UK Petrol Crisis: Life Imitates Art

September, 2021

The UK petrol crisis is pretty much an exact parallel with the predictive dialer pacing problem. Are you a game theorist, a modeller or a pragmatist?

A UK petrol crisis?

The management team at Sytel has watched the UK petrol supply crisis unfold. 

Crisis? Briefly, a shortage of delivery drivers caused the government to announce that:

“There is plenty of fuel. No need to panic.”…

…so panic ensued, the quickest consumers filled up and the pumps ran out.

We have had a variety of personal responses to this. And on reflection, the types of response also shed some light on how we achieve the best in predictive dialer pacing.

The UK Petrol Crisis - empty pumps

Which are you?

The game theorist

The Game Theorist correctly anticipated the rush and went out to fill their fuel tank immediately before the queues at petrol pumps started.

The modeller

The Modeller spent time thinking about the amount of capacity on the supply side and the downstream impact on demand of everybody having rushed out to fill their tank over the next few days. They will run out of fuel towards the end of the week but are refusing to queue up at filling stations now as an exercise in testing model predictions.

The pragmatist

The Pragmatist worked out limit conditions and have made sure all of Sytel’s lockdown provisions are still in place to make sure our team can work remotely if needed.


The fuel supply and panic demand situation is pretty much an exact parallel with the predictive dialing problem. Get it right and everybody gets to get on with their lives, happily. Get it wrong, and performance goes through the floor.

Sytel has many Game Theorists, Modellers and Pragmatists working together to create outstanding cloud contact center solutions. If you have a supply chain problem in your software and your customers aren’t getting the level of service you and they would like, talk to us. We may be able to help.

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