By Ross Moody
Ross Moody of the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australia will be heading the Big 5 PMV Workshop. He explains how the lessons learned over there, can be applied over here.
The release of the IPWEA’s fleet management certificate course,
the latest initiative for the association since we launched our Systems Plus Plant
& Vehicle Management Program in 2004, has resulted in a strong response from
the industry in Australia.
In the first four weeks we received 140 registrations. While
this was consistent with our market research, I didn’t expect it to happen so quickly.
(I think this is a reflection of the IPWEA’s high penetration and credibility in
fleet management particularly in the government sector, although our reach is also
now into the private sector.)
Right from the start of Systems Plus our objectives have been
to fill a significant industry need in fleet management particularly in public works.
We’ve always wanted to improve the knowledge of people working in the industry and
raise the profile of what we felt had tended to be a neglected area of public works.
Fleet just seemed to be there in the background and was not being
given the attention it needed. Apart from its sheer capital value, fleet has an
enormous impact on operational areas in civil construction and public works. If
the fleet isn’t being kept up-to-date and being properly maintained, the cost impact
through downtime and lost productivity can be significant. If downtime isn’t being
recorded, the associated cost goes unnoticed and management has no idea of the savings
that can be made through improved fleet management.
We soon realised the importance of keeping the fleet management
initiative dynamic. We knew that producing a best practice manual wouldn’t by itself
achieve our objective of improving the knowledge of fleet management in public works.
Hence the birth of the System Plus concept and its ongoing support for the manual.
Our best practice Plant manual is the cornerstone and it is by supported training,
quarterly newsletters, twice yearly seminars and manual updates.
The Systems Plus programne won’t end with the new Fleet Management
Certificate. There are plans for an Advanced Fleet Management Certificate and a
major update of the best practice Manual. The work done in developing the certificate
has provided more exciting ideas for the future but it will take time and these
initiatives need funding and resources to develop. We also believe the certificate
will have increased appeal to contractors which will open up our whole program to
a wider audience. We already have contractors attending our seminars and training
The feedback from people who have completed the certificate has
been excellent with the most pleasing comment being how practical the course is
and the immediate benefits in the workplace.
We have even had international enquiries and the course can be
undertaken from anywhere in the world.
The principles that have worked in Australia can work in the Middle
East, especially the overall goal of enhancing the plant and vehicle
management skills of people working in the management, procurement, maintenance
and use of plant, vehicles and equipment.
Those attending the workshop at Big 5 PMV tend to be focused
on infrastructure projects (roads, drains, earthworks, and so on) and are oriented
on project deliverables rather than fleet.
However the aim of the workshop is to show how improved plant
and vehicle management will save on
fleet operating costs while improving operational efficiency in project construction