Driver fatigue was recently cited by Western Cape provincial traffic chief, Kenny Africa, as one of the biggest problems on South African roads. For those who make a living from being behind the steering wheel every day, the problem is even bigger.
While there are several regulations that attempt to control the number of duty hours for drivers, logistics operators struggle to balance regulation with productivity, efficiency, and driver suitability.
“The solution isn’t as simple as many might assume,” warns Gert Basson, General Manager of Mobile Solutions at VSc Solutions. “It is far more complex than just assigning a driver to a vehicle, and capping the amount of hours the driver is operating that specific vehicle.”
Combining these factors with hours of work stated in the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA), the industry regulations specified by the National Bargaining Council for the Road Freight and Logistics Industry (NBCRFLI), and the efficiencies each logistics operator must take into account to turn a profit, the optimisation of driver scheduling becomes an extremely complex task.
“Logistics operators can make use of smart applications that take physical regulatory factors into account and optimise these into schedules or routes,” explains Gert.
“A safe and effective driver schedule needs to take into account HR, finance, payroll, leave, resource planning, transport management, asset management, licensing, and driver licensing, to name a few.”
“Very simply, there are some instances where the right app can calculate the intricacies of optimised driver scheduling and route planning better than even the most experienced individual.
“In the end, driver schedule and route optimisation is not just about either turning a profit or just sticking to regulations. The impact of driver fatigue not only results in expensive downtime and repairs to vehicles, but in many cases, a tragic loss of innocent life.”
VSc Solutions,