-By Rajesh Seth, Vice President, Central Logistics, ACC Limited.
Logistics Safety and traffic related incidents are the main cause of on-site and off-site fatalities in the cement industry. The impact of road safety on business and society is expected to further increase in future. ACC is committed to eliminating Logistics Safety related injuries and fatalities. We believe that this can be achieved by implementing good practices focused on People, Vehicles and Processes.
With this mission, ACC embarked on its Logistics Safety journey in early 2012, as one of the key pillars of our Institutionalizing Excellence programme, and launched several initiatives to improve safety relating to People, Vehicles and Processes, such as improving on-site traffic management and on-site layout to physically segregate pedestrian and vehicular traffic, implementation of on-site mandatory steps, screening of drivers to ensure they are fit to drive vehicles on company’s business, screening of vehicles for road worthiness to ensure they are safe to be driven, improving drivers’ competence through defensive driver training, upgrading amenities for truck drivers at plants, risk based journey management with route hazard analysis, and multiplication of best practices by improving networking and knowledge sharing as a platform for successful implementation of good practices.
The major aims of our Logistics Safety programme are to:
a) Reduce vehicle and traffic related accidents, fatalities and injuries through sustainable improvement of processes (for example, unidirectional traffic flow and segregation of pedestrian and vehicle traffic inside a plant)
b) Improve vehicle and driver fitness, and getting drivers to change their behaviour and improve their driving skills
c) Effective use of technology like RFID (Radio Frequency Identification Device) to control the number of vehicles moving in plant premises at any point of time and GPS to track vehicle movement against various parameters from ‘Gate Out’ to ‘Gate In’ (RFID technology has been installed in three of our plants over the last one year, and other plants are also being covered in a phased manner, and the dedicated vehicle fleet of our transporters is also being made GPS enabled in a phased manner)
d) Address critical issues like journey risk mapping and driver fatigue to control accidents.
The Logistics Safety programme was deemed necessary in view of several factors like:
i) Very large outbound cement despatches of around 40,000 MT daily (over 2,500 trucks per day) as well as high inbound movement of raw materials like fly ash, slag and coal by trucks which increases the risk of vehicle and traffic related accidents
ii) Very high driver population which requires constant defensive driving training skills
iii) Existing plant layouts, especially in plants which are comparatively old and have undergone expansion of capacity, necessitating a greater focus on aspects like segregation of pedestrian and vehicle traffic, achieving unidirectional flow of traffic, and eliminating / reducing reversing of vehicles inside the plants and parking yards.
The Logistics Safety programme was launched across all plants through two sets of ‘mandatory steps’ (Phase 1 comprising 8 steps Phase 2 of 16 steps). The steps were based on a ‘systems’ approach focussing on People, Vehicles and Processes. The basic objective was to achieve ‘quick wins’ in a short spell of time to motivate the teams to further improve safety standards.
Some major steps taken included engaging with our transport contractors and encouraging them to take ownership of the driver and vehicle certification by issuing ‘Driver Passports’ ( to drivers assessed as competent to drive on company’s business) and ‘Vehicle Passports’ ( to vehicles which have been inspected and found fit to be driven on company’s business). Over 11,000 Driver and Vehicle Passports each have been issued by our transporters in 2013.
Intensive transporter engagement was undertaken to sensitize them to improve the condition of vehicles and quality and skills of manpower (drivers). A 30 point vehicle inspection checklist has been introduced for daily inspection of trucks and a defensive driving training drive launched across the plants covering over 6,000 drivers in 2013. Also, around
2,500 drivers were administered a health check at our plants in 2013. Both these activities are continuing on a regular basis.
Traffic flow mapping was carried out in all plants to map the ‘As Is’ and ‘Should Be’ movement of each type of vehicle inside the plant and the route was made unidirectional, to the extent possible. Positive barricading has been done to segregate pedestrian and vehicular traffic inside all plants. Mandatory use of PPE by truck drivers and stopping use of mobiles inside the plant is yet another initiative. Also, rear view cameras have been installed in all vehicles with obstructed view like dumpers, and hydras operating inside the plant.
Development of truck parking yards with driver facilities like rest rooms, canteen, toilet facilities, and clean drinking water and maintenance facilities is yet another initiative taken to address the issue of driver fatigue. A model state-of-the-art parking yard with concrete surfacing has also been developed at one of the plants in Central India.
Above all, we have also launched a drive to enter into a MoU with our transporters covering the areas of Driver Management, Vehicle Management and Journey Management. Various other initiatives taken include a Seat Belt awareness drive and imparting training to truck drivers on a truck simulator. And around 600 drivers have already been trained so far on simulator.
We do realize that our Logistics Safety journey has just begun and we still have considerable ground to cover. We are, however, confident that in the months ahead we will continue to sustain the pace of hard work to achieve our goal.
(Rajesh Seth is an alumnus of St. Stephen’s College, Delhi and the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad with over 35 years experience in the cement industry. He joined ACC in 1978 and spent the first 28 years of his career in Sales & Marketing. He was Vice President-Marketing and in-charge of ACC’s Regional Marketing Offices at Pune and Delhi before his shift to Logistics function in 2006. He served as Director Logistics–North from 2006 to 2009 and later moved to ACC’s Corporate Office as Head–Central Logistics. Since 2012 he is based at Delhi and is spearheading the Logistics Safety initiatives at ACC.)