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Book review on Finite Capacity Scheduling, Part III
With this all possible the price could be lowered to a back breaking competitive level giving lower prices to consumers who voted with their dollars while retaining a huge number of proficient hours each time period. It is amazing that with all the freight forwarding software, inventory software, manufacturing scheduling software that no one sees the obvious uses to streamline services. Look at a Taxi Cab company, police dispatch, air traffic controller, train master at a rail yard with trains moving all directions and many 300 miles away all converging and departing simultaneously. Or the Phoenix missile system used by the government which when put onto an F-14 could track and kill 8 target 150 miles away moving at almost any speed in and direction on a three dimensional plane. Ever wonder why no F-15 has ever been shot down in combat? Even a gondola wire could not stop it, it always wins. So is it safe to say that when you have the best of everything that the odds are stacked so far in your favor that knowing the percentages is irrelevant to the game. All that needs to happen is to set fire in motion.
If anyone has ever watched Fed Ex work they use nearly the maximum of human resources as pilots load there own planes and help with the production of the sort. This can only happen when the norms of union workers were broken where one guy drives a fork lift, one guy drives a truck and they take breaks at different times and if the truck driver moves the fork lift then the fork lift driver who is on his 1 hour break files a grievance with the union. Scary, productivity level? Not much. Same with highway workers who really need a shovel with a kick stand since they are not needed to hold it up anymore. If one guy works and fifteen guys lean on their shovels while one strong tenure supervisor sits in his pick-up waiting for his supervisor to discuss the next coffee break. Yet with finite capacity scheduling even these dilemmas can be averted to some degree. Yet the total capacity management plan cannot achieve any additional savings in job completion frequency.
The only way this will work however is that all the team take ownership in the scheduling system and not try to change it by calling in with a bogus excuse such as tire is low, I need to get air. Traffic is busy, I cannot get there. This one we can mitigate knowing the speed of the vehicle by GPS/GIS and correlating that to the traffic reports. Without being a big brother, you can have a strong team like ours in every micro team unit. Working together to win and sharing in the economies of scale by profiting when goals are met. Keep in Mind that we can do better than the GE Way where if goals are not met heads roll. Fear is an excellent motivator, but it burns people out and screws with their psychy. It is much easier to win by other winning and through diplomacy and reward for achievement like in sports, or medals for war heros, or status and profit incentives all inline with FCS, it can easily work together. Add in bonuses for new customers signing up for with customer and employees and watch referrals skyrocket and all this can be tracked as well. Imagine a company tracking its referrals not by secret codes on print media or post card mailins, but with regards to days of the week, area, type of services, employee who did the last job before the referral came in. A small business person can keep track of this with out too much problem if he has one unit and all the referrals come from him. But what about the multiple unit operator of a plumbing company, tow company or National Tree Trimming Company? What about a national franchise company. Where things very from region to region on some services and others are almost an identical match such as the friends and family programs and can be figured out by DMA service region and census (or tiger files) population formulas.
I would recommend that anyone on our team reading this search the internet for mobile car wash scheduling and come up with all the previous postings. Try Alta Vista, Northern Light and the search feature on this bulletin board and you will see the tremendous progress we have made in discovery and research.
I think the best point in the book was made for the nay Sayers of FCS, here it is.
No matter how good a software package is, if the users do not have ownership in it, it will fail.
Conversely; No matter how bad a software package is, if the users have ownership in it, it will succeed.
So obviously education and proper motivation is the key, the company and good will that has been built up is at risk.
If you think this book review is crazy, think of it as a discussion of thoughts after reading such a book. FCS is very efficient and it is even used by HMOs to schedule patients, and during operations. Remember that the efficiency in an HMO is how they make their money, not by making you healthier or better. But by doing that minimum promised at the lowest possible price. Luckily the FCS model is sound otherwise in this case it could literally cause death. Hospitals use these systems to manage inventories, supplies, labor, machinery, and all facilities. Makes since. Problems may occur if you are maximizing surgery equipment and rooms and doctors, when someones surgery takes longer than anticipated and the next scheduled is a kidney transplant. This is why in the customer service business that the limits of capacity are drawn and jobs of little importance can be moved to a later time while time is of the essence jobs are to happen forthwith. In fighting a war one cannot stop because a component is out. The enemy does not stop if you stop for tea. But in the case of logistics and moving reinforcements into position it is of the utmost importance to have these processes in place to look ahead fifteen chess moves. This is why Schwartzkoff said on CNN that Saddam was not very good military strategist. Maybe he is right, however, by then we had knocked out significant communication lines, SAM sites and blown up half his strength. I would have to thank Schwartzkoff the airforce, Navy and AWACS for destroying his logistical operations before the ground war started. Then the Marines first in and first to die, had no problems at all. We won the logistical battle. In business it is the same game, strategic partners and alliances to secure distribution channels for rapid advancement or roll out of a product line. Then to win the war it is all about delivery of desired services or products in the proper amounts to the proper places at the most efficient methods. FCS. Both operational and tactical. Logical thinking with an experience of true reality of the market place. Pencil Neck geeks with little round glasses reading spread sheets and answering every question in such a way that would make their college professor proud does not work. You cannot outsource your FCS software needs to someone who has never been in the war and flown by the seat of their pants. There is a reality of the market place and if it is the only consideration next to the customer you will win, you need both and if a professor who cannot teaches someone who has never how can the customer be enlightened enough by great service to repeat their orders? This is why Gates left school, Paul Allen was the coach and Steve Balmer is now running the company and why they won so well in the market that the government had to find something wrong with them even if they did not understand what and could only get complaints from competitors as no consumer was ever actually damaged.
It is necessary to track everything to have the right answers and providing you have built an FCS system correctly you are in a good place. The rest of the process is to cut out the waste and complexity. As long as you know you know you are the best, like we do at the Car Wash Guys, you do not need to create for the sake of creating, you create for the sake of achieving, everything else is wasting. Which by the way wasting does not calculate in the logical world of FCS. If we follow our competitors we would be really complicated and achieve less and less as we grow bigger and bigger on a per store basis. If you copy your competitor it will not help you beat your competitor. You only have to think like him to find him and know how he thinks to beat him all the while thinking beyond him. That is how the Bizmark was found caught and sunk. And why Alexander the Great won so many battles.
I liked the way the book ended with this quote, probably another quote to go with the famous quote; If you do not know where you are going any road will take you there. He finished the book with this quote. Even if you know where you are going, if you do not move fast enough you will be run over. Yes precisely.
Just another exercise for the team in brain power. Think allot and call me when you have a good idea, so we can implement, adapt and stay leading edge.
No need to read through this book completely, the highlights as they relate to winning the car wash war are within these previous chapters.
"Lance Winslow" - If you have innovative thoughts and unique perspectives, come think with Lance; www.WorldThinkTank.net/wttbbs
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Book review on Finite Capacity Scheduling, Part III
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