The National : THE NATIONAL Issue 2 2009
I notice more and more instances of peoples’ private lives interfering in the workplace. Schools do not take responsibility for a sick child like they used to, and the place of employment is called to engage the parent in conversation for direction. In most cases now the parent has to leave to attend the child. I still can’t get over the audacity of people to give the work number to be called as it does not only interfere with the worker but also other employees and management who answer the call initially and then, the re-organising of the production unit. You as an employer have every right to ask that mobile phones do not go into the workplace. You deserve the utmost attention from your employee during the work time that you pay for. In the delivery vehicle there are several issues that are of concern to us all. I believe you have to give an employee, a driver in this instance, every tool available for them to do their job safely and reduce fatigue where you can. This may be a mobile phone that has hands free or bluetooth capability, cruise control, air conditioning or many other creature comforts that reduce the fatigue factor. The distance travelled from the plant would assist in the decision of which attachments aid the job. Does your driver pull up to take a phone call on his private mobile or worse still, uses the phone without hands free? How much personal work is carried out on the personal phone? How long and how often does this happen? All productivity issues! The other day I heard of the suggestion that a worker receiving after hours phone calls wanting overtime paid because someone rang him. Put it is time to put the boot on the other foot. Maybe we as employers should ask for extra time back for the personal calls made in paid work time, maybe on the company phone? (All just maybe!) Ah! Technology, is it an asset or a hindrance for a company to get the job done? How can we detect appropriate use of time for our people on the road? Let me tell you of a situation that I have had to address in recent times. When one of our drivers took sick leave, either one of my sons or myself had to cover the delivery route. I found that our driver had a good rapport with most customers who sang his praises. (We found that he was doing tasks for housekeepers that were not his concern, like carrying linen upstairs). We didn’t get too many complaints over the phone, either. An ideal situation with lots of happy customers. However: we were able to be back at the plant some 90 to 120 minutes earlier every day than the driver, who had been doing the route for 3 years. There was certainly something here that was not right. What do we do? To tail someone takes a lot of time and effort without being spotted so we had to rely on technology. We purchased a GPS tracking device over the internet which came with the software to plot on Google Earth on the PC. Well, what a find! We placed the unit in a hidden place in the vehicle and down loaded the information every afternoon when the driver had knocked off. It took a little bit of work to record information of where he had gone and how long he had stayed at a point, but it was worth it. We gathered information for 6 weeks and ensured that it was well documented. In the meantime I talked to EMA for advice on how to handle this situation and they were very helpful. I also took the opportunity to talk to the Police as indications were that where and how this person was stopping was of interest. It looked as though the stops were possibly drug related. The Police actually investigated and tailed him for a run. Information coming back to me was not much as the police are great information gatherers and they told me it was a one-way street, which would protect any evidence that they collected. This raised questions regarding the criminal activity with our vehicle. Could it be impounded as evidence? If so, what would we do without a vehicle? What did we find? We were right in our summation that the time taken was too long for the routes. We discovered that 20% of the time the driver was on the road was for his own benefit. He was visiting mates, shopping, visiting his wife at work, deliver- ing stuff to his home and homes of others, and the list goes on. The most outstanding unscheduled stop was a 15 kilometres round trip from the authorised route along with anything up to 50 min- 46 THE AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL DRYCLEANER & LAUNDERER, VOLUME 59, #2 2009 As you can see, this GPS unit is smaller than pen in length.
THE NATIONAL Issue 1 2009
THE NATIONAL Issue 3 2009