Quick Track

HGV Driver Annette Stagg Follows In Her Father’s Footsteps

HGV Driver Annette Stagg has been based at our Runcorn depot for a number of years. Over the years Annette has played a key role for the business and has featured in a BBC News article about life on the road as a lorry driver and also on BBC Breakfast TV. Most recently Annette was crowned a winner in the Extra Mile category at the Microlise Driver of the Year Awards.

We asked Annette more about her background and how she followed in her father’s footsteps to become an award-winning HGV Driver for EV Cargo.

How do you feel about following your father’s footsteps into the logistics industry?

I’m proud to follow in my father’s footsteps, because I now understand the sacrifice he made to provide for his family. Dad was always a phone call away from having to deal with trouble, whether that was a break down or an incident. Dad wasn’t always at home, but he always made sure his family never missed out on anything. He has installed in me that with a bit of give and take, and hard work, I can, and do, provide a good life for my family and myself. And I get to see some beautiful places – and some I wouldn’t want to see again.

Why are you attracted to the logistics and supply chain industry?

According to my mother and father, I was weaned on diesel. I don’t remember a time where trucks didn’t play a major part of my life. I enjoy the uncertainty of my life. You can make all the best plans in the world and it can still go totally wrong. I find detours can be exciting – you can come across beautiful hidden places.

Tell us one thing you have learned from your father and his career in logistics.

I have learned from my father that nothing is impossible.

My father, Arnold Stagg started Stagg Transport in the late 1960s, he was a very caring and thoughtful boss and, no, I’m not biased! Dad made sure his drivers’ welfare was paramount. If they messed up, they knew about it, but if something bad happened he looked after them. One driver was in an accident and dad gave my mother’s car to the driver’s wife so she could visit her husband in hospital and their children moved into our home and stayed with us for a few months. Dad was a master of diversification, from carrying live chickens to turfing and supporting horse show jumping. I grew up with the people like Harvey Smith – the ultimate show jumper – and Lady Bibby, who gave me my first kitten. I believe haulage is the best that life can be. It’s funny, hard, rewarding and exasperating all at the same time. My father never ever wanted me to be a trucker, he spent a fortune on sending me to a boarding school for young ladies. However, I’m stubborn and trucking is in my blood, I’m proud of my career and I believe I have made my father proud too. There’s nothing better than the open roads!

I still encounter people who recognise the name Stagg and they say ‘I know Stagg Transport’, or ‘my father worked for Mr Stagg’. I still meet some of dad’s old drivers and everyone is proud to have worked for him.

But I will never forget the driver who will be nameless (although I do remember) who crashed a truck and l never got my birthday present because dad had to buy a new truck.

Transport is a way of life, love it or hate it. Nothing moves without trucks.

Information is everywhere – How do we make the most of it?

Information is everywhere. We live in an unprecedented time where information is readily available, inexpensive (quite often free) and easy to access. From 24/7 news updates to the precise geo-location of our food delivery driver, information is usually just one click away, or for some people, just one voice command to their preferred voice assistant away. We are privileged to be surrounded by such a wealth of data.

To put it into perspective, as of 2020, the total amount of data created, captured, copied, and consumed in the world was estimated to be around 44 trillion gigabytes! (1) As of August 2021, Wikipedia holds almost 54 million pages of information. While on a more familiar note, at EV Cargo Technology we process an impressive 1.5 million unique orders each year.

Unfortunately for us humans, there is only so much information that our brains can process and retain. A well-known psychological study from the 1950s claimed that our brain can hold up to a maximum of seven items of information at one time, before we start to forget things. Think about remembering a phone number on the spot or items on a grocery list. However, more recent studies have shown that this number is actually much lower and the brain copes better with storing smaller chunks of four pieces of information or fewer (2). In any case, what is clear is that in this age of fast and abundant data, there is a lot more information in front of us than our brains can process and efficiently store. This often leads to information overload and the feeling of being overwhelmed.

When it comes to supply chain technology, the industry faces a similar issue. There is already an enormous amount of data held across systems with valuable information. This data is usually accessible via a number of different methods, such as reporting, operational tools, dashboards and visibility platforms. The questions that end users and customers often ask themselves are: what do we do with all this information and how do we use the data? There are many challenges that need solving and all the data is there to support finding effective solutions. But what information is important and what isn’t within the vast amount of data available? Being able to extract meaning and smart insights from data is a key industry challenge.

At EV Cargo Technology, we are in a unique global position. We provide the technology and tools to manage the supply chains of the world’s leading brands. In addition, we have the industry knowledge and expertise to provide context to our solutions and help our clients find the answers that best fit their needs. Sometimes, the solution can right in front of someone, hidden in the data, but due to information overload they can’t see it. By combining our software and industry expertise, we can offer unique insights and leverage best practice to support retailers in tackling their supply chain challenges and prepare for uncertainty ahead. Data can be overwhelming, but with the right guidance and support, we can navigate its complexity and focus our attention on what information matters to us most.

(1) World Economic Forum; https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/04/how-much-data-is-generated-each-day-cf4bddf29f/

(2) Cowan, N. (2010). The Magical Mystery Four: How is Working Memory Capacity Limited, and Why? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2864034/

Master Yoda I am not. But offer advice I do.

I wanted to write about the pandemic and my observations on how, while it’s been tough – very tough at times – there have been some positives. They say ‘Necessity is the Mother of all Invention’ and I don’t think that’s ever been more evident than in how we both professionally and personally found new ways to get stuff done. I wanted to write about that.

However, after a number of false starts, (cue the clichéd image of screwing up of yet another piece of paper before tossing it into an already-overflowing bin) I gave up.

I needed to rethink this. And that reminded me of a book I’ve been reading, and then a list of tips I saved from an article on the internet about mental health which lead to buying the book in the first place.
It occurred to me that, throughout the last 18 months or so, I’ve referred back to this list many times and in different ways. I’ve applied the list to myself. Not entirely, but when and where I felt it appropriate. I’ve periodically revisited it to remind myself of its content and I’ve drawn from it to make suggestions to others around me, who I felt may benefit from it.

The book by the way: ‘Fail Fast & Fail Often – How Losing Can Help You Win’ by Babineaux & Krumboltz.

Back to the list. It’s not my list, I found it on the internet when reading about managing and maintaining mental health. Unfortunately, I can’t find the link to the original article in order to share or, better still, give due credit to its author, but, hopefully, in referencing the tips and how they’ve helped me, that’s a form of recognition and credit in itself.

And that brings me to the purpose of this post. This list has helped me (and I’d like to think from my best-intentioned advocacy, it’s helped others too). In posting it here, I hope that it might help you.

Another quick housekeeping point: below is my version of the original list. I’ve adapted the context and takeaway to suit me. I hope the original author would approve.

So, here it is;

1.- Make Things Happen; Don’t Wait For Them.
Change is challenging. Challenging ourselves to do something better or differently is, well, challenging. So often we fear it and we might make unrealistic plans to delay it or better (worse!) still, avoid it altogether.
Start with little things, break it down, get it started. It’s never as bad as you think and it’s easier once you get rolling! Oh, and see Tip 6.

2.- A Fun Life Will Make You Happy and Successful.
All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy, right? But ‘work’ isn’t just what we do for a living. In this context, it could be anything that constrains, burdens or obligates.
For every one of these, balance it by doing something fun!

3.- The Fastest Road to Success is Failing Fast and Often.
This is the tip that led to the book purchase. It’s a personal favourite.
No one likes to fail. It doesn’t feel nice, but Yoda was right when he said: ‘If no mistake you have made. Losing you are.’
Crack on! Go get stuff wrong! Just be sure to learn quick – and repeat it you must not. And see Tip 4.

4.- Enjoy Your Journey and Embrace Your Failures.
Look at a baby learning to walk, they don’t feel embarrassed about falling. Instead, they get up and try again.
Take a risk, do the things you fear, and learn from them. In time, you’ll be a Jedi.

5.- See The World Like a Child Again.
I took the spirit of this one and encouraged a friend of mine to adopt it. I’ll spare you the details, but being more curious and openminded helped them become more of an active participant in their own treatment and less negative and prejudiced about the potential outcome of particular therapies or remedial actions.
Be curious. Be openminded. Don’t be afraid to ask. You don’t have to know everything.

6.- Have Big Goals, and Take Little Steps.
Big goals are good. But they don’t come easily or quickly, in my experience.
Do something every day that takes you closer to the end goal. Celebrate these steps as mini-wins – this helps keep you motivated and focussed.

8.- Have Some Fun Hobbies.
See Tip 2. Possibly add a little of Tips 4 and 6. Do it with Tip 9. My daughter and I can almost call ourselves ‘paddleboarders’ now!
Learn something new.

9.- No One Can Succeed Alone.
Involve others – family, friends and colleagues. Surround yourself with positive people. Find like-minded individuals and experts to support and guide. But, most importantly, be ready and willing to put back into the community. Use the help you’ve received to help others.
Join some groups, clubs and forums. Get connected.

And that is that. I hope it’s been useful.

Good luck!

Victory In Portugal For EV Cargo Supported Driver

EV Cargo brand ambassador Elfyn Evans scored his first victory of the season after mastering the tough gravel roads of Rally de Portugal. Winning the event by 28.3 seconds, the result sees him move to within two points of the FIA World Rally Championship lead.

Based close to Porto on the west coast of Portugal, Rally de Portugal was the first gravel event of the season, and the first time Elfyn was to use Pirelli’s loose surface tyre on his Toyota Yaris WRC rally car.

His gravel challenge started strong, even though colder weather conditions meant he had to use a mixture of soft and hard tyres to find the maximum grip on the slippery mountain roads.

Running third on the road also meant an element of road sweeping, with the cars coming behind benefitting from a cleaner surface and faster conditions.

The first day also saw a full leg of action, with competitors having to tackle eight stages and over 120km of action without the safety and assistance of a mid-day service halt.

Elfyn racked up a series of solid times, especially on the second pass when conditions were cleaner, but acknowledged that a few improvements could be made to help boost his confidence in some sections. Despite that, he moved up from fifth to hold second overnight, just six seconds off the lead.

Day two was one of consistency. Again, using mixed tyre compounds for most of the day, he battled through and set strong times on the event’s longest stage, the 38km run through Amarante.

However, leader Ott Tanak succumbed to mechanical problems on the penultimate test. That elevated Elfyn to the top spot and he held a slender overnight lead of just 10.7 seconds going into the final day’s action.

He doubled that margin on the opening stage on Sunday and cruised to victory over the final five stages, including the iconic Fafe test which was lined with tens of thousands of fans.

With just a short 10-day break, the championship resumes in Sardinia for round four on 3 June.

Elfyn Evans said: “It was great to take the victory and it comes at a really good time for the championship. We weren’t the outright fastest all weekend, but we did deliver a consistent performance and made no mistakes.

“We pushed hard to try and build a gap and then it was just a case of maintaining it. It was a tough weekend but a pretty decent result in the end.”

Next year’s WRC will reach the highest levels of sustainability with cars powered by hybrid technology for the first time and fossil-free, 100% sustainable fuel being introduced.

Here for Our Customers All Year Round

At EV Cargo Technology, we are proud of the day-to-day support we offer to our customers. Our job in Application Support is to ensure that the great service you receive during implementation phase continues long after your software product goes live. In this piece, I’ll give you an overview of how our Application Support team helps to support your EV Cargo Technology products.

Most customers operate their own first-line support service in-house. This approach works well because a detailed knowledge of your business processes and wider infrastructure will come to the fore at first line, working with end users to identify training and process issues. We then step in at second line, providing an escalation point if your first-line team need to call on more specialist technical expertise with the EV Cargo Technology products. We are flexible in our ways of working, so if our standard support model isn’t quite right for you, our commercial team will help you to find the perfect solution.

You will first get to know the Application Support team in the weeks after your product goes live: the transition from the Delivery Team, who implement your product, to Application Support does not happen overnight. We have a phased approach, called Early-Life Support (ELS), where the Delivery Team and Application Support work closely together for a number of weeks beyond go-live, to ensure a smooth transition to Business as Usual (BAU).

We always strive to build up good knowledge of our customers’ ways of working, becoming a trusted source of information and support. Our team structure allows us to ensure timely responses while retaining a personal touch. The Application Support team spans the UK and Hong Kong, meaning we’re available for customers across different time zones. We also operate an out-of-hours on-call service from the UK, providing round-the-clock support in the event of an emergency.

In addition to BAU support, the team proactively monitors customer sites to identify potential improvements. Where appropriate, we will run regular incident reviews with customers, to provide high-level oversight and to work collaboratively with customers to help keep incident numbers down. We also oversee the deployment process, ensuring that, once changes are designed, developed and tested, the process of getting them through to Production is every bit as robust as the implementation itself.

We’ve explored just some of the ways the Application Support team helps to ensure that you get the best out of your EV Cargo Technology products long after the initial implementation is complete. If there is anything else you would like to know, please get in touch via the website – we look forward to hearing from you.

EV Cargo Technology’s Duncan Grewcock speaks at LogTech Asia Hybrid Summit

On 18th March 2021, EV Cargo Technology’s Chief Commercial Officer Duncan Grewcock is a speaker at the LogTech Asia Hybrid Summit. The event is being held virtually and on-demand – available anytime and anywhere.

The event is focused on the fast changes in the Asia supply chain due to the influx of logistics start-ups, technology and innovation. The jam-packed agenda includes keynote presentations, interactive panels and virtual networking sessions with the latest disruptors and leading practitioners.

Duncan Grewcock joins the event as an expert in business process re-design and software implementation in international retail supply chains. He will be speaking about the ‘Top Trends to Watch in the LogTech Sector’ at the summit.

Book your space to attend

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