Problem Solving or When Your Making Cars You Have All The Time In The World
The subject above was pointed out to me multiple times earlier this week. Why and by who? Well thanks for asking. By some highly placed and very intelligent engineers from Chevy Cruze General Motors plant. They were at my plant helping us to diagnose a problem that had our production facilities handicapped. Between engineers and IT support personnel we were inundated with expertise.
The point behind it all is that the IT folk, led by myself, were focused on finding the root cause of the problem and fixing it. In the process we restored service and we working, without diagnosing what caused the initial (or subsequent) outages. Root cause analysis is essential, of course, but as the production oriented engineers pointed out – you’ve got all the time in the world to troubleshoot as long as you’re making cars.
You wouldn’t think it would be possible to be operational without knowing what stopped you from doing so previously. Me neither, but it can and does happen. The focus is on production in manufacturing. Production and keeping the customer running. Everything else is secondary. In our case we isolated an entire section that was not necessary for production to run and in doing so we have eliminated the problem. Further root causes analysis is slated to take place this weekend and the problem will be resolved. Not to mention future tasks that involve increased diagnostics and tools, designating a task force of specialized technical and experienced people, and establishing an efficient but effective emergency change management process.
The moral story behind this is that there’s a line between what is needed and what is wanted. Sure, I’d love to have all the answers resolved right away, but that wasn’t what was needed at the time. We needed full production, and that’s what we established. That’s specific to that incident and industry. In other realms it is a lesson that still applies. I need a place to sleep safe from threat; I want a 20,000 square foot stone keep with a moat and modern amenities. That may be facetious but it remains a somewhat sobering thought when applied realistically.
For example, I may not like the fact that I am slated for over 70 hours of work this week in dealing with this issue, but I need a job to put food on the table and take care of my family. I may want to be unemployed so I can focus on writing and spending time with family and other hobbies. Needs always outweigh wants, both personally and professionally. I don’t suppose there’s a time when most, if not all, of us forget that.