Veolia Environment Services
Veolia Environmental Services are involved in the transport of waste across South Australia / Northern Territory. The workforce is made up predominantly of Heavy Vehicle Operators, 83% of all employees. Being Veolia's key representatives to clients and the public, it was considered essential to emphasise their job importance, by providing training greater than a Heavy Vehicle License.
The training and skills development program was introduced in response to two identified areas of concern - productivity in waste collection operations, and safety relating to vehicle incidents. The training program, developed in consultation with a local RTO, initially included both Certificate II in Driving Operations (Medium Freight) and Certificate III in Driving Operations (Heavy General Freight). It was important for Veolia to have a third party delivering the training to help confirm the essential requirements of drivers.
The Certificates in Driving Operations were selected on the basis of providing holistic training for drivers to complete their work safely and with focus on customer satisfaction and not just around the technical operation of the heavy vehicle and related skills.
The implementation of the training program had its particular challenges. The scale of the implementation saw the program started for 163 drivers across South Australia, at 7 regional locations and all Adelaide based sites. The training program implementation was conducted in 3 different stages: Information Sharing, Training Contract Sign-ups and Training Commencement.
The greatest challenge in implementation was directly due to the remoteness of sites that required both sign up and delivery of the training. This challenge was overcome by the close working relationship of Veolia and the training providers working together with a common purpose.
The second challenge was acceptance by drivers who had been in the industry for some time, as to the purpose and benefit of completing a Certificate II or Certificate III. This challenge was overcome in most areas by the implementation process of the program. The initial information delivered to all drivers was done via pay slips, so that all drivers had the opportunity to read and understand why this program was being introduced. The emphasis on safety and updating knowledge/skill was highlighted to all employees so that it was clear it was not a reflection on anyone's particular driving performance. The remaining doubts and apprehension was removed by completing the staged roll-out of training. The training impact on the first participants and their positive promotion of the training they received helped create the environment where all employees were not just willing but enthusiastic about receiving the training. Veolia reported that the trainers experience in the Transport Industry as well as practical knowledge ensured that all the drivers responded and accepted the training.
Veolia found the following benefits against measured criteria of the training program:
Motor vehicle accident numbers
The positive impact Veolia's driving training program on Motor Vehicle accidents and property damage caused by Motor Vehicles has been significant. The total vehicle related incidents has been reduced by 50%. Veolia reported that their drivers had responded to the training both in skill set and in attitude, taking more care in the conducting of their tasks. The company further reported the skills improvement on ways to judge access and egress of client sites had contributed to this improvement. The direct cost savings of Veolia's training program can be calculated in the order of approximately $70,000.
Customer service complaints With the inclusion of customer focused elements in the training, Veolia has seen an improvement in customer service complaints. While not as substantial improvement as the motor vehicle incidents there has been a slight improvement of approximately 5% on the previous year, of complaints received due to dispute of service.
Cost of conducting business & Productivity in waste collection The last two criteria have shown improvement in conjunction with each other. As part of the improvements in Veolia's Waste Collection services, Veolia has arranged services and times in a way that assists in reduction in cost. These changes due to legal and customer requirements as well as strategic business decisions to increase equipment utilisation have placed services in more adverse traffic conditions. The changes in times of new services would on its own normally reduce productivity in waste collection, due to contending with extra and sometimes peak traffic, change in accessibility to customer sites etc. With the positive impact of the Driver Training via the Certificate III Veolia has maintained its productivity levels despite the other potentially adverse impacts in the business. Veolia reports their drivers have been able to maintain the same rates of collection and navigate the changed traffic conditions to achieve the same customer satisfaction.
The training program implementation has driven other improvements in Veolia's processes, particularly in the area of recruitment. Veolia's recruitment and on-boarding process has been streamlined with the introduction of the training program. New starters are now enrolled into the driver training program during their probationary period. This means that all Veolia drivers will be skilled in all areas of operating heavy vehicles and in achieving customer satisfaction, providing benefits to the company into the future.