To Err Is Human... (and a Management Challenge)

The quotation in the title comes from the poet Alexander Pope in his 1711 “Essay on Criticism”. Although, to be fair, he said nothing about challenges for management!

He didn’t add that errors can also cause confusion; damage to business reputation; and, potentially, a loss of revenue. But the reality for modern business is that they can do just that, and this is especially the case in a highly competitive and fast-moving industry sector such as freight transport.

To Assume Makes An.......

As an example, think about a lorry delivering a consignment of bricks, stacked on pallets, to a small building site. The transport company have assumed that the builders will have a forklift truck available to unload the bricks – but, unfortunately, they don’t. Their building project is too small to warrant the use of such equipment.

And the builders, for their part, have simply assumed that the truck will be fitted with a loader crane to discharge the bricks – but it isn’t.

So, why didn’t the builders think to specify the need for such a crane when they arranged the delivery? Well, the answer to that is very simple: nobody thought to ask them.

Consequently, what should have been a routine day has turned into chaos: a driver stranded 60 miles from his depot; with a load he can’t deliver; and a very irate client.

What went wrong?

When you look at things more closely, it’s clear to see that seemingly reasonable assumptions were made on both sides. But, unfortunately, these same assumptions meant that key information about how the delivery was to be achieved was completely missed. And bedlam was then bound to follow!

Days such as this can be avoided if you have an understanding both of how errors, such as assumptions and missing information, can occur, and how you can avoid them. You can learn about these topics, and many others, in the forthcoming 1-day course:

“Understanding & Managing Human Error – Essential Skills For The Transport Manager”

Published on Oct 24, 2023 by Gareth Cartman