Walking the Walk
The safety mind set
This article orignally appeared in the June edition of Prime Mover Magazine, as part of a two part series.
Despite having to navigate the increasingly complex business environment that is ‘high consequence goods’ transportation, Cameron Dunn has managed to condense his business philosophy down to a simple motto – good businesses are safe businesses, and safe businesses are sustainable businesses.
“I believe simplicity is key to establishing the right mindset across an organisation,” the Managing Director of Melbourne bulk transport business, FBT Transwest, says. “Simplicity in the way we communicate our objectives, live our values, and make critical decisions on every level. The more intricate the challenge, the more valuable it is to reduce complexity and confusion.”
Amid an ever-more complex road transport industry – the next Chain of Responsibility (CoR) reform is coming into effect in 2018 – Cameron says the way we approach challenges will ultimately dictate how successfully we handle them. “I can’t simplify the job itself, but I can actively influence the mindset my team is applying to deal with it,” the freshly appointed President of the Victorian Transport Association (VTA) explains. “To me, it’s all about focus, a heightened sense of urgency, and having the right support network in place. If we’re all on the same page as to what we are trying to achieve and how we are trying to achieve it, we’ll be able to dramatically reduce the company’s operational risk.”
It’s with that in mind that Cameron kept FBT Transwest’s brief to suppliers like Volvo Trucks Australia, Vawdrey Australia or SAF-Holland simple and concise. “Each brand we align ourselves with has internalised one simple objective – help us create the safest workplace in the world,” he says. “Innovation, design, even functionality – it always comes back to the mindset we take on to meet the challenge.
“I’m not sure whether it’s because of the brand’s Scandinavian origin, but Volvo Trucks, for example, has really understood what we mean by that. The technology it has developed to keep our equipment safe is as simple to use as it is brilliant. Take the I-Shift transmission. It’s arguably the most advanced transmission system on the market, but so simple and intuitive to use that it allows the driver to focus solely on the road ahead and not the gearbox.”
He adds, “We opted for the I-Shift product again when we took delivery of an FM450 eight-wheeler from CMV Laverton earlier this year, which we are now using locally in Melbourne. The simplicity of the system reduces fatigue and helps the driver interact more consciously with the world around them – which is absolutely crucial in a city environment, especially if it’s as tight and narrow as Melbourne.
“Combined with smart features like Volvo’s Lane Changing Support radar system, which monitors the blind spot area on the passenger’s side and alerts the driver during lane changes if there is a risk of a side collision, or Adaptive Cruise Control, which uses radar technology to maintain a set time gap to the vehicle in front, the truck is proactively reducing the complexity of the driving process.” Cameron says it is the unique safety mindset he managed to roll out across both the business itself and FBT Transwest’s supplier network that has helped the company pioneer many an innovative technology in the Australian road transport space, from EBS and RSS through to reflective tape, a 3M innovation that is now used across the entire fleet as a simple, yet effective measure to increase visibility and awareness.
But he believes even more could be done if state and federal governments would make some key processes and technologies mandatory throughout the industry. “As much as I trust in the power of shaping your own destiny as a business, I’d very much like to see the playing field levelled. I understand the business environment has never been more demanding than it is today and that we all need to tighten our belt, but we still need good operators, good corporate citizens, that do business the right way. We can only get there if we continue to challenge the status quo, and I am not afraid to keep doing just that.”
Much like FBT Transwest has taken it upon itself to drive industry best practice and push the innovation envelope in collaboration with a hand-selected supplier network, Cameron says the VTA will serve as the industry’s ‘engine room’ under his leadership.
“If you think about it, it’s quite simple. Every employee has the right to come to work and get home safely. As an industry, we need to do everything to uphold that right, and modern technology can help us do so – suppliers like Volvo Trucks and our local dealership, CMV Laverton, have proven it’s possible. But to really get to that point, we need to take on the right mindset.”