The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) developed the Retail Logistics Supply Chain Code of Conduct (RLSC) to provide a structured approach to compliance by setting industry agreed best practice standards.
Due to the rapid uptake of the RLSC, the ALC needed a more efficient solution to handle its compliance needs. ALC worked with compliance software developer Compliance Experts to implement Compliance Checkpoint, a web-based risk and audit solution.
Compliance Checkpoint was developed by Compliance Experts using Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 and the Microsoft .NET Framework 4.0.
Member companies and approved auditors can now perform assessments on-demand via the ALC compliance portal. Additionally, the ALC has streamlined the compliance workflow and has provided greater visibility of compliance requirements to its stakeholders. ALC and its members are better prepared to quickly respond to regulatory changes affecting the T&L sector.
Headquartered in the nation’s capital, Canberra, the Australian Logistics Council is the peak national body representing the major and National companies participating in the Australian freight transport and logistics supply chain.
ALC launched the Retail Logistics Supply Chain (RLSC) Code of Conduct in 2006. The ten-point code supports a clear chain of responsibility in freight logistics, which involves all parties in the operation from the supplier and retailer to the carrier and logistics provider.
The Code provides a rigorous level of protection via a reasonable steps defense in relation to Chain of Responsibility and OHS legislative compliance requirements.
To implement the code, ALC relied on a primarily manual process by external auditors. Soon, inconsistent audit methodologies, outcomes and reporting emerged, and ALC lacked visibility of outcomes across the sector.
Member companies wanted a more consistent and standardized approach with predictable outcomes, and a better process for performing their own self-assessments. The ALC needed better visibility of compliance, and a more flexible system to handle changes in compliance requirements and the rapid growth in uptake of the RLSC.
After an extensive search, ALC enlisted the help of Microsoft Gold Partner Compliance Experts, a leading provider of compliance audit software and compliance audit services. ALC chose to partner with Compliance Experts because of its compliance solution development experience, and deep understanding of the transport and logistics sector. As Paul Molenaar of Compliance Experts states, “Developed using Microsoft .Net and SQL Server technology, Compliance Experts’ solution offers a sector-wide approach to compliance, providing a shared self-service platform for regulators, member organisations, and compliance assessors.”
In the self-regulating system, all code signatories must submit their operations to routine independent audit, and may also make “reasonable enquiry” assessments of associated vendor or transport suppliers to determine compliance with the RLSC.
Audits are conducted by ALC-accredited auditors, with recognized transport safety auditing qualifications. Sharing of audit outcomes by stakeholders in order to bring about continual improvement is encouraged. Ensuring compliance protects the integrity of the RLSC and protects ALC member organizations.
Compliance Experts developed Compliance Checkpoint using Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 and the Microsoft .NET Framework 4.0, a software framework that includes a large library of coded solutions to common programming problems. Compliance Checkpoint runs on Windows Server 2008 Enterprise (64-bit) and Microsoft SQL Server 2008.
With Compliance Checkpoint, ALC has a secure web-based compliance solution allowing:-
- On-demand scheduling of assessments by members;
- Independent assignment of auditors;
- Capture of pay-as-you-go service fees;
- Workflow for the conduct and management of the end-to end auditing and reporting process;
- Standardized audit questionnaires, reports, and issue handling;
- event-driven email reminders;
- Data analysis and sector-wide reporting to support advocacy.
As Michael Kilgariff, ALC, states, “We believe this is a world-first initiative in industry self-regulation, and demonstrates our strong commitment to transport safety to government, our members, and to the T & L sector generally.”
ALC can assign each member and each auditor a unique, secure login to the Compliance Checkpoint system. After members log in to the secure on-demand compliance portal, they can quickly schedule internal self-assessments or external audits and assign approved auditors. Emails alerts automatically keep all parties informed, and the solution presents standardized questionnaires from a centralized library.
Auditors use mobile software to perform field assessments, and are able to attach documentary evidence of compliance.
Members can also perform self-assessments to confirm compliance with the RLSC and other safety requirements, and independently maintain internal users of the system via the portal.
With the improved regulatory compliance process made possible by Compliance Checkpoint, ALC has improved efficiency, streamlined workflow, provided better visibility, and improved flexibility to deal with frequently changing transport and logistics regulations.
ALC receives significant benefits from the built-in self-assessment capabilities of Compliance Checkpoint.
Member companies can perform multi-site self-assessments on the NLSC requirements. Using intelligent questionnaires provided by Compliance Checkpoint, appropriate report content is inserted automatically as responses to questions are entered, and content-rich reports, complete with corrective action plans and statistics, are available once the process has been completed.
Accredited external auditors have access to the same powerful features using Compliance Checkpoint-Mobile – a .NET, Windows based mobile application enabling network-independent field audits.
This has significantly improved the efficiency of existing compliance programs and allows the member companies to focus on areas of concern, as identified by the assessment.
Streamlined Workflow and Improved Visibility
ALC has significantly improved the compliance process with the built-in workflow capability of the Compliance Checkpoint system. This allows configuration of user access and data visibility at different stages of the audit life-cycle. The solution now takes care of visibility of audit reports, and sends out emails with report attachments when various stages of the process are reached. The system also automatically collects payment from members and auditors for the online service and the system has become an important revenue generator for ALC, enabling the implementation of improvement programs for the sector.
ALC has improved its ability to react quickly to changing regulations. The Compliance Checkpoint system can be easily and quickly customized to changes in regulations.
As standards, regulations, and codes of practice frequently change in the T & L arena, ALC has been able to easily adapt to the changes and ensure compliance of all its member companies.
With its new compliance solution, ALC is well positioned to support the anticipated requirements arising from national Transport and OHS harmonization due for implementation across all Australian states and territories.