The Age of Uncertainty

If you listen to the many economic pundits who are forecasting a potentially negative outcome of the forthcoming EU referendum; together with the effect on the world economy of the current downturn in China and the rise in oil pricing, you may come to a conclusion that the business world has entered an unprecedented age of uncertainty.

Uncertainty in the road transport industry, however, is not a new concept with emission legislation, driver shortages, volatile fuel costs and increased compliance requirements combining to affect the performance of many operations.

In this age of uncertainty managing for improved business performance in the road transport industry has, therefore, never been more challenging

It is timely, therefore, that Aston Business School’s Servitisation Centre has recently researched the challenges and barriers involved in the adoption of advanced services. In particular telematic services which are the basis of modern fleet management working practise. The research focuses on how ready organisations are to adopt new working practices and how effective the use of new technology, such as telematics, is in their search for greater certainty and control over their business.

The research has highlighted four key issues which will need further management focus in order to improve business performance and reduce business uncertainty. They are as follows:

The cultural and organisational challenge. There appears to be a resistance to changing organisational structure or business practices to accommodate new technology and this resistance often has consequences with regard to the culture within the organisation.

The risk challenge. The research has highlighted the risk with regard to data integrity, data protection and who actually owns the data.

The value creation challenge. There appears to be some difficulty in assessing the value creation and a reluctance to share value, which may have implications for partnership development.

The industry standards challenge. There are so many fragmented standards across the industry, with many lobby groups claiming the high ground of performance benchmarks and compliance, but it seems necessary to develop a set of common standards that act as benchmarks for business improvement and this may need further government involvement.

There is an opportunity to test the degree of uncertainty within the industry at the Microlise Transport Conference in May by putting these issues in front of the audience and asking  for their opinions.  It will be interesting to test if the barriers and challenges to further adoption of advanced services, the like of which are supplied by Microlise, is as significant as the Aston research suggests. If it is then the age of uncertainty is certainly with us!

The full research findings are yet to be published, but we’ll keep you posted.