Buenos Dias Tash Appreciators,
For one reason or another, targets have been on my mind this week. For example, scenes like this got me thinking:
I use a train service which runs every 15 minutes. However, a couple of times this week (this very moment being one of them) the train I have been waiting for has been 20 minutes late.
The reason for this lie is that the rail company has targets to meet and if it fails to meet those targets the company will be fined. The reason there are targets is that when the rail system was privatised, consumers were told that strict standards would be imposed upon the companies who won the rights to operate the routes. It’s therefore in the operator’s interest to claim that the train is late rather than admit what’s really going on.
Last year, this particular operator was fined £374,000 for failing to meet the required standards of service. When this was announced, both the operator and the Government hailed it as a triumph: this was the third drop in fines in a row and standards must therefore be getting higher.
The problem is that there’s a disconnect between the result of the target being hit and what the customer actually wants: a service that runs on time, has plenty of seats and doesn’t cost the earth. I don’t blame the operator; they’re hitting their targets. The blame, in my opinion, rests with the Government in setting targets that can be so easily manipulated.
But that’s too simplistic. The target also has to be realistic and balanced. To continue with trains, I don’t expect every train to be on time. The weather is poor today so I understand that the train might be late. The target therefore can’t just be about delivering the service. Other factors have to be considered too, such as whether the customer is happy and whether the service is of a decent quality. Targets shouldn’t be just figures.
To the Tash! A man who always hit his target and who always keeps his customers (“the poor”) happy: it’s Robin Hood:
Until next week…