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“Drive safely, darling!”

Are those the last words you hear when you leave for work each day?

Volvo car interiorCognito customers operate in many different industries and provide many different kinds of services. One thing they all share is that they deliver those services to different places, with employees travelling between sites - usually by driving some kind of vehicle.

Which makes driver safety a hugely important topic.

Earlier this year, Volvo Cars UK launched a new initiative aimed at business drivers, particularly in SMEs. Entitled “Co-Pilot”, it is part of a vision that...

“...by 2020, nobody shall be seriously injured or killed in a new Volvo.”

Now that is a big, hairy, scary kind of a vision, even for a company that prides itself on building the safest cars in the world. But, as they go on to say, “safety is about more than technology and engineering: it’s about people.” Further, “driver behaviour is a major factor in most accidents. And business drivers are particularly at risk with an estimated 10 deaths and 150 serious injuries every week involving work-related driving.”

Service organisations are very mindful of their duty-of-care towards field-based employees and driver safety, often with standards well above those demanded by legislation. What is interesting about this Co-Pilot initiative is to see a car manufacturer recognising they have moral obligations relating to the use of the products – and doing something about it.

They have teamed up with driver risk management consultancy Fleet 21, and a network of their partners to provide a comprehensive set of resources that assist in both administrative functions, and behavioural assessment and improvement. The attractions for a small service operation are obvious, but the principles behind it are applicable to all sizes of company.

Focusing on behaviours is also important more broadly within service. Precisely because the industry is built on your people doing something for other people - the way your workforce present themselves, interact with those customers and carry out their duties is the very heart of your business.

But the evidence from customer satisfaction surveys suggests that not all companies understand this. Instead of supporting the pivotal role that their mobile workers (the “drivers”) play in delivering success, they have focused too much on the “vehicles” - the tools and technology, the logistics and the process. They have failed to put people truly at the centre of their improvement initiatives. Never mind customer-centric, they have forgotten to be human-centric.

Just as Volvo sees a competitive advantage in being a leading light in recognising and managing the risks of ‘failure’ through poor driving standards, you too can get ahead by teaming with the right partners to help you measure worker behaviour holistically, identify and promote good behaviours and mitigate undesirable ones.

Drivers arriving home safely at the end of the day is a successful outcome for a vehicle manufacturer - and for a service organisation too.

Read more about equipping your workforce in '7 secrets to ensuring that your field force is aligned and engaged'.

[It is ironic that I was on a train when I discovered this story about cars and car drivers!]

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