I own the process for cooling the air in my house. If something goes wrong with the air conditioners, it’s me they come to. So, when one of our units went bad, I had to bring over three different repairmen before I was back in business. I was sure there was a leak. All the key performance indicators pointed to a leak: frost on the line, ice in the evaporator, low air flow and no cooling. The first guy did the basic service on the unit, including the highly-profitable “spray with alkaline solution.” His thought about the leak: “You don’t have a leak… no need to test for one.” He pumped in some Freon and I had cool air again… but I still knew there was a leak. The second guy replaced a blower motor that failed the next day (when it rains it pours). Had it failed earlier, I would have credited it with the ice-up, but it didn’t so neither did I. By the way, the Freon the first tech had installed disappeared a few days later. Sound like a leak? Sure it does.
Well, at my insistence, a third guy – from a new firm – came to my sweltering house and checked for a leak. He found a massive one. The original installers had crimped the evaporator line and it had opened up to spew out Freon. In 12 hours, that hole blew 4 pounds of expensive gas into the atmosphere. Using a nitrogen charge, we found the large hissing rupture. I say “we” because he let me watch, learn and comment. At 1am last night, the copper tubing was replaced, 6 new pounds of Freon were doing their job, and the unit was cooling nicely. A leak… wow! Who would have ever thought that would happen? Yeah…
The answer: the process owner knew what was going on. But the first hired guns wouldn’t listen. They had their methodology and it did not include my voice. I had to get someone who actually listened to me before I could get to the truth and obtain a realistic repair. By including me in his process, I got dirty, but I got my problem fixed. Also, I am a lot smarter now about all this stuff.
9 BPM Bottom Lines and 1 Freebie:
- Listen to the process owner.
- Expect to get down and dirty to get something fixed right.
- Don’t let anyone dismiss or ignore your concerns, especially when you know in your gut that you are right.
- Involve the end user in systems analysis and design.
- Nothing creates ownership better than dirty hands and shared discovery (root cause analysis).
- Don’t let a methodology get in the way of reality.
- Don’t assume your external services providers know more than you do.
- All external service providers are not the same. Some care deeply, some just do the checklist.
- Certification is only as good as the people certified. Not everyone with a certificate or license is up to snuff.
- Freebie from my first tech: “Only do the alkaline wash on your air conditioner once every 5 years.” Any more and you are wasting money. If he had only listened he would be my “current” tech.
Category: Business Process Management (BPM) Tags: