Dennis Collins from Paper Freight Australia and Gaye (Office Manager) standing in front of one of their trucks.

Dennis Collins from Paper Freight Australia and Gaye (Office Manager) standing in front of one of their trucks.

Case Study

How small changes saved Paper Freight Australia over $25,000

Dennis Collins established his business, Paper Freight Australia in 1985 and has grown the business to be the primary paper distribution specialist across western Victoria.

Paper Freight Australia distribute to numerous newsagents and commercial customers. The business also recycles paper and plastic as part of its core business.  As the business has grown, so has the number of employees and motor vehicles necessary to meet its evolving needs.

Paper Freight Australia’s fleet now consists of over 45 vehicles, primarily vans and trucks ranging from 1-tonne to semi-trailers. As the fleet numbers have grown so too has Dennis’s need to ensure that the employees who drive his company vehicles return home safely.

In the five year period up to the beginning of 2014 the Paper Freight fleet averaged an annual incident rate of between 10% - 12% in above excess reported claims, with a similar number of below excess claims being managed within the business. While the reported incident rate may be seen as low in fleet terms, what was of concern to Dennis was the high number of liable driver incidents, which was nearly 90% of the reported claims for the period.

Such a high percentage of liable claims is concerning as it shows that drivers are being placed at increased risk, which also results in increased insurance costs.

Faced with the potential of increased premiums and associated costs, Dennis implemented a simple but effective strategy that revolved around his drivers. He implemented a long-distance driving program following a pre-determined route, where time spent behind the wheel is closely monitored and regular breaks are scheduled. As part of the program the following key steps are incorporated:

  • Before each trip drivers are required to complete a check list of their vehicle to ensure their vehicle is fit for service.
  • Following the vehicle service check, drivers then consult their driving plan before commencing, and if they have any concerns about it they can talk to their supervisor to change or modify it.
  • Within the plan designated break periods are set out and if the driver feels he needs one before the designated stop, all he needs to do is advise his supervisor.

To ensure these plans are adhered to and breaks are being taken, random checks are undertaken using a trucks GPS.

Adherence to these simple guidelines is based on the principal of ‘plan, do, and check’ - the trips are documented, drivers follow the instructions and the program can be monitored through the use of GPS. What Dennis has put in place targets two of the primary causes of trucking incidents - fatigue and distraction.

The success of such a strategy depends on keeping it top-of-mind so that driver adherence does not drop away and is not taken for granted. To ensure the on-going support for the program Dennis is implementing six-monthly Fatigue Management meetings with all drivers to review performance and keep them informed on new driver risk reduction strategies.

By enabling his drivers to contribute and participate in the businesses risk reduction strategy, Dennis has been able to deliver an incident free 2014 both in reported claims and driver liability. The program has been a great success from the perspective of his employees, his insurer, and his bottom line where diminished incidents have saved the business an estimated $25,000 over the last twelve months.

If you’d like to implement a strategy to deliver similar results for your business, contact Tony Robinson, AB Phillips Fleet Risk Manager on or phone 1300 242 136 today.