Author:jim-ward

For want of a nail

For want of a nail May 6, 2024 There are some valuable lessons to be learnt from nursery rhymes, says Jim Ward. Those lessons – if heeded – can save transport operators a not-so-small fortune. I wonder if young children are being taught nursery rhymes anymore. Probably not. After all, they’re sexist, militarist, mock the obese (Humpty Dumpty is a case in point), glamourise unhealthy eating (dairy,  gluten, non-vegan, blackbirds, pies) and remain non-inclusive towards trans people and pronouns. They […]

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A feather in the cap

A feather in the cap April 2, 2024 We work our equipment hard in Africa; unbelievably hard, in the opinion of some international experts, as JIM WARD discovered… After five weeks travelling around Europe on a knowledge-seeking mission – visiting poultry operations, equipment manufacturers, farms, and processing plants in Holland, Spain, France, and Britain – it was clear to me that South Africa already had a highly efficient and competitive poultry industry. In 2015, South Africa’s feed conversion ratio (FCR) […]

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Give us this day our daily bread

Give us this day our daily bread March 4, 2024 Given the many daily challenges in the logistics game, it will come as no surprise to learn that JIM WARD believes even the most professional managers seldom get everything right. He did, however, encounter one such contract manager in his career… In the logistics game, we seldom get everything right: not some of it, or even most of it, but all of it. The synergies only appear when different departments […]

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Trailer chaos at the edge of the world

Trailer chaos at the edge of the world January 22, 2024 It is often said that when youngsters are playing nicely, the noise level may vary but there is a general hubbub. This is quite normal; it’s nothing to worry about. It’s when things go quiet that you need to start worrying. The same, writes JIM WARD, can be true of the transport game. Occasionally, remote contracts may go a bit quiet. This can give the impression that everything is […]

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Finding fumeiyo

Finding fumeiyo November 14, 2023 The Japanese phrase “fumeiyo yori shi” is composed of the words 不名誉 (“fumeiyo” meaning “dishonour”), より (“yori” meaning “more than; rather than”), and 死 (“shi” meaning “death”). So, death before dishonour. This was a phrase that sprang to mind when JIM WARD encountered some foreign visitors who struggled to comprehend local criminal habits. It’s not only difficult clients, perishable loads, accidents, and remote breakdowns that grind people down in this industry, it’s also striving to hold […]

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Bidding farewell to old friends

Time to bid farewell October 9, 2023 When is it time to say goodbye to a truck? JIM WARD says that old trucks cannot be retained for sentimental value. If they no longer perform reliably or add value to a transport operation, it may be time to let that beloved truck go. Having spare trucks in the yard is an anathema to most CEOs; top executives tend to get annoyed when they find pockets of underutilised assets. Managers are expected […]

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How to react when someone drops the ball

How to react when someone drops the ball September 12, 2023 Employees within the transport sector make mistakes, as indeed do individuals in any other sector. How should managers or superiors react? JIM WARD has the answer. There are numerous ways of addressing poor performance. The most frequently used approach is still, I suspect, a traditional one in the transport sector: defecation from a dizzy height. This can help to vent one’s frustration, but usually only brings temporary relief. If […]

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Hell hath no fury

Hell hath no fury August 8, 2023 One of the joys of running a fleet is dealing with the drivers – and sometimes their wives. JIM WARD recalls an unforgettable experience with the latter… There was a time when company hostels were commonplace. It meant that drivers could be collected from one address, and you could always find them in emergencies. The hostel we rented was like a huge rabbit warren: an old-fashioned, spacious, double storey residence, divided up internally […]

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We don’t talk anymore

We don’t talk anymore July 6, 2023 Do you believe that trucks “talk” to drivers, or that roads “talk” to trucks? JIM WARD believes that a lack of talking can cause accidents.  Road accidents and investigations into their causes have evolved into their own subject. One of the clearest possible descriptions of a truck accident was shared with me by a technical colleague. At the time, we were required to produce highly detailed accident reports. Specialist staff would investigate major […]

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Garlic, beetroot and breakdowns

Garlic, beetroot and breakdowns June 5, 2023 It’s easy to forget the details now, but JIM WARD reveals that managing transport during the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Southern Africa was one of the most challenging periods of his career. Between 1998 and 2006, I knew of depots in some provinces that were losing employees almost every month, despite the Mbeki presidency’s insistent adherence to its stance of AIDS denialism. As Amy Roeder, the development communications coordinator in the Office for Resource […]

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