Feed your brain

Supply Chain View has been collecting free resources from the web, for Supply Chain Management, Lean and Six Sigma.

Find resources here ยป

Site search



More numeracy woes, bad news for supply chain skills

November 7th, 2007 | By: Martin Arrand

As I’ve been working from home a lot recently, I’ve had the radio on to give the office a bit of a ‘buzz’ and today I overheard this story on BBC 6 Music. Camelot have withdrawn a lottery scratchcard because customers couldn’t work out when they had won.

The customers’ confusion stems from the concept of this scratchcard, as the Manchester Evening News explains:

To qualify for a prize, users had to scratch away a window to reveal a temperature lower than the figure displayed on each card. As the game had a winter theme, the temperature was usually below freezing.

Players, apparently, had trouble comparing two negative numbers and deciding which was the higher.

Do read the MEN article, as it is very funny, if rather depressing. I wrote only last month about how poor numeracy threatens the success of Six Sigma. But failure at this level of simple arithmetical ability would make even the “keep it simple” improvement activities employed in Lean quite hard. I don’t want to get too down about this, because people can still come up with error-proofing ideas, etc without being able to work out that minus six is not less than minus eight.

But would we get better, faster results if our workforce had better basic skills? Undoubtedly.


Manchester Evening News ‘Cool Cash’ card confusion: http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/s/1022757_cool_cash_card_confusion

Write a comment