Using apps to check and automatically document cargo securing
If you know your duties, you can prove that you have done them
Well-secured cargo plays a big role in ensuring that transports reach their destinations safely. Many people are responsible for securing cargo. Apps provide timely reminders of all key steps and document their completion.
Around one-quarter of accidents involving heavy goods vehicles are caused by poorly secured loads. To reduce this number, four different people are responsible for properly securing cargo: the truck driver, the vehicle keeper or renter, the shipper and the loading supervisor. Together, they have to meet the following requirements:
- The vehicle must be capable of safely transporting the cargo and contain the necessary load securement devices as well as materials such as ratcheting tie-downs and friction mats.
- Cargo must be loaded and positioned correctly based on its shape, weight distribution and center of gravity.
- Cargo securing must meet friction securing or tight fit criteria at all transition points.
To ensure all these requirements are consistently met, everyone responsible for securing cargo should receive regular training, check all the items on the cargo securement checklist and properly document compliance with required criteria.
Don’t leave load securing to chance
The best way to ensure cargo is secured correctly is to use checklists that include all the important items mentioned above. Also, checks should be documented for every individual transport, including signatures of the people responsible for load securement and results that are clearly documented with photos.
Giving simple instructions
Everyone agrees that loads need to be carefully secured. In practice, however, cargo securement is anything but a matter of course. It is all too easy to overlook individual steps in routine tasks. Or one person may blindly rely on another. To avoid this kind of carelessness, it helps to use an app to check off items on a load securing checklist. And if it guides loaders and drivers though the various steps, it will kill two birds with one stone: Process quality improves because the app lists and describes all the items to check so that no training knowledge is lost. In addition, the app documents the results with timestamps, photos and signatures of the people who are directly responsible for securing the load. This improves legal certainty without leaving the process because everyone involved in securing the load can prove that the regulations have been followed. Also, all the data processing records are assigned to the active order automatically – no additional work required.
Mobile workflow management
An app that configures its own processes
Users are particularly fond of apps that dovetail neatly with actual company processes. These apps map the exact process sequence in their workflow and communicate directly with the transport management system (TMS), enterprise resource planning (ERP) and other operations systems. As a result, they can effectively support employees with their tasks, automatically generate required documentation and even display the real-time order status to key stakeholders. This type of mobile workflow management system learns existing processes in a workflow editor (no programming required) and uses them to configure the app. The beauty of this approach: Irrelevant checklist items are hidden from the start. It can also import data from connected systems such as the driver’s driving licence and training certificates or the next inspection date for the vehicle’s systems. The system also automatically generates predefined load securing reports that accompany the transport and can be shared with business partners or regulators as needed.
Making appropriate safety arrangements
“Key safety measures are essential. Instituting a system to ensure they are taken at all times reduces everyone’s workload and prevents operational staff from making mistakes.”
Mobile apps are the perfect tool for improving the quality of load securing processes and generating documentation that meets all regulatory requirements. After all, all road users benefit from safer roads and safer road transports. An innovation with many winners!
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