In line with October’s National Transport Month theme of ‘Together we move South Africa forward’, Mercedes-Benz South Africa (MBSA) supported City Logistics in launching the Fleet Owner Workplace Programme. City Logistics is a logistics solutions provider with a nationwide and cross border footprint that operates more than 250 vehicles.
FleetWatch cannot praise highly enough the valuable contribution MBSA and its partner organisations are making to the trucking industry via this programme which places fleet owners and drivers at the forefront by putting truck driver health and safety on centre stage. The essence of the programme is to assist fleet owners in taking an holistic approach to employee health and wellness, based on a proven model.
The programme itself is an extension of the MBSA workplace wellness strategy that has been putting the company’s employees first for over a decade, adding to the automotive giant’s ability to achieve profitable growth and contribute to the socio-economic success of the country. MBSA is a global leader in employee wellness, with a string of local and international awards, most notably the International Business Association Stevie Award in 2004 and 2010. Collaboration remains an important catchphrase for MBSA as the company strives for the sustainability of the transport sector in South Africa, with employee wellbeing as a key contributor.
MBSA’s leading role in this regard started in the late 1990’s as a response to the debilitating effect of HIV and AIDS on productivity and has since expanded in focus to encompass health and wellness holistically. This includes a focus on lifestyle ailments such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases. Dr Clifford Panter, manager for Health, Safety, Compensation and Benefits at MBSA comments: “Our drive for excellence translates into benchmark achievements in the field of occupational health and safety. However, pockets of excellence can never be sustainable so for more than two decades now, we have made it a mission to share the lessons we have learned around employee health management with businesses and communities around us. This is based on our first-hand experience of the benefits of a healthy workforce to the sustainability of our business.”
A case in point is the Siyakhana and Trucking Wellness projects that MBSA has supported as part of its corporate social responsibility programme for many years. The former lends workplace wellness support to small and medium enterprises around MBSA’s production plant in East London and, as mentioned above, the latter targets the road freight industry in collaboration with its partner, the Corridor Empowerment Project (CEP).
Let’s take a closer look at the Fleet Owner Workplace Programme, the concept of which came about as a result of MBSA’s involvement in the Trucking Wellness project, an initiative of the National Bargaining Council of the Road Freight and Logistics Industry (NBCRFLI). The Trucking Wellness project provides an education and basic health care service to truck drivers along the major freight routes in southern Africa. This includes the dissemination of information, testing and treatment of HIV and Aids and other lifestyle illnesses.
A need was identified to provide a more holistic approach to the management of health and wellness on the part of the fleet owners. As a provider of transport solutions to the freight industry, MBSA is able to support fleet customers and their truck drivers with an additional benefit that will enhance their sustainability and profitability. Key outcomes of the Fleet Owner Workplace Programme are:
• To increase understanding around – and reduce the impact of – HIV and Aids and other lifestyle diseases.
• To increase capacity to prevent and manage the diseases.
• To benefit employee health, life expectancy and job retention.
• To provide information, education and screening around health issues.
• To assist fleet owners to develop, implement, monitor and evaluate a sustainable Workplace Wellness Programme, including the development of policies, systems and processes.
Kobus van Zyl, executive director of Daimler Trucks and Buses South Africa, explains the reason behind MBSA’s decision to expand its value add service to the commercial vehicle sector. “South Africa’s trucking industry forms the veins and arteries of the economic heart of this country, pumping prosperity to our people. The accomplishments of the trucking sector are also the success of Daimler Trucks and Buses South Africa and as a flourishing commercial vehicle supplier, we cannot disregard the varied issues that affect the larger trucking community. Healthy, skilled truck drivers are but one of the issues which we have chosen to throw our weight behind as a corporate thought leader,” says Van Zyl.
City Logistics is committed to the health and wellbeing of the company’s employees, particularly the drivers. “City Couriers is proud to be involved in the Staff Wellness Programme as we fully support empowering personnel with knowledge to prevent and deal effectively with health issues, be it themselves or family members. Employees are the key to a successful organisation and we are confident that such a programme will ensure employees maintain good health in the long-term,” says Anthony Naicker, transport director of City Logistics.
“We applaud Mercedes-Benz South Africa for driving such an initiative on behalf of the road freight and logistics industry in South Africa. Through the invaluable educational workshops, our staff understand the reasons and consequences of current health issues and receive the necessary support through the on-going wellness monitoring process.”
This article was originally published in the Fleetwatch Magazine.