Lessons from the pit crew: Maximize efficiency to maximize service
My wife, Tammy, had a quizzical look on her face when I told her that I planned to write my first blog about my favorite t-shirt.
My favorite t-shirt―gray with a fading logo and a little oversized―is really nothing special, but I wear it around the house (and even out in public) much more than Tammy would like. Why do I like wearing it so much? Because of the story that comes with it.
Recently, while on a business trip I had the unfortunate circumstance of running over a dead deer in the middle of the freeway. Since I was only a mile or so from my hotel, I continued down the road at a cautious pace. I parked at the hotel and got out of the car in time to hear the last of the air escaping the tire. With a dinner appointment in less than an hour, the tire was quickly replaced with the donut that was in the trunk, and I went on my way.
After a meeting the next day I started to head home, at which point I wondered how far I should drive on the donut. A quick look in the car's user manual indicated that 50 miles was the recommended maximum. I then took the next exit off the freeway in an attempt to find a new tire.
I quickly came upon a rundown garage that had a tire sign in front of it. I pulled in and went inside. Did they have a tire to replace the flat one? Yes. Did they have a set of four? Yes, At a reasonable price? Yes. Now, the most important question: How long would it take to replace all four tires? I didn't want to wait the expected two hours. The gentleman told me they would have me on my way in 15 minutes. I was shocked and said yes right away.
The next thing I knew, a garage door flew open and a small army of men with floor jacks and air wrenches descended on my car right there in the parking lot. I could hear the new tires being placed on the rims and spin balanced. I watched in amazement as the new tires were placed on the car and they told me I was ready to go, all in less than 15 minutes. As I walked out the door, the gentleman handed me a t-shirt and thanked me for the business.
They certainly exceeded my expectations and gave me a t-shirt to remind me of the experience!
Going forward, my hope for this blog is that my words regarding manufacturing efficiency, organization and production flow can create an experience that will keep you reading.