By Steve Ninnes
Reluctantly, he waits for the engineering manager and then grabs him and takes him into his office. All the time trying to keep his mood in check. The engineering manager is wandering why this pencil pushing nerd from the other side cannot just leave him alone. If things aren’t busy enough I now have to deal with him as well.
The battle looms as they discuss the outcome of the latest cost updates and they both go at it with vigour and intensity. Neither side backing down from their view point, until in exhaustion they both miserably drag themselves apart and return to what they were doing.
The CFO, happy with venting, but unhappy at any idea of how to change things, walks back to his office, again noticing a golden glint from below the compressor. He stops this times and stares at it. What is it he thinks. He goes closer as if approaching a lion in the wild. Scared that it may leap a out and attack him; bends low, looks closely and realises that it is a leak from the compressor. He wipes at it with his finger and realises it is gold; Gold coloured oil, dripping slowly from a gap between two plates of steel.
He rubs it between his fingers, looks at it and realises that this isn’t good. Dejectedly, he realises that is probably another failure that is on the way.
He pauses and thinks. What should be done? Why is this occurring, why hasn’t anyone else found it, it is so obvious, as there is a thin line of oil tracing all the way down to a blackened drain hiding behind the corner as if to say, never look here.
Looking into the darkness he realises something can be done. Straightens, looks back to the engineering office and then with revolve in his heart walks back to his office. Calls the local contractor who repairs them and sits back contemplating what will become of them if they cannot reduce costs and produce more.
Within hours the contractor comes through to the CFO’s office. Has checked it out, and fixed up the leak. And tells him that he was lucky; Another few hours and that would have seized and would have been out of action for weeks.
What did they just save? A $20 fix could have cost his company $10,000 in repairs and been out of action for days. Which in turn would have cost them $100,000’s. All because of that little drip of oil coming from below the compressor.
Feeling pumped up with his success at beating of failure, he went home that night thinking about the feeling of success, taking him back to his days when he played chess at school. He could remember the feeling of success of beating his opponents with wit, cunning brains. It felt good to know that he had succeeded and was formulating ideas in his head as to how to make this go further as he fed the cat and got himself ready for bed.
The new day dawned and the athlete in the CFO came out. He arrived early at work, with his mind sharp like the keen edge of a sword and went in search of potential problems that he could capture and stop.
With a vision and clarity that he had not noticed before he saw glints of gold in all shapes and forms. From air and oil leaks through to the dirt sagging on the edges of machines. He set about the idea of grabbing every opportunity that could be seen and making it better. Knowing that he was making money every step of the way.
Within days the CFO made the engineering manager assemble a team, all they did was fix, clean, tighten and service machines. All day every day that is what they were going to do.
From machine to machine they progressed, straddling each and not leaving it until it was better, and each time claiming a little more success. With each step the plant looked cleaner, things stopped breaking down. Instead of the peace and quiet of complete shutdown of his operation there was a continuous hum of producing. More and more occurred until the whole plant shone. They were back.
Months later, the CFO pulled out a report and drifted across the courtyard to the engineering office. Slightly pushing at the door with the tips of his shoes to see a view which had never been seen. No operators, no chaos, the secretaries desk was orderly and organised and the engineering manager had his feet up and was enjoying a cup of coffee and reading over a book about PM.
It looked so peaceful that the CFO decided against saying a thing. Instead he closed the door, and revelled in his own joy at the success he had found.
He stared at the compressor and realised that it was really gold that he saw that day. Gold in the form of Preventative Maintenance.