Progress in SilkThread 2015

2015 was a busy year for SilkThread®, with new users coming on board and their feedback contributing to improvements. We trained 15 new consultants and increased our community of active SilkThread® users and depots.

Since its launch in 2014, SilkThread® has been used by transport companies to audit their O Licence compliance – but the way that each company worked has been different. Our new clients in 2015 have contributed to the enhancements to SilkThread. As a result, we have seen that the way they have each used SilkThread® to address their own issues has been different. Their feedback has definitely helped to make SilkThread® work for different sorts of organisations and their unique workflow structures.

Enhancement in 2015 have been:

1. Sampling
Sampling functionality enables the user to present a portion of any data reviewed as part of a spot check or self audit. So, in the case of an audit of the number of infringements of a company’s driving staff, instead of uploading a very large file, a sample of the evidence can be seen from within SilkThread by an audit checker. They can also download the file. The result is that the audit checker can see the credibility of the data, and not just a tick box to say that it has been checked.


2. Add Actions for internal audibility
During an audit, the auditor may find that he needs more information, or a specific action, from a colleague. SilkThread®’s “Add Action” feature allows this information or action to be requested by the auditor. The user assigned the action is sent an email and the action is logged in SilkThread®. Actions may be designated as critical or non-critical to compliance status.


3. Ability to add company Knowledge Bank documents
Whilst SilkThread® comes with a Knowledge Bank, packed with guidance and templates, we found that some organisations want to reinforce their own standards and procedures. The “Client’s Documents” section of SilkThread® can be easily loaded with a company’s internal documents, processes and templates. It’s also a great way to start aligning processes across multiple depots and also to store training material for auditors or transport clerks.


4. Updated Depot Dashboard
SilkThread® allows you to see the compliance status of a depot. The figure a user sees in the doughnuts on the depot dashboard in SilkThread® is a snapshot in time, and made up of two components:

  1. The Compliance Foundation (previously initial review / gap analysis), and
  2. answers to the current audit (previously called a check-up).

The new updated dashboard breaks the Overall Status figure down into these component figures, showing where users need to focus to improve their depot’s status. Over 2016 we will be adding more and more help text to support users as to the necessary action.


5. SilkThread® updated with information and new Statutory Documents issued by the Traffic Commissioner in December 2015
One of the benefits of SilkThread® is that it is updated with changes to guidance and legislation to ensure you remain compliant.. Without much fanfare, new Statutory Documents were released by the Traffic Commissioner in mid December, for implementation from the 1st of January 2016. These documents have an impact on the way that Traffic Commissioners will interact with Operators, potentially exposing the Operators to danger through non-compliance. Being aware of the contents of these new documents can help Operators to protect themselves, and run a more compliant operation. The questions in SilkThread®, and the advice in its Knowledge Bank have been updated to reflect these changes, meaning that users can refer to it with confidence.


6. Multiple evidence
SilkThread® allows you to upload supporting files (such as images and spreadsheets) for use as evidence, as well as the text comments and web links that a user may want to insert. In 2015 we made changes to SilkThread® to allow the upload of multiple items of evidence. All evidence is viewable for anybody checking the audit.


7. Email alerts and reminders
A busy transport clerk tasked with completing the audit might begin using SilkThread® with good intentions. But if they get assigned another task in this time, their attention could be taken away from the audit. SilkThread® now gently reminds the user that an audit is overdue, open, and when it will close. This allows the user to organise their time, allowing enough resources to complete the audit.


New changes planned for 2016

2016 promises to be a busy year for SilkThread® with further enhancements to functionality planned. Please continue to let us know what you think of our changes; your feedback helps us to improve the system for everyone.