“The problem is not that there are problems.
The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that
having problems is a problem.”
Psychiatrist and author Theodore Isaac Rubin, quoted in the Buffalo News
I ran across this quote and it really struck a chord with me. I was living in a week of problems. In manufacturing, there is always a problem. Why? Because in any complex system…
…where multiple people interact with multiple machines, tools/equipment
…and embrace imperfect systems (designed by imperfect people)
…in an effort to deliver to the customer a perfect part
…there will be a problem or two.
I recently had the privilege of a private tour of NASA’s Johnson Space Center where my husband had worked. One of the things I saw was the original Mission Control where they flew all of the Apollo missions. During our discussion I was told they drill into everyone (Astronauts and Front Control Room Operators) the STAR thought process when presented with a problem: Stop Think Analyze React. That really resonated with me as I was in the middle of writing this post. (More on STAR in a future post.)
Knowing that every day you will have a problem or two is key to having a successful day. You will be either getting into a problem, are currently in a problem or coming out of a problem. For those of us in manufacturing we need to:
- Design flexibility into our systems.
- Understand the risks and have back-up plans already in play.
- Embrace problem solving with a vengeance. It is our best friend.
- Mitigate potential risks. Not every problem can be solved, however every problem can be assessed for risk.
- Figure out early if the battle wins the war, and if fighting the battle is worth the resources.
- Celebrate all wins. Bring humor to the effort. Recharge your teams batteries. Without engaged people, there is nothing.
Be the STAR of your operations environment.