As a Newly Qualified Transport Manager, how do I implement what I have learned?
Congratulations, you have passed your exams and gained your Transport Managers qualification in your chosen field and now, you are looking at how to apply what you have learned to real-life situations.
Holding a Transport Manager CPC qualification enables you to be a Transport Manager in your own right, and you can be the nominated person on an Operator Licence issued by the Office of The Traffic Commissioner in the UK.
YOU are the responsible individual for the success or failure of complying with the company’s legal obligations, according to the Traffic Commissioner!!
A daunting proposition, isn’t it!! – Especially if you don’t have the practical experience gained from working in the transport department of a company to give you an insight!
Where do you start?
As you will begin to realise, the information you learned for your exam when you passed the Transport Manager CPC exam was relatively simplistic and generic. In reality, there are significant differences throughout the varying nature of different transport businesses within the HGV industry, with no definitive methods and very little guidance to achieving the vital level of compliance.
While there is no restriction on the number of vehicles that can be managed by an internal transport manager, external transport managers are restricted to representing a maximum of four operators and a total fleet size across all businesses of 50 vehicles. Any operator wishing to appoint such an external manager should therefore think carefully as to whether such an individual would be compatible with its fleet size.
It is vital that a TM retains good repute because if this is lost a TC is compelled to declare the TM unfit to manage the activities of that business. Loss of good repute must also lead to disqualification from acting as a TM for any “road transport undertaking”, either indefinitely or for so long as a TC considers appropriate.
The Traffic Commissioner has set criteria on which they judge the suitability of a prospective Transport Manager to meet the “fit and proper” and “good repute” requirements.
A transport manager should be fully up to date with systems for checking driving licences and driver CPC requirements. There may be specific issues with regard to the loading of vehicles — from overloading problems to load security. Good knowledge of these areas should be considered essential so that the transport manager “hits the ground running”
Another basic undertaking on all licences is to ensure that the laws relating to drivers’ hours are observed. The transport manager needs a detailed understanding of this legislation area and specific knowledge of how it might apply to the business. For example, if the business is exempt from tachographs and relies on domestic hours legislation, then the proposed transport manager needs a good understanding of this area of law. Mixed fleets, which combine both tachographs and traditional log books, are possibly the hardest to manage and require an individual with a thorough understanding of best practice.
The role also involves maintaining vehicles in good and efficient order. To do this, the transport manager needs a thorough knowledge of the Operator Compliance Risk Score and best maintenance practices, which in itself may be industry-specific, eg an appreciation of the need for drivers to perform enhanced daily vehicle checks when working in arduous environments.
As a proposed transport manager, you should possess attributes other than industry knowledge. The need to keep paperwork in good order means the transport manager should be a good administrator. Many operators are found to fall short of expectations at a public inquiry when it is found that records are not properly completed, are partially missing or contradict each other.
The number of hours a transport manager should devote to transport management duties is based on vehicle numbers. So for example, 2 vehicles would require 2-4 hours per week whereas 50 vehicles would require Full time 40hrs+ and additional assistance required. Additional hours may be required for trailers.
The law requires transport managers continued development to keep the transport manager’s knowledge current (and to remain so). As in many other industries, the road transport sector is an ever-changing beast; technology changes, standards change, understanding changes, best-practice guidance changes — and most fundamentally, the law itself changes. It must follow that the people who, in legal terms, hold a vital role in managing the whole undertaking compliantly have to move with the times.