Preventing Driver Overpayment with Effective Rule ManagementThe Trapeze Team | August 16, 2016
Winning new bus routes is cause for celebration. But while the victory presents an opportunity for profit, it can also spell disaster, because in order for a new route to be profitable, it – and the drivers that come with it – must be managed carefully. Payroll and terms and conditions rules are complex and time consuming to implement – so it’s not surprising they are often done sub-optimally.
Bad rules: the financial cost
Pete Adney, Software Consultant for Trapeze, says: “The best approach is to think about rules as soon as a new route is won. But many operators won’t do this work until after they get the drivers in, when they bring all their terms and conditions and rules with them. Eventually it becomes an administration nightmare; it’s seriously complicated.”
These complications aren’t just irritating, but also costly, given that we’re often talking about hundreds of drivers in a depot and thousands in an organisation, each needing daily management. Pete says: “There are so many conditions that trigger payments – and they can be missed. Overpayment can be as problematic as underpayment.”
What are the signs?
Are you certain you are managing rules as effectively as possible? Here are some warning signs that all is not well.
- You are using spreadsheets
Are you spending time creating and managing additional spreadsheets? Given that DAS is such a powerful tool, is taking data out to be manually edited elsewhere a sensible idea? At best, using spreadsheets is inefficient; at worst you are introducing potential for costly mistakes. As Pete says: “In the bus industry, if you get something wrong once, you can get it wrong thousands of times.”
- You have peripheral systems
If you have to use peripheral systems to achieve the results you need, you may be working inefficiently. Duplicating work means increased man hours – and that means additional cost.
- You are always checking and correcting
Does pay day see a queue of drivers outside the controller’s office because of mistakes on pay slips? Not only is under or over payments (because of additional payments required, or hours assigned outside of DAS) frustrating for the drivers; it takes time and money to fix.
- Too many staff – or too few
Having too many staff members, or not enough, is another warning sign. Are there too many people assigned to allocating work because of the complexities of the driver rules? If rules are managed correctly within DAS, you will have the optimal number of staff needed to correctly assign duties and manage drivers.
- Are a lot of your drivers leaving?
If your drivers aren’t happy with how their work is being managed, they are more likely to leave. We know driver attrition is a huge issue; fair and transparent allocation of duties, with the correct rules attached, can go a long way towards reducing staff turnover.
- You don’t use DAS efficiently/correctly
If you are not managing your rules correctly within DAS, you may find yourself wasting time . DAS is a quick and efficient system that manages duty allocation and driver management. But to be effective it needs accurate data.
- Your reports aren’t helping
If your reports aren’t helping then it’s time to ask why. DAS should offer transparent and accurate reporting, but if the data within it is not up to scratch, the reports produced won’t be as effective as they could be.
Using DAS to manage driver rules – the return on investment
Managing rules is an essential requirement. As Pete Adney says, “Operators have to look after a large number of different requirements, including working time rules as well payroll rules. Both are vital and relevant, and there’s too much information for individuals to manage now.”
Dealing with rules is something that should be done in the most efficient way possible. If you are using spreadsheets or systems outside DAS, you could be losing huge amounts of time.
Let’s say each peripheral system or spreadsheet requires 20 minutes of preparation; 20 minutes editing; and takes 20 minutes to distribute (to allocation and payroll teams, as well as a report to managers). Just five spreadsheets equals five hours work – or 14% of your working week.
Reviewing your rules is a clear route to cost saving, but it’s increasingly a necessity, too. Pete Adney concludes: “Rules are the cogs under the bonnet of DAS. The rules fire the payment out to payroll. If you have a good set of rules, everything happens exactly as you need it to.”