Should All Operating Standards Be Enshrined In Law?

Accreditation, qualifications, testimonials and reviews are a fact of everyday life and are often a means of attracting or winning new business. They are a way to evaluate, benchmark or demonstrate the quality of a product, service or business.

Whether it’s retail products, hotel facilities or restaurants – accreditation has become part of our daily lives. Within a business setting, International Standards, Investment in People, Responsible Procurement and NCAP safety ratings – all provide a framework of quality, a mark of trust and form part of many business’s marketing strategies.

All too often however, the operating benchmark for some is to default to what is required by law – or even in some cases ‘what is the minimum we can get away with?’. This isn’t best practice or even good practice, it’s just ‘ok practice’. But ‘ok practice’ doesn’t leave much margin for error, in fact it doesn’t leave any at all. Legal requirements are in place for many reasons, including to eliminate harm and provide a fair playing field – we don’t have to look too far in the news to find that that some businesses struggle to achieve even this basic minimum requirement.

But is ‘ok practice’ enough in our transport sector? The need for industry-led standards is ever more important in such complex and challenging trading conditions, and it’s down to the logistics and transport sector to demonstrate what ‘good practice’ and ‘best practice’ look like. Whether it’s improving safety standards, minimising environmental impact, creating operational efficiencies, or recruiting and retaining new staff – businesses need to go above and beyond the law to differentiate.

Since the development of the Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS) in 2008, many other operating standards and schemes have emerged. However, what is important to understand is that what in particular FORS accreditation offers, is the recognition it brings, by making meeting customer needs a focused part of running a successful sustainable business, while always complying with the law and best practice.

After all, a business is nothing without its customers. Accreditation to industry recognised standards not only provides confidence in a business – it demonstrates a company’s operating benchmark, gives a competitive edge and underlines an operator’s status as a ‘go to’ employer.

FORS is able to do this in part thanks to its comprehensive training programmes, which focus not only on road safety but also on environmental and fuel saving concerns. FORS continued emphasis on fleet efficiencies and operational practices has seen excellent reductions in fuel costs for many fleets, giving them an edge on competitors financially while embracing the all-important need to lower their carbon footprint.

Additionally, the FORS Affinity Partnership scheme which provides accredited operators with products and services designed
to add value to their business continues to expand with new programmes to be announced in the coming months. It is these kind of initiatives that show customers that FORS accredited operators are not only determined to offer best practice to meet legislation, but to ensure every area of their business is run with safety, efficiency, and environmental protection in mind.

During this presentation, Glen will discuss whether all operating standards should be enshrined in law. He will draw comparisons from other business sectors, demonstrate the importance of business accreditation and highlight some of the tangible and intangible benefits it can bring.