Since its foundation in 1866 as the Anglo-Swiss Condensed Milk Company, Nestlé has evolved into one the world’s leading food companies. Nestlé Mexico is focused on nutrition, health and wellbeing, producing and distributing food and beverages including chocolate, ice cream, cereals, coffee, culinary products, water, dairy products, food for babies and pet food. It has locations all over Mexico, with 12 plants and 34 distribution centres serviced by a fleet of 3,900 cars, trucks, buses and motor cycles used for sales, delivery and employee transport.
SIX out of ten road deaths worldwide take place in just 12 countries, one of which is Mexico. Every year some 24,000 people lose their lives on Mexico’s potholed roads, almost double the number that die at the hands of its drug mafias. A further 600,000 are injured. The World Health Organisation believes that Mexico has some of the most dangerous roads in Latin America. Limited licencing and testing, speed limits, helmet wearing, seatbelts, child-seats, drink driving, texting and mobile phone use are all cited as significant risk factors – with laws that are poorly enforced.
In total Nestlé Mexico has 1,900 drivers on its payroll, including its sales team, executives and plant personnel – who are all exposed to the risks identified. Further, it hires third party personnel to operate delivery vehicles, who are also included in the program described. Nestlé Mexico implemented the following prevention-base safe driving program:
- In-classroom courses about defensive driving for supervisors, sales force and contractors.
- Distribution of printed material about safe driving through the intranet to all personnel.
- Permanent analysis of statistical information on collisions to determine deviations.
- Strengthened vehicle purchase criteria, to include safety, environmental impact and security.
- Safe and defensive driving module integrated into training courses for sales personnel.
- Implemented Virtual Risk Manager (VRM) across all businesses including contract drivers.
Given the road risks identified in Mexico, Nestlé has been highly innovative in an environment where there is limited regulation or enforcement and few other business or government organisations have adopted such a risk led approach to road safety. With support from Nestlé Risk Group in Switzerland, Nestlé Mexico has been an early adopter and innovator with regards all 6 measures listed above, particularly in its application of online tools through VRM.
To make this process a success, Nestlé Mexico and IDS partnered around the following industry leading project implementation process:
- Designated a committee for the VRM implementation.
- Customised all program materials including Nestlé Safe Driving Policies, Golden Rules and Pledge to local language, cultural needs, policies and standards.
- Training on the use of VRM tool for all relevant Managers and Supervisors.
- Unlimited support from Nestlé leadership through designated Vice President as project ‘Champion’, supported with a notice addressed to all personnel informing them about the importance of the project.
- Creation of local ‘Call Center’ for direct technical support for VRM participants.
- Development of a collision/incident registry system for monitoring.
- Use of all marketing and communication channels to promote a Safe Driving Culture.
- Recurrent meetings with the implementation committee to review progress, participation and follow up.
Nestlé Mexico, worked particularly closely with Interactive Driving Systems’ Mexico City based Regional Operations Manager for Latin America Estrella Bonales. The focus has been on a phased VRM roll-out for three important groups of drivers: (1) Employees who drive company vehicles, (2) Contractors driving a company vehicle and (3) Contractors driving their own vehicles.
This program followed the proven global Nestlé / IDS partnership based approach, customised to local needs for Mexico into the following phased program.
- Phase 1: Safety Culture: Customised online Nestlé Privacy Notice, Safety Pledge and Risk Foundation modules to ensure all Managers and drivers understand what is required of them in relation to road safety.
- Phase 2: Defensive Driver Coaching: Incorporating online RiskCOACH: 10-4 DEFENSE module to bring all drivers up to a basic level of defensive driving.
- Phase 3: Driver Risk Assessment: applying RoadRISK to assess each driver’s exposure and attitude.
- Phase 4: RiskCOACH: Relevant online coaching modules focusing on issues such as attitude, speed and driver distraction rolled-out as required.
- Phase 5: Benchmarking: On-going use of the VRM online DataHUB management information system including the DriverINDEX and driver / Manager OneToOne process.
The outcomes from this innovative management-led, partnership-based program are reflected in reductions in fatalities (3 to 0), injuries (48%), collisions (39%), claims frequency (22%) and costs over 12 months.
Another measureable outcome from the project has seen IDS / Nestlé Mexico invited to share its results with others by presenting the following paper:
- Bonales E, Dubens E & Murray W. Driver risk assessment, monitoring and improvement for at-work drivers in Latin America. Paper invited for presentation at the 30th Congress of the International Commission on Occupational Health (ICOH), March 18-23, 2012, Cancun, Mexico http://icoh.confex.com/icoh/2012/webprogram/Session2848.html
As well as safety improvements and cost reductions, these outcomes are excellent for Nestlé for a number of brand, reputational and corporate reasons. They are also good for road safety in general by helping to raise the importance and potential of work-related road safety at the national level and by sharing proven good practices with others.
Overall, the Nestlé Mexico case shows that:
- Work related road safety is a significant risk, and an important conduit for community road safety.
- Using driver risk assessment, monitoring & improvement programs to help create a crash free culture has potential for both business and road safety policy.
- Effective tools, leadership and partnerships are for vital for successful work-related programs.
Nestlé Mexico was recently acknowledged for its program at the annual Brake Fleet Safety Forum awards.