Crash test dummies have been at the forefront of improving car safety since 1949, and it’s thanks to them that more and more of us are walking away from accidents without any serious injury.
The biggest leap forward in car safety came thanks to the Hybrid family of crash test dummies, developed in 1976. Hybrid III was designed to reflect the average American male who, back in the 70s, was 1,8m tall and weighed 77kg. Today’s Average American male however, has packed on 11kgs and is 2,5cm shorter too.
According to Scott Gayzick, a scientist at the Wake Forest Centre for Injury Biomechanics in the US, “There is now a distinct mismatch between people and dummies,” and the changing shape and weight of the driving population is forcing car manufacturers to rethink how they test their vehicles.
Crash test family value
But our eating habits alone are not only to blame for the disconnect between dummies and the driving population. The fact remains that the average is not representative of an entire population, let alone populations from different countries.
If one were to look at the Chinese market, for example, there has been a boom in the last decade with car sales. This is important to vehicle testing because Hybrid III is not representative of the average Chinese height and weight. “This doesn’t mean that the crash tests are meaningless,” says secretary general at the European car safety programme Euro NCAP, Dr Michiel can Ratingen. In fact, to keep up the Hybrid III has diversified with three adult sizes:
A taller male, a shorter female and a family with two children. And because these dummies are designed to be used to test head-on collisions, an array of cousins have been added to the mix to test other common types of accident. But these only test a finite number of the possible scenarios that can happen in a collision.
Crash tests Frankensteins
These crash test dummies also have another severe limitation. They’re not people – they have no vital organs, brains, bones or skin – and data is collected through recording sensors. While useful, they can’t accurately predict what will happen to a real person’s bones and organs during an accident, let alone the variations in bone density between older and younger people, from one ethnic group to the next.
To get around these limitations, researchers are now turning to simulation in order to test a wide variety of body shapes, ages and ethnicity. One of these projects is called the Global Human Body Models Consortium (GHBMC). Through creating virtual humans, tests are able to be run with models of people who are severely overweight, particularly around the abdomen.
To develop the models, scans of people are taken in lying and seated positions, and are followed up with MRI scans to build 3D representations of skeleton, muscles, internal organs and the brain. They then add mechanics and stiffness to the models to make it like a real human.
Building cars and people in virtual reality
Unlike the 77kg Hybrid III, the GHBMC has reproduced the average American male in 1mb and is working on constructing more sophisticated models that can be adjusted to simulate all ages, sizes and builds. And since cars are designed on computers, the models of both can then be subjected to a variety of accidents with millions of points of information not possible in reality.
But this doesn’t spell the end of Hybrid III and it’s extended family, the virtual models may have quality control problems – different servers might produce different results – and of course, you can’t argue with a physical test, says Gayzick. Ultimately though, the developments of virtual and real crash test dummies should make cars far safer, but they key remains that the dummy accurately represents the market it seeks to protect.
Surge In South Africans Swopping Their Cars For Bitcoin
The cryptocurrency Bitcoin has experienced a seemingly interminable rise. Early adopters have experience lottery-sized pay-outs on minor investments as the currency exploded in value in 2017.
As South Africans are itching to get their hands on the digital currency, there’s been an increase in swops and bitcoin-only sales on Gumtree.co.za, says Claire Cobbledick, Head of Core at Gumtree. “This is particularly true for high-value items like cars, bikes and boats. Many sellers are willing to take a gamble with their assets in hopes of a large pay-out.”
This is on trend with other marketplaces. In the United States a McLaren 720S was put up for sale in exchange for 25 bitcoin, a theoretical value of $425,000.
While Gumtree does not allow for the sale of bitcoin miners or services, Cobbledick says that customers can exchange goods for bitcoin on the site, but should be fully aware of the risks. “Bitcoin is a volatile currency, so while you could easily see a 50% increase in your investment, you could just as easily end up with nothing. It’s up to the seller to decide if they are willing and able to take a gamble.”
Some cars currently up for sale in exchange for bitcoin includes a Land Rover Defender, BMW X5 and a rare 1970 Mercury Cougar V8.
“There are also a few other sellers accepting bitcoin in exchange for Kruger Rands,” says Cobbledick. “Perhaps proving that gold as a store of value is falling out of vogue.”
But the most unusual swop would have to go to an entrepreneurial seller who is offering carnivorous plants in exchange for the cryptocurrency.
Zando Sold 80 Items A Minute During Black Friday – By Doing This
Black Friday has brought immense success for numerous local online retailers – reflecting the potential of e-commerce in South Africa. Why not learn from Zando’s success in 2017 to ensure your success during the 2018 Black Friday sales season?
For South African e-retailers, Black Friday is a big sales event. But you need to ensure you’re prepared for the web traffic and that your e-commerce store can handle the logistics of thousands of orders.
According to Zando, they experience 100% up-time during Black Friday and less than a week after the season sales event, 95% of customer orders have already been shipped.
To help fellow e-tailers perform better next year, Zando’s CEO, Sascha Breuss answers some key questions about the company’s preparations and learnings around Black Friday:
1. How did you encourage greater sales on Black Friday?
Over the last few years Black Friday has developed a following in South Africa, so we benefitted from the existing hype around it. We didn’t focus too much on upfront marketing, but put our energy into flawless execution and of course great deals for the customers.
2. How much planning went into ensuring your store platform ran at optimum?
The real ‘hot phase’ started with the first day of November when our IT department went into a ‘feature freeze’ and we focused 100% on site-stability and scalability.
We went through some intense testing of our site with loads up to 15 times the average daily amount of visitors. So, when the actual day came, we were confident in our systems.
3. How were you able to successfully co-ordinate logistics during Black Friday?
Early preparation and experience from past years have been the key to success. We increased our head count in both Warehouse and Customer Service well in advance so that we could rely on well-trained and experienced colleagues come Black Friday.
4. How did you ensure a seamless experience between your website and your app?
We know that our customers are browsing Zando on all platforms, desktop, mobile and app so we implemented some handy features to make the transition between each platform easier. For example, shared baskets and wish lists are now a feature. Some of the deals however have been app-only and sometimes we reward our app users with early access to shop the best deals. So it is definitely worth it to download our app.
5. How did you scale your entire operation for a single event?
This is easy to summarise in one word – TEAMWORK. The Zando staff did an amazing job and were the backbone of our success. Not only did they put the required extra hours in and worked hard until the job was done, but they also showed real team-spirit. When you called our Customer Service during Black Friday it’s very possible that you spoke to someone in our HR, Social Media or Legal team who helped out answering calls.
6. How did your marketing campaign affect traffic on your platforms?
The most surprising element was probably the high volume of traffic that we saw during the night. Visits started to increase every minute before midnight and during the first two hours of the day we saw peaks that were higher than on our strongest week day. This traffic never dropped with a lot of orders being placed between 2am and 3am on Black Friday.
7. How did your technology systems handle the influx of shopper traffic?
In the build up to Black Friday we added additional server capacity and changed the way we handled the flow of traffic. This made us very flexible to switch on additional capacity wherever required. So it was a combination of intensive preparation, close monitoring and ultimately very little sleep for a couple of days to ensure we monitored our system health 24 hours a day.
8. What was your sales strategy?
For us everything that had a discount of 40%-80%, and was still a relevant and recent look, qualified for Black Friday 2017. Once these criteria were fulfilled we made sure that we had sufficient stock available – in some cases the demand was so high that we brought on additional stock from our suppliers during the Black Friday weekend.
9. What were your biggest learnings?
We have been very successful in our approach to remain true to the idea of Black Friday – offering great deals on relevant product and not outdated clearance ranges. The customer is very educated and will identify a good deal, and we have seen consumers’ negative comments on stores who used Black Friday solely as a warehouse clearance opportunity.
10. What surprised you about Zando’s success during Black Friday?
Thanks to extensive preparation we have been able to achieve an uptime of 100% for the full month of November. We also kept the deliveries and returns 100% free regardless of discount or basket size. It seems like our customers appreciated this approach and we have actually seen very positive sales numbers after Black Friday while we expected a drop. I believe the full focus and investment on the Customer Experience has worked for us.
Team Resolutions: 11 Tips To Uncover Passion And Potential In New Hires
If there’s one resolution HR departments should make this new year, it should be to transform the onboarding experience for new hires.
If there’s one resolution HR departments should make this new year, it should be to transform the onboarding experience for new hires says Michelle Seko, Talent Acquisition Manger at Sage Africa & Middle East.
The importance of a good candidate experience cannot be underestimated. Research has shown that 88% of job applicants are more likely to buy from a company if they’ve had a positive experience when applying for work there. Research has also shown that candidates talk about their experiences with a company, regardless of whether they got the job. Some candidates would even refer a friend to the company and others will re-apply for a future role, if the experience was a good one.
Research also found that:
- 69% Of employees are more likely to stay with a company for three years if they experienced great onboarding
- 33% Of new hires leave before their first anniversary, yet companies with an engaging onboarding programme retained 91% of their first-year workers
- Onboarding programmes can improve employee performance by 11.5%.
Businesses enter into a relationship with a new hire the moment they sign on the dotted line. And, as with any relationship, it will only flourish if built on trust, respect and a commitment to self-improvement.
When you set new hires up for personal success, the outcomes naturally feed into your business’ success, which means you both win.
Here are a few ideas to get the most out of your new hires:
Make them feel welcome
Introduce them to the people they’ll be working with as soon as possible so that they immediately feel part of a team. At Sage, we partner new hires with a buddy, or Sage Ambassador, who helps them settle in and meet new people, contributing to the positive on-boarding experience.
Focus on the benefits
Compelling benefits not only attract the best candidates but also boost loyalty and job satisfaction. People are motivated by different things: one person might value flexi-time while another could place more importance on growth opportunities or bonuses. Focus on the benefits that align with the individual’s values when onboarding.
Set goals early and outline a plan to achieve them
This keeps your team focused, especially if they will be rewarded for achieving their goals.
Monthly, at least. Adjust goals and plans where necessary, reward good performance, introduce new challenges and deal with issues promptly.
Show genuine interest
Regular catch-ups and remembering children’s names, for instance, makes people feel appreciated.
Let your new hires apply their knowledge to business challenges and offer training opportunities outside of their comfort zones. Reward ideas that help you do things better and faster.
People thrive when they can learn from others and when they can share their knowledge. Involve experienced team members in the new hire’s training. This is a great way to recognise and appreciate their loyalty and skills.
Do you have difficult clients? Will the new hire have to work overtime? What are the business’s goals? New hires should know what they’re getting into.
Provide solid training on everything from company culture and benefits, to opportunities for growth
The biggest cost associated with training people is the time it takes for them to become productive. But rushing through on-the-job training could lead to a host of other problems, including repeated mistakes and a lack of confidence.
Openly communicate any changes in the business
Manage your team’s expectations and be clear about yours. Allow new hires to question and understand how you do things and to point out errors – their past experience probably gave them new ideas and ways of working that could boost your team’s efficiency and productivity.
Your mood sets the tone for everyone else. You can have the best product in the world but unless your team is passionate and enthusiastic about that product, you won’t get the results you’re hoping for.
Keeping people motivated and productive is hard work
But if you provide them with the tools, knowledge and support to do their best work and to contribute their best ideas, motivation and productivity will come naturally.
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