The Problem with Management Information

My local taxi company has been taken over.  It has been bought out by Taxi-Rank Services PLC.

They have started to apply big business thinking to a small business.

It is a revelation.

As you know, “what gets measured gets managed” so the first job, post take-over, was to apply a little science to their management information.


Management Information the Taxi-Rank Way

Yesterday my driver turned up.  He had his weekly management dashboard printed out on the chair next to him.  Being a management type myself I had to have a little look, (professional interest).  It read like this:


  • Current miles per hour ~ target 70mph (made sense, at least for every taxi I have ever ridden in)
  • Average miles per hour (today and month to date)
  • Kilometres per hour ~ target 70kph (target not too cleverly thought through)
  • Inches per second (fine detail metric)
  • Furlongs per fortnight (historic metric N.B. for ease of comparison 1 furlong / fortnight = 0.000372 miles / hour, I think)

Fuel consumption:

  • Litres per hour
  • Miles per gallon
  • Gallons per mile (presumably for American taxis, not entirely sure if this is Imperial or US gallons)

Management controls:

  • Wiper speed ~ swishes per minute
  • Ride Quality ~ dirty, lumpy, bumpy or sickening
  • Driver responsiveness ~ words per minute intelligible words per minute

The driver spent more time looking at his targets than at the road and we came to a juddering halt half way to my destination because nobody had thought to include a fuel warning light in his MI.


Many a true word said in jest

I must apologise,  I am being flippant, but when was the last time you critiqued your management information?  I bet you will find: unclear conflicting targets, badly defined measures, multiple measurements of the same thing, irrelevant information and the odd gaping hole (not too many I hope).

If you ever take up driving a taxi, all you need is a speedometer, a fuel warning light and a fare meter.

What should the list look like for your business?

To learn more about Operations Analysis visit James Lawther’s web site

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