When a global pharmaceutical giant decided to up its fleet safety game on a worldwide scale, it didn’t have to recreate the wheel. Its 6,000-vehicle U.S. fleet has ranked in the top quartile of the Pharmaceutical Safety Group’s (PSG) industry performance benchmarking for the past five years. But it was locked in the fourth quartile when it came to global fleet safety performance, and had been for years. The goal: to achieve that same driver safety benchmark performance achieved in the U.S. everywhere else.
With a rich history of safety across all aspects of the business, and a 20+ year old Global Fleet Safety program, this company’s driver safety mission is straightforward: returning its drivers to their loved ones and communities after every journey. That’s a tall order for a worldwide fleet spanning 75 countries, more than 12 languages, 24,000+ drivers (of both passenger vehicles and motorbikes) and multiple fleet management and leasing companies.
As the model for a unified global approach, the North American fleet safety performance included all the elements of a world-class program:
• Senior management leadership and line management participation and accountability
• Driver selection; driver risk identification and driver risk management
• Accident recordkeeping, reporting and analysis
• Driver training, communication, motivation and recognition
• Vehicle specification, inspection and maintenance
• Routine program evaluation and self-assessment
The first step to recreating the global program was to look at all of the company’s driver safety programs around the world from a process performance perspective. What was working and what wasn’tg? This approach enabled the capture and study of all deviations, –encompassing lagging and leading metrics, to define and implement forward actions. Lagging and leading metrics were key to compiling those critical and often unrecorded “near-miss” events that form the base of the iceberg that eventually sinks the ship (and sideswipes the pharmaceutical fleet vehicle). This level of structured data can spotlight key “hot spots” in addition to identifying other areas needing improvement.
Meaningful data interpretation starts with a universally understood and accepted definition of what is being reported. For example,in the U.S. this fleet, defines moving collisions to exclude striking an animal or road debris. Applying that definition in every country enabled consistent data reporting from every part of the world.
As the data-gathering process unfolded, the need for systemic improvement became clear. Globally, the driver safety program was broken. Key issues were identified:
• Not achieving sustainable performance improvement
• Ineffective driver risk profile
• Lack of driver authorization documentation
• Lack of consistent driver remediation
• Lack of consistent consequence management
The next step was putting the right elements in place for improvement.
Current State: Driver Risk Profile
Developing an improved driver risk profile was vital. Driver fines, violations and tickets are the “near misses” of a collision and subsequent injury or worse. In some counties and jurisdictions, there can be a significant time lapse between the time a driver is issued a ticket and the time it is logged and reported. In other jurisdictions, traffic tickets simply aren’t logged by the issuing police or traffic enforcement agency.
The fleet implemented a new driver risk assessment structure that incorporates self-reporting within 24 hours of receipt of a violation. The Global Fleet Safety Program now requires fleet awareness of all driving events (citations, fines, violations, collisions, and damages, for example) as a condition of employment and assigns a point value for each. It also lowered the cumulative point entry into risk levels 1, 2 and 3 as part of a newly enhanced risk point structure. The result is anew, zero-tolerance approach to lapses in data, and driver risk assessment that is more consistent and accurate.
Current State: Driver Authorization
Every driver now undergoes a license check and risk review based on his or her history of collisions and traffic violations. driver training must be completed to gain vehicle access, all previous training a driver has completed is entered in his or her fleet record, and all new assignments are monitored at the fleet level. Authorization is required for family members to use the fleet vehicles, concurrent with all pertinent local regulations. All potential drivers are screened for outstanding convictions and other serious events and must meet all country-specific regulations, including medical qualifications/restrictions.
Current State: Driver Remediation/Consequence Management
As part of the new process every driver is granted a one-time clean slate. Historical events are discarded, with the exception of severe events. Going forward, as event data comes in from fleet vendors, self-reporting and all other sources, points are assigned and timely remediation is provided. The consequences are now consistent for the various risk levels. If someone is a risk level two, they know what to do. There are no changes and no gaps in the tools provided. Remedial tools are consistently and systemically fully deployed across the global organization. Driver interventions are tailored for each risk level.
A process of continuous monitoring and improvement has been established. Aggregate data (collisions and violations) is collected and reviewed at a leadership level. Drivers review this same data along with leadership feedback. Regular and frequent communication is key. “Keeping the noise level up” is essential to achieving global fleet safety goals, and the “noise level” has to be consistent.
There are appointed Global Fleet Safety “champions” in every country. Usually, upper management has responsibility for driver participation and compliance in these recognition programs.
Process Model for Global Fleet Safety Optimization
• Set objectives and planned outcomes for both driver and business
• Appoint program champions
• Identify baseline data and define the monitoring process with fleet drivers and external partners/suppliers
• Custom design driver interventions tailored to specific risk levels
• Establish a systemic process for continuous monitoring and improvement
• Establish routine and systemic communications across all organizational levels
• Design and implement a consistent employee development plan for driver risk index assessments across the organization
The Envelope Please: Real and Anticipated Results
The program was designed with a singular goal: to increase driver risk management participation at all levels. Already, drivers are responding positively to the newly implemented risk management training and process management procedures. A clear signal is being sent, and drivers are receiving the message.
Self-reporting is the rule, not the exception. Driver risk profile parameters have been clearly defined and communicated to the global fleet. Consistent and timely remediation is enforced. Driver interventions are tailored to actual risk. Driving events – and their consequences – have been universally defined and communicated on a global scale.
With the infrastructure in place for a uniform global fleet safety program in place, fleet management believes it’s only a matter of time before the international metrics begin to catch up to the levels of success the North American fleet continues to achieve.