance.

Membership of the British Retail Consortium's global standard for storage and distribution certification scheme involves formal inspections every 18 months. These cover areas such as driver instruction, servicing intervals for containers and hygiene levels across the business. Inspections by Freight Transport Association (FTA)engineers are done once a month and involve random checks on vehicles and record keeping.

Paul Allera, national fleet manager, says the feedback allows for preventive measures against potential penalties that would have been imposed if detected by VOSA. "It also helps with on-going development of drivers and is a good way to benchmark ourselves each time a site is inspected," he adds.

Allera conducts his own random vehicle inspections and compliance audits when he visits each site:

"I'm basically mirroring what the VOSA inspector and the FTA engineer do. That means insisting on documentary evidence to show vehicles have been serviced on time. Good compliance is all about being pro-active at every level of the business."

For him, having a clean record provides a way of becoming the haulier of choice for leading retailers.

"They want to work with hauliers that they see as an extension of their own fleet. Therefore, we like to make sure we care about what we're doing, that we're pro-active about things like sustainability, future planning and compliance," he explains.

Top tips:

  • Ensure a constant flow of relevant information throughout the operation.
  • Treat employees as a valuable asset by training and developing them.
  • Use trade associations' expertise to keep abreast of legislative changes.
  • Share best practice with other people in the industry.
  • Establish stringent maintenance schedules and stick to them.

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January 26, 2011 at 00:00

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