RTMS unravelled

RTMS unravelled

What is the RTMS (Road Transport Management System) and how does it benefit your organisation and the industry?

RTMS is an industry-led, government-supported, voluntary, self-regulation scheme that is based on the SANS 1395-1, being a national standard, published by the South African Bureau of Standards. At its essence, the standard – if implemented correctly – will provide a guideline for organisations to implement internal processes that are compliant with the Road Traffic Regulations Act and which seek to preserve our road infrastructure, encourage adherence to road safety, manage driver safety and well-being, and increase productivity.

Think of the standard as a framework that guides your organisation to implement a set of self-determined policies, processes and systems with clear objectives that are underpinned by risk mitigation. Additionally, compliance to standards and your systems will result in your organisation being a good corporate citizen, having improved controls that are understood by everyone involved in the operations and human resource department/s, reduced costs, and improved bottom-line earnings.

The four primary areas of RTMS are load optimisation, driver wellness, vehicle maintenance, and productivity.

So, how does an organisation implement RTMS? It is important to understand that the SANS 1395-1 standard does not prescribe a set of policies that are imposed on the organisation. Rather, it seeks to assist the leadership to determine clear objectives or goals that it wishes to achieve through the implementation of auditable processes and controls. To be found compliant with the standard, an organisation will need to provide documented evidence of the following areas of the operations department, amongst others:

  • Maintain a haulage fleet inventory
  • Assess the vehicle mass before each trip
  • Verify the mass determination method
  • Vehicle and load safety
  • Vehicle maintenance
  • Driver wellness (fatigue and health)
  • Provide training and education
  • Assign tasks and responsibilities
  • Keep records and documentation
  • Perform internal reviews

This is not an onerous process: for example, maintaining a haulage fleet inventory is as simple as compiling an excel list of your active trucks and trailers which are used by the business, their registration numbers, VIN numbers, and configuration: e.g., three-axle rigid, seven-axle interlink (6 x 4 TT + tandem/tandem semi-trailer), tare vehicle/combination mass, gross vehicle/combination mass, maximum permissible payload, and maximum permissible load dimensions.

The organisation must be able to prove that it has taken these aspects into account when loading its vehicles. Evidence of compliance will be in the form of a weighbridge receipt. Optimal control is achieved when the vehicle is neither under nor overloaded.

Compliance vs Certification

As set out at the beginning of this article, RTMS is a self-regulation scheme, meaning that is not necessary to show your compliance to the standard or incur the cost of an external auditor to become certified (i.e., be issued with a certificate). Being compliant will achieve the desired results. However, should you wish to go the certification route, then the following process is likely to be followed:

You must purchase the SANS1395-1 standard via the online portal of the SABS. Using the standard as a guideline, you can implement the necessary processes and systems to achieve the desired internal objectives and goals. Should you require assistance, you can consult with a knowledgeable consultant who will carry out a gap analysis and determine where further systems or processes are necessary in your business. Your consultant should be able to advise you if you are ready to onboard an external certified auditor who will want to carry out a stage one audit. Using a set of guidelines – and depending on the size of the organisation and the size of the fleet – a stage one audit may take a day or two at most to complete.

The stage one audit does not go into detail of all the internal processes and systems; however, it is a great indication of your readiness for a stage two audit. A full audit report will be produced by the auditor, setting out the findings and recommendations. You will be afforded 90 days to implement the recommendations and correct any negative findings (non-conformance), whereafter you will undergo a stage two audit.

A stage two audit delves into the details of each internal process/system using a sample audit. Should the auditor find you to be compliant, you will be issued a certificate valid for 12 months. Every third year, you will be required to repeat a stage one and two audit.

Compliance to the standard simply means that the organisation has achieved the objectives/goals it set down for each auditable area of the business and that these can be reviewed through a thorough document trail.

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Focus on Transport

FOCUS on Transport and Logistics is the oldest and most respected transport and logistics publication in southern Africa.
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