The company has developed three mobile-based apps to enhance safety in LPG & lubes transportation.
Transportation in India is a challenging phenomenon more so in oil & gas industry, where safety can never be compromised on any grounds.
One of the most important factors which shapes a company’s culture are the core values, as these form the basis for a reality check when the company is confronted with a difficult decision. It goes without emphasising that safety has to be baked into the company’s culture and one key driver for this is to make it an explicit core value – something which cannot be negotiated, no matter how big the challenge. Ingraining safety into the company’s culture does not happen overnight but it does become visible and its results demonstrate the commitment to the cause.
While it is relatively easy to manage on-site safety, managing road transport safety presents a huge challenge anywhere in the world, particularly in emerging economies like India with the state of the road network and traffic discipline. LPG transportation safety involves not just the safety of the cargo, but also the safety of all human actors involved.
“It is a matter of great pride to all people at Total India, that we are recognized as the Platinum standard in LPG road safety. We say this in all humility and have been actively sharing our experience with the industry for a good cause to help elevate safety standards by engaging proactively with all stake holders,” said Claude Le Damany, CEO & Executive Director – LPG Division, Total Oil India.
policy framework for safety
PATROM (Programme Amelioration Transport Route Outre Mer) is the policy bible which details the guidelines for assuring transport safety in Total. Apart from the transport, HSEQ and vehicle management, commitment from the management and drivers is critical and is coded in the form of an exhaustive guidance of how to implement each of them and their inter dependencies. The central transport organisation based in Paris, is tasked with the responsibility of uniform implementation of each line of the policy worldwide.
Safety through technology
Digitalising transport safety involves developing a complete suite of applications so that the requirements of all key stakeholders – driver, customers, transport partners, operating sites and logistics teams are taken cognisance of. Damany explained, “Digitalising the entire eco-system means adopting a data based approach to fleet management. Taking this route has enormous spin off benefits in terms of a more efficient, agile and streamlined organisation with key information available at the tap of a finger.”
The driver is easily the most important link, from a road safety perspective, in the entire supply chain. Worldwide research shows that driver fatigue is the leading cause of road accidents. Total’s approach is stringent and rule based – driving timings are restricted, drivers are monitored for their driving behavior, rest periods, adherence to speed limits, etc.
To implement the fatigue management policy, a key requirement is to have the means to measure the above parameters non-intrusively. All of Total’s fleet has On Board Computers – OBC (more commonly referred to as VTS or Vehicle Tracking System) to help track and measure the fleet using GPS technology. Every single route traversed by Total’s fleet is mapped through a professional agency based on stringent company guidelines. All hazards along this route are identified and geo-tagged. This is part of the system’s database. Using the GPS system it is ensured that the trucks move on authorised routes only as these are geo fenced.
The story so far is pretty much standard across all international oil & gas majors. Total India has gone beyond this by adopting a technology based approach for improving road safety.
The company has developed three mobile-based applications – Smart Driver App, Smart Track App and Smart Fleet App - to ensure that all stakeholders including fleet operators and end users benefit from the various safety measures implemented by Total India. These apps, which have been implemented in LPG and Lubes divisions of Total across all operating locations, can be easily adapted to work with different OBC systems in other affiliates.
Smart Driver App: The driver’s best friend
The Smart Driver App was developed by Total as an aid to the driver. This is a mobile based application which works on Android platform. Each driver is given a mobile with the app pre-loaded when he is inducted into the system and the mobile can only run the apps as the voice feature is disabled. “It also acts like a multifunctional device as it doubles up as his ID card, mobile wallet etc. At the time of entry into the plant premises the driver just waves the mobile in front of a NFC/QR Code reader and driver information, including his photograph, is displayed for the security to ascertain and wave him in. Moreover the mobile can be unlocked by the driver only as it uses face recognition technology,” said Claude Le Damany.
Apart from this, it has a host of other features such as Journey Risk Management and Safe-to-Load (STL). Journey Risk Management (JRM) identifies risks in the specified routes and real time weather conditions. JRM also facilitates the transport manager to obtain data from the previous trip and helps him to counsel the driver in case of any driving violations. Additionally, information such as authorized parking places, petrol pumps, puncture shops, hospitals, police stations, ATM, emergency services, etc are available in the app.
The LPG industry in India follows a protocol called safe-to-load. As a part of the product loading process, STL verifies whether the driver is carrying out daily maintenance checks of the vehicle prior to product loading as per the prescribed format. This feature is tagged with Smart Driver App and in case the driver fails to do the STL check, the vehicle is not permitted for loading, while auto debiting the drivers digital wallet.
Damany added “Customised audio messages can be delivered over the air, through the OBC speaker system. This feature is also extensively used for educating drivers on important activities like precautions to be taken ahead of monsoons and during fasting periods like Ramadan, etc.”
Smart Fleet App
Smart Fleet is an app developed for helping the transporter to keep tab of his fleet, analyse driver behavior, check truck performance, check progress on complying with truck rejection, update status, generate secondary reports, provide data in case of an accident, etc. “It also helps the transporters to communicate with their drivers as well as receive notifications from the logistics teams. As information is available in real time, it is a tremendous aid for them to plan their resources in a timely manner,” stated Damany.
Smart Track App
This is an end customer app, which lets the customers to keep track of their consignment in real time and avoid product anxiety. The app computes the expected time of arrival and notifies the customer as soon as the truck leaves the plant premises. The customer can live track the consignment.
To make it even more powerful, the app provides a feature for the customer to share daily stock data and consumption data which is then used for automatically scheduling replenishment loads from the plant. This is a very useful and powerful tool for assuring timely supplies. In case any customer is likely to face stock disruption, such customers are flagged so that alternate supplies can be arranged. Customer can also leave a request for a specific date and time delivery.
Video analytics: The next step
The third and last part of the development process would involve deploying video analytics technology for drawing meaningful information from the miles and miles of video data collected on various routes, especially sensitive routes, dangerous terrain, high frequency routes, etc. The power of this will be harnessed to learn from canned footage and deploy this learning to all interested parties through JRM notifications. Its utility in imparting remedial training to drivers cannot be underscored enough. “Total India is harnessing the incredible opportunities offered by digitalisation to stitch together a powerful platform which will hopefully go a long way in assuring transport safety and at the same time providing unparalleled customer service,” stated.
Digitalising the entire eco-system means adopting a data based approach to fleet management. Taking this route has enormous spin off benefits in terms of a more efficient, agile and streamlined organisation with key information available at the tap of a finger.
Claude Le Damany, CEO & Executive Director – LPG Division, Total Oil India