Thursday, April 5, 2012

Taking a Lesson in Reliability From the Links...

I’ll admit it, I’m a golf fanatic.  I play it, I watch it, and I even find myself planning my weekends around golf coverage.  With the crème de la crème of all golf tournaments starting today it got me thinking about what The Masters could teach us in the Reliability community.   

Let’s start with the foundation and shining star of the tournament—no, it’s not Tiger—but rather the magnificent golf course that is Augusta National.  With its perfectly groomed fairways and greens, to the impeccably thick rough to the beautifully manicured azaleas, Augusta National is the setting that produces some of the best golf you’ll witness all year.  So, what we can we learn from that.  It’s no surprise that your facility will run smoother, producing more, efficiently and safely, if you’ve created a workplace that is organized and clean with all systems documented, and of course, that it’s all understood.  Maybe you use
5S to achieve this.  And once it’s achieved, don’t forget that you have to keep raking those bunkers.

I’ve always said the un-sung heroes of any golf tournament are the caddies.  Sure they aren’t the ones swinging the clubs, but they are the ones that placed that club in the golfer’s hands.  Aside from being the ones carrying those heavy bags, the caddies tend to blend in, however that’s not the case at The Masters.  Dressed in white jumpsuits the caddies stand out against the green back drop and rightfully so.  Navigating the tough terrain at Augusta is no easy feat.  I liken the role of the caddies to that of our Planner/Schedulers.  They know what lies ahead, they’ve prepped their Supervisor and of course, while they should be listened to, we know that’s not always the case.  Hence the occasional shot into a hazard.

Of course in order to see our favorite golfer (go Rory!) wearing green on Sunday, he’s got to be equipped with the right tools for the right shots.  Sometimes it’s hard to know which tool to use; even Luke Donald was practicing chip shots with his driver last night.  That’s why it’s so important to arm your team with the right tools to achieve success.  Some days you might find yourself relying on an infrared camera, other days (and to be honest I hope most days) you’ll find yourself armed with an
Ultraprobe, but the key is following your process, listening to your caddie, and making every step (or shot) count.  In the end, you just might find yourself winning the Reliability challenge and sporting the proverbial green jacket. 

-Maureen Gribble


  1. Great blog post! The planner scheduler is truly one of the un-sung hero of the reliability world and the key element to getting it all working in unison.
    Shon Isenhour

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