Wednesday, August 16, 2006

computer madness

The state of Georgia tried to go high-tech in an ultimately stupid way. Allow me ot pass onn the lesson.

CDL renewals now require this bit of registration and training. The training and registration are only available online. Registration requires entry of an email address.

Now, a large part and possibly the majority of CDL holders are long-haul truckers. Ponder this a moment. Email? Internet connection? Huh? Yes, some do - some post regularly, and a few even get online over wireless connnections. But for most that's not something they have or are used to having.

The libraries of Georgia - everyone's favorite place for computer access when you don't have your own - weren't warned of this little exercise. Most of them are like us - desparately short of money, and not in a position to train folk in how to use a computer, how to register email, how to follow links, and so on and so forth. Oh, we managed, but it's been a fascinating struggle and lesson in poor planning on someone's part.

Rule one: unless the position implies connectivity, computers as a sole source of processing are a mistake. Manual processing - though usually slower - should still be available.

Rule two: Don't blindside the people who have to do the work. It makes the customers mad at us - and we're smart enough to point them at the people responsible in the first place. More importantly, it meant that we weren't ready for the first handful through the door - and for most CDL drivers, the longer they're away from the vehicle the less money they make.

I suspect that the vetting process stayed within the bureaucratic circle and nobody who actually had to do the stuff got involved. But since I don't know that I can't say "pretest to destruction - intentionally choosing BAD customers instead of SAVVY ones." But I think that should be rule three anyway.


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