Implementing a fleet safety programme in UK-based small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs)
This paper reports on a recently completed project to support small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs1) in West Yorkshire in the UK to implement suitable quality systems to improve the road safety of their employees. The key elements of a European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) supported project are set out, including: rationale, funding, implementation issues, outputs and areas for further study. The focus of the paper is on the process and implementation issues involved in attempting to improve the quality, efficiency and safety of commercial vehicle operations by allowing SMEs to implement quality systems for the assessment, monitoring, training and management of occupational drivers.
The main limitation of the study was the difficulty and time spent in ?getting into? traditionally secretive and cautious SMEs. This meant that a large part of the 12 months allowed for the project was spent on identifying potential participants and ?selling? them the benefits of participation. Less time than planned was therefore available for implementing and evaluating the actual initiatives. Despite this, positive outcomes were seen in several of the 16 participating organizations.
The paper offers several benefits that are new in the field.
? Process skills in working closely with SMEs.
? Low cost IT-based tools for driver assessment and monitoring, which have the potential to become web-based. These are particularly useful for organizations operating in rural and remote regions on a very low budget.