We feel that his service provides real value for money, and although no-one likes paying a bill, I can honestly say I have never received what I would consider to be an extortionate invoice for the service provided.

Confidence and trust: those are two words that sum up the relationship between Amic Haulage and Dyne Solicitors Limited.

Crewe-based Amic was founded more than 20 years ago by Michael Smith, who originally ran the business as a sole trader before it became a private limited company in early 2000.

The company has around 20 employees and a fleet of 15 wagons, which cover thousands of miles each week undertaking contracts for two key clients delivering animal feed and porridge oats across the UK.

The complex and regularly-changing regime of regulations governing haulage operations, mean that it is essential for businesses like Amic to make sure the procedures it implements are always up to date and fully compliant with current statute, to ensure it is always trading on the right side of the law. Four years ago, Amic’s drive for compliance led to John Dyne, of Dyne Solicitors Limited, whom company secretary Linda Palin knew by reputation as a haulage specialist.

She says: “At the time, we thought our procedures were watertight, but John identified several areas where they could and indeed should be more effective, covering all aspects from driver training right through to the internal procedures utilised to record such measures as drivers’ daily defect checks etc. Now, I am confident that we are doing all that we can as a company to comply with current statute and ensure the safety of both our drivers and the general public”.

For example, Amic’s drivers have always been required to carry out a daily walk around check of their vehicle to make sure there are no potential safety hazards arising from issues such as loose wheel nuts or an empty windscreen washer bottle etc., before moving their vehicles off-site, recording the results on a ticklist.

Linda says: “The procedure is designed to give us peace of mind that every vehicle is roadworthy. As a responsible employer we train our drivers in the checks, and instil the importance of them, but the reality is that we simply cannot watch over every driver, every day, to make sure the checks are carried out thoroughly.

“John told us we weren’t doing enough. We needed to undertake impromptu audits of the daily walk around checks, turning up unannounced, sometimes at 3am or 4am as required, to periodically watch every driver run through his or her daily check. Only once the walk around check has been completed are the drivers approached to let them know whether or not we are happy with the way they are fulfilling this requirement. Now every driver is audited every four to six weeks as a minimum.

“Hence, our drivers know that they could be audited at any time, and having this discipline in place means the checks are more likely to be done, and done properly. Our Drivers’ Handbook also now clearly states that failure to carry out the daily walk around check properly is a sackable offence.”

Other measures introduced on John’s advice include adding telltales to the wheel nuts on all of the wagons in Amic’s fleet, which provide a visual indicator that a nut might have loosened, making the driver check easier and revising the company’s Drivers’ Handbook to incorporate additional sections outlining procedures to prevent axle overloads.

Linda and Mick also appreciate the regular seminars John runs on different aspects of haulage operations. Linda says: “Obviously we make every effort to keep pace with all the regulatory changes as and when they are introduced, but we know we can rely on John to extract the implications that are relevant to our business and to convey this information to us in a simple and timely fashion. It’s also great that John is prepared to share any learnings from his dealings with other clients. Whilst for reasons of professionalism and confidentiality, he would obviously never divulge the client’s name, he will say: ‘Someone was stopped for this, let’s make sure it doesn’t happen to you’.

“We feel that his service provides real value for money, and although no-one likes paying a bill, I can honestly say I have never received what I would consider to be an extortionate invoice for the service provided.”

“Thanks to John, I believe that the procedures we now have in place ensure we are fully compliant with the regulatory requirements incumbent on the haulage business and I have every faith that with his ongoing support, we will remain so.”