Chad Brown’s CNC Cartage operation in Brisbane is set up with six cameras per truck. Each truck is set up with one each on the left- and right-hand side, two looking forward from each side of the cab and two looking rearwards. It gives the system a complete 3600 view and, when downloaded, the image is crisp enough to read things like rego plates on passing cars.
“I had the police come around because there was a road rage incident on the Sunshine Coast. We had it recorded from one of the trucks. One of the drivers saw the accident happening and stopped to tell the police we had live video of the incident. We gave them all of the footage for them to use in court. That’s not what it’s really for, it’s so we can prove everything that has happened on the road.
“We could put a camera on the driver, but I need to believe my employees are doing the right thing all of the time and this system isn’t, by any stretch, to check up on them. This is to prove whether something has, or hasn’t, happened. The biggest part of our business is proof of delivery.
“Something like a bunch of frames and trusses will be going out to an unmanned site. The driver has to unload it into the right place. We have to prove he did so and delivered that which was supposed to be delivered. This camera system helps us to do that.
“A couple of times a week, I get a phone call. A motorbike rider might tell me my truck cut them up on the highway. I then get the video footage up and one of two things happen. They either say, ‘that’s great,’ or they hang up on me. If something has happened and we get down to it, the other driver may be at fault, or I ring up my driver and tell them they made a mistake and not to do it again.”
Now, we know this is difficult to get right every time, but the camera systems installed on all of the trucks in the CNC Cartage fleet are proving effective in keeping things in order.
Starting off as a one-man operation 22 years ago, a small truck handling small delivery jobs in and around the north side of Brisbane, Chad Brown started his business as many others have in trucking.
Currently, the camera system is not integrated into the other telematics technologies used by CNC.
The company’s current scheduling system is at capacity and barely coping with the tasks as the numbers grow, so as it transitions to a new system, the camera element will be integrated.
Each driver has an iPad Mini or an iPhone in the cabin with them, they use the devices for scheduling and also start and finish times, retrieving delivery details, taking photos of delivered loads and tracking maintenance scheduling.
“We have competitors who are not taking photos,” says Chad. “Things go missing in the building industry all of the time. We also take a video of the whole site, because tomorrow we might get a call saying we drove over a set of pipes, or something. We now have the video so nothing can be hidden. Eventually, we are hoping our truck cameras will be able to replace all the other photos the drivers take.”
The end game of this integration process is a single app on the device that will have everything from leave forms and procedures to a daily checklist, alongside a scheduling system where the driver simply clicks when arriving at a site and gets a signature for the delivery.
Chad reckons the cost of setting a truck up with all of the tracking camera and other telematics systems is around $5,000. He is not sure he can calculate how much the systems save the company in other costs, but he does come up with an anecdote which illustrates the intrinsic value it brings to the business.
“A couple of months ago, I had a driver ring me up and say he’d just knocked a power line down,” says Chad. “How do you knock a power line down? He said he was driving down the road and it hit him in the windscreen. I immediately got onto Energex and told them they needed an emergency crew to sort out the power line.
“Then, I went back and looked at the footage. I watched it and saw the truck hit a power line that was hanging down lower than the windscreen of the truck. Energex sent me a bill – with 21 days to pay – for $5,500. I sent them this video and told them, this is my reply. They got back to me and told me to dismiss the bill. That’s paid for the set-up of one truck on its own.”