What changing a wheel tells us about business improvement.

By: William Buist on : 25th July 2016: Business Design, Business Model, Business News, Business articles: No Comments

What can you do in 1.92 seconds? Formula one mechanics manage to remove and replace four tyres and get the driver moving again. How did they get that fast?

A few years ago, when refuelling was also taking place, the slowest process was the fuelling, but when that was stopped the rather lazy four or five seconds to change a wheel was suddenly in focus. The teams knew that they had to focus on the whole process, but the most important step was the one that was stopping them.

Over the course of the next few seasons, they have added mechanics to the crew and modelled where they stood and what their role was. They changed the design of the wheel hubs so that one man could turn the old wheel off whilst another turned the new wheel on. Then the wheel guns had the direction change after each action automated, the jacks were fitted with lights that told the jackman when he could release the car, and so on. Each change shaving a 10th of a second here and a few thousand’s there.

In business too, you have to look at what is stopping you doing what needs to be done, for customers, suppliers, or the business. Decide with real clarity, after measuring and evaluating what the blocks are, which small change you can make now to remove the most important constraint. Be ready, as soon as you do, another, new, constraint will identify itself as the one that now stops you. Focus on that one next.

What is stopping you doing the best you could in your business? What is the hard part? Why is it hard?

Watch the video again and focus on the front jack man, he’s not quite as quick as he might have been, I think there’s another fraction of second still to be found. It will be soon.

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