Although we live in the real world and we’re told that actions speak louder than words, it can often be just that, words, words, words and it’s the case that the words we use and the way we use them can have a very important effect on what we’re doing.
It is interesting to note that the National Transport Commission, when drafting the Issues Paper as part of the Heavy Vehicle National Law reform process, seems to have dropped the word accreditation for the trucking industry and has decided to replace it with assurance.
This seems to indicate a change in the way of thinking about how operators become accredited, it suggests the top-down approach which has been used in the past will be replaced by a bottom-up approach.
It suggests that it will be incumbent upon the individual trucking operator to act in such a way and record their actions in such a way as to give the authorities assurance that they are doing the right thing. This would seem to be quite different to the current situation where the operator is told what to do and how to record it and if all of the boxes are kicked the Is are dotted and Ts are crossed then the operator will be able to run the business under a set of conditions.
The use of certain words are so important in developing the kind of culture and way of doing the job, which we want in the trucking industry into the future. Words like professionalism are bandied about, but when we think of other jobs where there genuinely is a perceived level of professionalism, the words and the naming used reinforce that professionalism, just in the way they are perceived.
Working in the trucking industry we have drivers, forklift drivers, warehouse people, schedulers, technicians and so on. Where are the master technicians, the certified scheduling professionals or any other kind of description of a person which demonstrates just how much they do know and how well they had performed over many years in completing tasks which are vital to the safe and efficient operation of the trucking business?
The way we describe our jobs and our people suggest even those of us who have worked in the transport industry all our lives, do not regard it as a high status or even medium status type of work. We are suggesting, in the way we talk about our people, that they are basically unskilled labour.
I’m not sure how any new form of naming culture can be generated, but I am pretty sure that if the bloke who uses a computer program and works out how to build a safe load on a B double then ensures that the load is put onto a truck in the right order and in the right way to ensure good vehicle dynamics and safe trip for both driver and freight, should be called a professional in someway and not just a ‘forkie’.