Measurement vs. Management

Written by Tom Flaten, Thorn Valley Safety

Plenty of theory exists regarding the relationship between the two business fundamentals of Measurement vs. Management - e.g. Whether one can, or can’t exist without the other; Unmeasurable intangibles which must still be managed, etc. There’s even debate about the phrase "If it’s not measured, it can’t be managed" and who that is attributable to. Many say this principal is overused, misapplied, or even potentially harmful towards running a business. Regardless, as Fleet Safety and Loss Control professionals, we do our fair share of measuring and attempt to reduce crash rates. Recent crash statistics have increased since 2015 after years of steady decline.

"The word luck is devoid of sense – nothing occurs without a cause" (Voltaire)

A good safety program includes a process for "root cause" analysis. While "preventability" is the true quest, we hear many of our clients use the term "at fault". Semantics aside, either infers that human behavior (error) was a leading contributor. Unfortunately the question of "why did the driver do that?" often goes unasked until the crash aftermath (lagging indicator). Although crash measurement is widely recognized as a valid (and regulated) management practice, we suggest that management by lagging indicators alone is not a proper way to run the business.

"Safety is who we are when no one else is looking."

The Risk Associated Behavior (RAB) that can lead to driving errors and crashes is a product of poor driving habits developed over time. While each RAB does not result in a crash, when a crash does occur, RAB is likely involved. In theory, if RAB can be identified, measured and managed, it can be remediated before a crash can occur (leading indicator). The following article presents many good points, ideas and best practices regarding crash causation, driver behavior management, and telematics.

How to Keep Fleet Accident Rates Low Read More.

Let your workers know that driving is the most dangerous workplace activity they will ever engage in. And let management know that, the smaller the fleet, the more damaging RAB can be to the company’s bottom line (at Thorn Valley we’ve seen instances of a single crash forcing a company to close its doors). So even if the "fleet" is a single vehicle, all the more reason to learn about and leverage the technology available today to measure driver behavior and manage by leading indicator, as opposed to lagging. Contact Thorn Valley for more information regarding driver safety programs, telematics and risk management services. And please remember to tell all of your drivers that the most dangerous mile they will ever drive - is the next one. The same with crashes – the most preventable one – is the next one. Be safe!