The movement of goods is relentless in today’s world. It is obvious that the food industry needs to deliver on a daily basis, but many other sectors have equally demanding schedules. It costs money to be overstocked, so many manufacturing processes, for example, require the delivery of parts “just in time” for their use. Hauliers are, therefore, required to be responsive to their clients’ demands, and their success is dependent on their response.
The haulage and distribution industry is heavily regulated. It needs to be, because the potential for accidents is high, and any accident is likely to serious. Statistics suggest that it is the most hazardous of industries. The fatalities and serious injuries each year mean that haulage is constantly under the watchful eye of the Health and Safety Executive. In the last five years, there have been 60 employee fatalities and 5,000 serious injuries during the apparently simple function of employees doing their jobs.
No one in the haulage industry is remotely complacent when it comes to health and safety. In less hazardous industries, some people view the Executive as too much red tape, paperwork, and unnecessary rules and regulations. They argue that common sense and experience are all that need to be applied. It is far better to have company procedures that everyone adheres to rather than expecting everyone to have common sense.
The problems in the industry revolve around the vehicles themselves, the method of loading and securing the load, and the volume of traffic on today’s major roads. Regular mechanic maintenance of trucks is the first essential in any operation. The actual trailers need to be adapted so that loads can be easily loaded and secured. That may involve a frame being mounted with curtain sides to protect the load from weather conditions. The curtains play little part in the securing. That is done using cables once the load, probably palletised, has been put on board.
The supply of commercial trailer parts is an issue. Every haulage company needs a garage with a good stock of spare parts so that the time that a vehicle is off the road is minimised. It is not earning money if it is in the garage. This calls for the haulage company to deal with a supplier with plenty of experience and of a size which can guarantee that it can respond immediately to any emergency.
There is no substitute for having a good working relationship with a parts supplier. Trailers come in standard lengths, but each may be adapted in a different way depending on the range of loads the haulier be carrying. This may mean that curtains need to be made specifically for a certain trailer at times. Using a single supplier for everything is ideal. If a supplier has built up a reputation of supplying as scheduled, this is certainly one measure of its reliability – the same reliability that the haulier needs to provide for its own clients.