Human resources portal to serve small Quebec fleets

by Carroll McCormick

MONTREAL, Que. – By June, smaller Quebec trucking companies will be able to store, access and analyze their human resources information on a Web portal. Its purpose is to give smaller fleets a complete HR management system that they may not be able to otherwise afford, but which will help them more efficiently operate the HR side of their businesses.

The portal and its tools have been under development for the past two years by Camo-route Inc., an industry sector council created by the road transportation industry and financed by the Quebec government to quantify the industry’s personnel needs, qualifications and required training practices.

“We have it in our mandate to make a diagnostic of the HR situation in our industry every five years. One thing that comes out, mainly with the smaller firms, with from 10-80 drivers, is that they are too big not to have HR tools, but too small to afford to buy systems that are available,” says Claude Chouinard, Camo-route’s director general.

Each fleet that signs up to use the portal will be given its own account, which includes computer storage space on a Camo-route server, analytical tools and the electronic forms and documents they need for agencies like the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the Quebec Transport Commission and the Societe de l’assurance automobile du Quebec, as well as for vehicles and maintenance systems. Fleets will also obtain all the regulated documents needed to complete files, such as driver files, road tests, hiring procedures and job descriptions.

Camo-route is considering three pricing scenarios: Per-person pricing; An annual cost per company, each of which can then use the portal as much as it wants and; Per-use. Camo-route’s board of directors had not reached a pricing decision by press time but, says Chouinard, “As a non-profit organization whose principle mandate is to serve the transportation industry, it will be a cost-recovery operation. Any surplus will be used to increase the services on the portal. I would say the cost to the fleets will be about 60% of what it would cost for paper files from suppliers specialized in documents you need for government purposes.”

Chouinard notes that the cost of paper forms is about $200 per person per year for a 25-person fleet.

“Most suppliers charge $25 per form kit. With the portal the form kits will be available.”

On top of the paper costs, fleets also bear the labour cost of pulling files, entering information and putting them back.

The portal is designed to replace the time-consuming job of handling paper files with an electronic filing system. This will reduce these manual tasks to filling out electronic forms on the computer and pressing the save button on the computer. Files and information can be retrieved, modified and printed with the same ease.

One labour-saving shortcut, for instance, is the automatic population of relevant forms after keying in information once: “If I look at the paper files that I do complete, it is time-consuming to put a single piece of information into multiple forms. With the portal, any piece of information entered will automatically populate all the forms on which they must appear,” says Chouinard.

Other shortcuts are offered by what one could call ‘smart tools.’ One will enable fleets to enter information on new contracts they are considering, and then see an analysis of the costs and profits associated with such a contract. The tool will give the fleet an idea of what it would take to serve a contract of a certain size; e.g., trucks, drivers, mechanics, dispatcher, payroll supervisor and what profits, finally, this investment is likely to reap. A fleet may be considering a $5 million contract, but have to borrow to buy equipment, hire drivers, hire new mechanics – the tool will calculate the costs and profits before the fleet signs the contract.

Another tool creates job descriptions – skill sets – based on the tasks that are checked off in a tool form.

The portal computer can then generate documents for the job interviews, including questions based on the job description it created. Interviewees’ answers will be keyed in and the computer will assign scores to the applicants. The inspiration for this tool is the observation that job interviews are frequently not well-documented, according to Chouinard.

The portal will allow the efficient noting of the dates and types of driver infractions that occur and dates corrective action was taken, which can be easily-retrieved if needed later.

This portal complements a training portal Camo-route already operates.

It expects to be offering a Web-based computerized maintenance management system next year. Contact information for Camo-route can obtained from its Web site at

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