We provide our drivers with comprehensive training so that they can safely and efficiently deliver goods for a major Australian supermarket chain every day, even at sites that are challenging to access.
Toll has provided supply chain logistics to Coles supermarkets in Queensland and Northern New South Wales, Australia since 2007 – transporting dry and refrigerated groceries, fresh produce, liquor and general merchandise to 195 stores in both metropolitan and rural areas.
Accessing the delivery point at each store brings different challenges; while some are straight forward, others require the driver to navigate everything from sharply-angled driveways, narrow streets surrounding the site, underground loading areas, shopping centre car parks and shared driveways to correctly position the vehicle for unloading.
Delivering to the more difficult Coles sites requires Toll drivers to receive training so that they have the necessary knowledge and understanding of potential risks to safely bring their vehicles to the delivery point.
The driver trainers and risk coordinators from the Toll team in Queensland developed an innovative training solution to enable drivers to safely make deliveries to stores with docks that are difficult to access.
The team began by assessing each store and ranking the difficulty of each site, assigning each a colour code to denote the amount of prior knowledge a driver would need to access the dock safely:
- Green – site is easy to access with limited risks or hazards
- Orange – site is moderately difficult to access
- Red – site can be difficult to access and requires a driver to have an understanding of the risks and hazards around the particular delivery point
Working with a selected group of drivers, the driver trainers produced a series of video ‘mud maps’ for all stores classified as orange or red.
In the early years of European settlement in Australia, when much of the continent was still unchartered, outback travellers used to draw maps in the mud to outline directions to one another if they met on the road. The ‘mud map’ videos perform much the same function; each one shows the critical, last 500 metres of the journey to the delivery point, filmed in ‘first person’ view from the passenger seat of the truck by a trainer.
As the driver follows the route to the delivery point at the site, the trainer provides commentary to accompany the vision so that the videos clearly show the planned paths to and from the specific store delivery point, while ‘talking through’ the potential areas of risk or hazard with the viewer.
The videos are screened on televisions at each distribution centre where they are accessible to all drivers, and are used in conjunction with printed mud maps to train drivers delivering to the more difficult stores.
Before drivers deliver to a red store for the first time they are required to ‘buddy up’ as a passenger with an experienced driver who shows them how to access the particular delivery.
A team of more than 220 Toll drivers, subcontractors, operational support staff and managers work together to make more than 600 deliveries a day to Coles stores in Queensland and northern New South Wales, operating 24 hours a day 363 days of the year.
Since the introduction of these mud map training videos, drivers now get to experience and visualise difficult delivery stores prior to arriving there with their vehicle. These videos have helped reduce equipment damage and also complement our risk assessments to improve back of store delivery points.
The driver trainers are now exploring options to further expand this project, including allowing drivers to download copies of the videos onto their own smart phone or device for the purpose of self-directed training and review.
This would provide the opportunity for a driver to pull over and, in a safe manner, review a training video prior to the driver attempting to access the store to ensure they approach it safely and correctly.