Pete Cochrane

A Different Point of View

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Writing Content

Writing content for this blog is not an easy task I have found out. I am a firm believer in giving as accurate a picture of a given subject as possible, without short changing the reader with an incomplete point of view. This means unfortunately that sometimes new content may not happen every week, but might result in some weeks where two new articles appear. I have a lot of subject matter under construction and hopefully you the reader, will find it thought provoking and entertaining. The world is changing very quickly, and in my humble opinion not for the better. A few world leaders that should possess thoughtful and progressive interactions with other countries, seem to want to take random and dangerous action against other countries that don’t have the same views. This makes the future look very bleak on a global scale, plus Brexit is happening whether we like it or not. It doesn’t matter if we wanted to stay or go, a democratic decision was made and we have to go with the result.
So in this changing World, we as individuals have to find a way of being better at what we do, or even invent or do things that nobody else has done. In other words we must conquer the world through innovation and entrepreneurship. I hope in a small way I can help you see things from a different point of view, because some of the skills I have picked up over the years, have taught me that no problem is insurmountable, you just need to reframe it.

Telematics Stress – A Modern Problem.

Telematics Data
Telematics Data

With all the current media attention on mental health, I wonder if anyone has considered the mental health of truck drivers? We are under stress from bad driving by other road users, tight delivery schedules, constant fear of the Police and VOSA even when you always drive for a one hundred percent legal operation, safety, security and now to add to this little list of stressful sources, we suffer a constant barrage of telematics league tables and must try harder letters and comments.

This is an industry wide problem that has not been sufficiently scrutinised to understand the effects on a driver. In my experience telematics data is tolerated for a short while by drivers before they lose interest because no matter what they do, they can’t get to the top of the league table. I have arrived at this conclusion after listening to drivers I work with and also many other drivers from numerous companies during conversations while tipping or loading at places.

Maybe a more productive way of gaining acceptance for telematics data and any subsequent improvements would be to incorporate a module in an annual CPC training event covering the various headings within telematics and how each of them affect a drivers score. Furthermore, instead of using league tables as a means of measurement, encourage drivers to use individual telematics data as a tool for personal improvement.

Personally, the league tables mean nothing to me as the results depend on the load weight, trailer size, weather and route at the very least. The person I want to drive better than the most is ME! For years I have recorded my trip data every day. This includes the trailer number and type, weather conditions, load, time taken, speed, MPG, fuel used and route. If you build up a consistent record over a period of time, a pattern emerges and anomalies such as if the truck is sick or the trailer doesn’t run as freely as another does becomes clearer. I consider that as a professional driver it is my duty to improve wherever I can. I learn every day even after nearly forty years as a truck driver, and will continue to do so, as it is a vital part of gaining and building on experience. Failures are only failures if you don’t learn from mistakes, and we all make mistakes no matter how much experience we have. That is why challenging yourself by keeping a record of your performance is so valuable and something all drivers should be encouraged to do.

The industry is a wash with training and often results unintentionally in most cases, of putting unnecessary pressure or stress upon drivers to perform based upon telematics data, but another aspect to consider is whether your data has a close relationship with exactly what your vehicle is doing. If it isn’t set up correctly, its possible you are being unnecessarily hard on a driver or drivers. It’s worth remembering that your truck has cost you a lot of money and drivers are your businesses most valuable asset as they are entrusted with your truck and also the people that come face to face with your customers. A vital reason to try and keep them happy.

The human race is made up of intensely competitive beings and no matter how many drivers say they are not interested in telematics data, nearly all are to some degree. Usually the negativity to the data seems to be related to their position on a league table and I suspect from questions that I am asked, is because they don’t know how to improve their score.

If more emphasis was given to encouraging drivers to compete against their own scores and comprehensive training given to demonstrate how data changes depending on the driving style used, I believe a fleet wide improvement would be a result.

The modern phenomena of measuring everything to within an inch of its life, creates an unpleasant feeling of always being watched by big brother, and depending on the character or personality of the person policing a persons performance, can lead to resentment and a feeling of distrust to a driver by a company with a knock on effect of poorer performance than they are capable of.

It’s not difficult with the right motivation to improve fuel economy by one percent and in a lot of cases to improve even further than that. Imagine what you could save over a year by finding a way that motivates your drivers to improve without them feeling oppressed?

Maybe the only way is to measure the results!

If You Have A Passion – Just Do It

I have an urgent message for you. If you have a dream or a passion follow it without distraction.

From day one it was a struggle financially as I had very little money when I started. As my outfit got bigger so did the workload, and as I started employing more drivers, so did the headaches of keeping the trucks moving and legal. Anyway, to cut a long story short, my knowledge of the business allowed me to see via my projections that transport was starting to decline as legislation became tougher. So I decided to sell up, on the premise that I would find a new business venture. Initially, I wondered if I had done the right thing but felt vindicated a couple of years later when road haulage in the U.K. Did take a dive for the small operator.

I went back to college and studied advanced application programming, passed all my exams and promptly decided that I probably couldn’t sit in an office all day programming. So I got my thinking head on again and believe it or not a few weeks later, a job as a truckie for a top British Superbike team came along. This in turn led to a job working for a support company supplying manpower and solutions in MotoGP for another top team, and then into Formula 1 supporting a very well know Italian team with red cars, that had a very skilled German driver working for them at the time. This job took me all over the World, working in many areas of Motorsport at a very high standard of work. Some years later, travelling had lost its lustre and I yearned to be home with my long suffering wife and kids more.

I wanted to start another business but still couldn’t think of what to do. Needing money to support my family, I went back to driving a truck for a large company. Thirteen years later and in my sixtieth year, I am still driving a truck for a large company albeit a different one, and I still yearn for my own business again despite still not knowing what I want to do.

Life seemed to last forever in my twenties, thirties and forties, but when you get in to your sixties, the years become a blur as they pass. This doesn’t mean I’ve stopped searching for my next adventure and I am sure the next chapter of my life’s journey is not far away.
So my message to you is follow your dream, follow your passion, take a chance while you are young. Life is but a blur as time goes by and the worst thing that can happen to you, is to get to your death bed wishing you had taken a chance.

I don’t have too many regrets as I have done many things that other people would have loved to have done. None of it has been easy though, also I still have that niggling feeling that I haven’t achieved my full potential, and that I have to leave my mark on this world as a legacy if nothing else. As Sir Richard Branson says ” Screw it, let’s do it”. It’s a worthy sentiment.

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