Keep on Truckin’…..

Note: Truck is left hand drive ….

Only last week, Julia and I spent one day flying up and down the M1, as we sometimes do , checking out services station stations to make sure they were all well and good . We, both, had to use the loos, which brought us to the momentous conclusion that Female Truck drivers were not required . In the Gents there were loads of posters offering vast sums of money to join various happy bands of truckers whilst the Women’s only offered solutions to incontinence . The immediate conclusion on that was that women would not want to become truck drivers as they would be constantly looking for a Loo.

Despite the fact that neither Julia nor I know anyone who has any issue with incontinence , of either sex or age, we bow to knowledge of the great marketing research that must have been carried out by Incontinence solution makers and providers. That said their solutions are that effective then the problem should not be a barrier to entry. So what is ? There are those(men) who say that women can’t navigate . Well GPS, Sat Navs, ensure that the modern day truck driver can find even the most unnavigable farm tracks on their way to some random small town centre. So that’s not a barrier.

Three years ago women accounted for less than 2% of the truck driving community and yet I suspect given an equal opportunity there could be a considerable uptake should pay and conditions( one of the factors that are deterring men plus poor dining facilities, rubbish, showers loos, dodgy lay up areas comparing U.K. conditions vis a vis Europe ). That figure is now 1%. The stats for female commercial pilots in the UK is nearly 5% . Hardly enormous in itself but nevertheless a significant difference. So one can assume Navigation is not the problem. Said skill being somewhat more important for pilots than for truck drivers, there being no road signs in the sky .

Good Truck Cab
Not So Good Cab
Great Truck Stop
Not So Great Truck Stop

Here’s another number I struggle with, 100,000 drivers short . That’s a huge number . It’s more than the entire U.K. British army, nearly twice as big as the Met police, more than BT or Sainsburys total work force . I know it does not mean 100,000 new trucks as it invokes multiple use, shifts etc but it must 15-20,000 or so . Where are they all going to go and on what road? I know The UK motorway system reasonably well , having travelled most if not all of it ( I can quite confidently say that there is not a single stretch of UK motorway I have not driven on)I can vouch that most of the time at 06:00 a.m there is little room for another 1,000 trucks, let alone 15,000. As to when they leave the motorway and head on to the A roads , and then the B’s , and those with dodgy sat navs the odd footpath, well that’s another story.

There is constant guff spoken about short term visas, couple of hundred squaddies, ninety year old retired truckers going back on the road, but I have heard absolutely nothing about encouraging more young females to qualify. Nor have I heard a single word about investing in the infrastructure within which the trucker works .

This is from a BBC news report in 2016

The haulage industry has a shortage of drivers, so the government is urging companies to encourage more women to get behind the wheel.

BBC News Oct 2016

Apart from ‘urge’ the UK Government has done diddly squat.

The UK needs far more haulage drivers on the road to keep the UK moving, with an estimated shortfall of over 50,000 drivers in 2017. Could more women lorry drivers be the answer?

HR GO Recruitment Feb 2019

What has the haulage industry done ? Not a lot. Or if they have , its not terribly successful as the stats don’t show it and nor do the ads in the Motorway services . What has the Government done ? Even less . Sorry not quite true they have offered visas for a few months , hijacked the squaddies (great message to the public don’t panic, there is no shortage, but we will be bringing in the Army) and allowed HGV drivers to drive for a couple of days non stop . Stupid boy there’s the solution… if women don’t start queuing at the cab door allow drivers to drive 24/7 and then you may triple the number of available truck driving hours . Simples !

Keep on truckin’

Eddie Kendricks 1973

Do you eat too much Data?

Err Yes ….bit of a no brainier really. Or at very least it is for me. Only have to meet three people (data) ,and I would have forgotten the name of two within ten minutes . We are awash with it, data that is .

In any business we are constantly being told that the more information (for information read data , its the same thing) you obtain, the better you can operate your business. There is no doubt that there is an element of truth here, but only an element.

Ever since mankind decided it was jolly useful to write stuff down, we have collected data. How we used it depends on who you were or are. Historically the collection of data was rarely used for the general benefit of society. It was more about who or what you owned and just as important how you can increase your ownership and power structure. Many would say that little has changed.

Whatever the motivation data has become increasingly important to the point that it could argued that power wealth and data are inextricably linked . That said it can be argued that society has benefited from its use within areas such as health, education, technology and well being.

We are awash with it and half the time we don’t know what to do with it and the other half we think we do but we don’t really. I am not referring to those of us sat the bottom of the data strata, I am talking about the data giants, the Googles, Facebooks, Amazon et al. Here’s one of my favourites , or rather personal pet hates ( not ‘pet’ hates , as I love pets but ‘hates’ that I love the most ). The super companies who probably accrue more data together than the rest of the world intelligence services. I search for a new telly . I buy one. Meanwhile the cogs at google have been whizzing away saying that I am wildly interested in TV sets. and send me ads for the next six weeks. But I have bough one and you know that as well so what is the point in sucking loads of dosh from companies who are advertising to sell me one when I have already bough the bloody thing. Amazon admit to some sellers they struggle with the counterfeits as there is so much that goes through their market place. If they struggle what does any mortal company do about it.

Covid seems to be the perfect example of incremental amounts of data with bucket loads of organisations interpreting it all in widely different ways , leading to utter confusion and in many cases poorer decision making.

The above image replicates one of the more everyday, and simpler data overloads that many of us face everyday . Every item of data is most probably valid and legitimate but the method of portrayal, imagery and context is likely to lead to misunderstanding, poor decision making and ultimately much worse .

Some Completely Bonkers Data statistics

Here’s a very simple example I made up myself, which will seem obvious (that I made it up).

Man walks into jewellery shop and buys a very expensive piece . He does not speak to anyone or ask any questions , just takes it to the counter, pays for it then walks out .

That transaction is now a piece of data for that retailer. But what use is it ? What was the purpose of the purchase ?what is the customer profile ?

1. He bought it for his Wife

2. He bought it for his Mistress

3. He bought it for his Daughter

4. He is a cross dresser

The list is endless and without further data is really of no help to the retailer as to why certain purchases are made. Its very simple but by being very simple illustrates how very complex data can easily be misread if read at all.

Data accrues data. It feeds on itself . The more there is the more processes that are needed to make use of it and even to determine if its of any use. Worse still is bad data. The data on its own will not have any indicator that it is bad . It is its effect that makes it bad. Viruses are made from using bits of data albeit in a rather nasty way. Combatting bad data is more ‘good’ data.

In 2018 alone, the development of macOS malware tripled. As much as 250,000 new malicious programs are registered every single day, and there are grounds to assume this number will keep growing. A thorough analysis of scans performed by our users revealed that as much as 62% of Macs are infected with viruses (with an average of five infected files per user)

The flow is relentless and will only increase at an exponential rate . Mankind has becoming data obese. Obesity has many side effects . Data obesity has its own hunger and that is energy . It consumes vast quantities of energy . And this is only the beginning.

Bitcoin consumes a similar amount of power to the Netherlands

This suggests that whilst we may all be trying to reducing our energy consumption , data will be out there having an orgy of eating more energy . I am sure that tech guys will find ways of reducing this hungry beast, but they will need to ‘crunch’ a load more data to find the answers.

Most large organisations have CIO’s -Chief Information Officers who report to the CEO. They know the importance of data but whether they are able to really understand it remains to be seen . There have been too many events within the last 10-5 years when events that have occurred because previous data has been ignored or misinterpreted . The financial crisis for 2008 and many would say our current pandemic, are just two.

The obesity crisis in much of the West has been looming for some time (the data has been there). It can be resolved with education, government policy, time, and of course the will. I am not sure data obesity would be as easily solvable.

Data is crucial to every organisation and increasingly to the individual. What is overwhelmingly important is to the evaluation, sourcing, examination and decision making process involved with that analysis. Even within our own market place I have a seem an increasing number of players starting to use data analysis. My concern it is limited to what is happening today or yesterday but it is not very effective in determining what is likely to happen tomorrow .