At Transuniverse, we attach great importance to the quality of our services. As Quality Manager and Company Lawyer, Britt Vorst plays an important role in this. Prevention is better than cure, is her motto. That is why she also took on the task of prevention advisor. “Most problems can be avoided at source. Even legal disputes can be avoided, for example by correctly completing the transport documents,” she says.
You are both quality manager and company lawyer within Transuniverse. Why these two hats?
I started about seven years ago as a company lawyer, responsible for legal matters such as contracts, insurance, disputes, advice and so on. In addition, I had to manage the implementation of ISO and SQAS certificates. Many of the cases I followed up were claims or problems with incorrect deliveries. By being more proactive, we can avoid many of these problems. So the link to quality management was quickly made. By putting a lot of effort into quality optimisation with a team that has the necessary expertise, we can tackle the problems at the source.
Obviously, we also involve customer service in this. They are responsible for improving the service to customers. By working with them, we can further improve quality. After all, disputes are not only about damage to the goods, but also, for example, about shipments that arrive too late or too early. This cooperation allows us to deal with any complaints more efficiently and quickly.
So the focus is on preventing problems?
That’s right. That’s why, six months ago, I also became a prevention advisor within Transuniverse after about two years of specific training. This task includes not only aspects of health and safety, but also the prevention of accidents in the cross-dock centre and the warehouse, which is closely linked to the prevention of damage. These efforts involve not only our staff, but also our suppliers and subcontractors. We advise them on how to act inside our facilities, how to avoid damage themselves and so on.
Analysis is also an important role of the prevention advisor. If something does happen, we must learn from it. We do this in conjunction with the operations manager and the warehouse manager. On the basis of this analysis, we refine the instructions and set up training to prevent the problems from recurring.
Does the customer also have a role to play in improving quality?
Yes, in the sense that they too can help avoid disputes by paying closer attention to the transport documents. Damage can always occur. If the consignee signs the CMR upon receipt without mentioning the problem, it will be much more difficult to handle the file correctly.
Customers can therefore avoid disputes by making their receiving staff aware of the fact that inspection of the goods upon delivery and correct completion of the transport document are absolutely essential.
Incidentally, damage reporting is necessary at every step in the chain, from collection to delivery via transshipment in the depots. If damage reporting is overlooked, it is extremely difficult to determine where the damage occurred and who is responsible for it. And it also makes it difficult to learn the lessons from it.