Backup Knowledge Needed When Technology Fails

Do we need backup knowledge when technology fails in the transportation industry? Do we need to retain the knowledge of the “old-timers” when they retire?

In a word, “Yes”, to succeed in today’s transportation industry you need to have a succession plan in place to backup knowledge of your most trusted asset: long-tenured employees.

A great example comes from the US Navy this month as this article from The Telegraph explains.

Naval vessels are guided by GPS systems but computers can he hacked and satellites can go off-line. A backup system is needed.

backup knowledgeMidshipmen at the US Naval Academy are learning to navigate by using the stars, a practice sailors have used for hundreds of years to get from point A to point B. Using a sextant is not as sexy as relying on a satellite, but in a pinch it’s essential.

Transportation companies face similar issues.

Maps aren’t high tech but they can get a driver to the right location when GPS isn’t available. Log books can be back-ups to computer entries for HOS requirements.

But what about the backup knowledge of retiring employees? Is this being passed on to the next generation? Or is there too much of a reliance on technology to do everything?

Who Knows How To Do That?

Backup knowledge bases are methods to store how things are done, the real culture of a transportation companies. They are repositories of “how things get done around here”. How do you put this type of necessary action into practice?

On-boarding processes can get newbies off to a good start. It’s often the difference between retaining a driver/employee and mindless turnover. Unfortunately, poorly planned and executed, they can be the first danger sign to a new employee that they made the wrong choice.

How do you preserve the vital information of your organization and make it readily accessible to current and future employees? Backup knowledge is a good start.