Nov

Pay attention to the detail

2010-11-01 14:12
A distinct lack of attention to detail is clearly evident in the trucking industry.

Recently I observed this event: I passed a school where the sports master, I assume, was teaching children , I guess eight or nine years olds – to play tennis. But here is the part I liked: The teacher was teaching the kids to bounce tennis balls – WAIT FOR IT – with the FRAME of the racket!

While this might seem pointless, not so! The exercise is conducted to concentrate the children’s minds on accuracy, i.e. on the smaller surface with which to hit the ball! It’s easy to bounce a ball up and down using the full strings area of the racket. However, try just the frame and the concentration has to really kick in. I give this teacher full credit for focusing on accuracy and therefore DETAIL! I enjoyed watching this process!

Why do I mention this? Let’s look at some recent examples in our insurance and transport industry:

We had a claim the other day where a container fell off the “stack’ (three stories) in a container terminal and squashed the truck beneath it – literally. This has not been the first or last time this will happen, I am sure!

The point is: We had the Claim and paid it. However as with all Recoveries these days, we have a small chance of a Recovery notwithstanding that our client seems totally blameless.

The Owner Driver proceeded to tell all and sundry how he had to literally spring out of the truck before he became part of the flattened truck! It is now something of a “big story’ to tell his grandchildren! I think you would agree that a container falling off a stack could be an accident or it could be the result of failed discipline or poor standards.

Here is another example:

Holding things together with wire and string proves this.

Holding things together with wire and string proves this.

I was driving along the M1 and a rigid flatdeck “8 tonner’ had two large pipes loaded. I saw something which jarred. The flatdeck had the normal uprights but suddenly I saw it. There, holding the two pipes in place, “they’ had wedged rocks the size of large melons between the cross bars on the deck and the convex surface of the pipes!

The fact that these rocks could dislodge and become missiles for following traffic was obviously lost on the truck driver, the dispatcher and truck owner, if he was even aware of it!

Holding things together with wire and string proves this.

Holding things together with wire and string proves this.

ManagementI forecast yet another dangerous road hazard and an unwelcome wake up call for the unsuspecting drivers following the truck!!

Why in this country, as a generalization, do we have such a high percentage of people who are totally blasé to safety? Why can’t we have the attitude of the tennis coach?

We pose this question daily and we remain none the wiser for there is a distinct lack of answers. It manifests in all the issues we so often talk about! Like tyres not being uniform on twin fittings! Small maintenance issues that, with a bit of attention to detail, would clean up things significantly!

Mr Tennis coach, please change careers! We need you in the trucking industry!

By Chris Barry, CEO of HCV Underwriting Management

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