We were called by a long time customer one early Sunday morning this past October. They had an important press conference the very next day at 2PM and had counted on having a 1.1 meter long model aircraft as a centerpiece for the event. But the non-PacMin model had been delivered to them damaged and in an unsuitable condition for display.
They were asking the impossible, to strip off the existing paint, create new artwork, repaint and apply a clear coat on the model in time to ship it to the venue….. all in less than 10 hours!
We were not scheduled to operate that Sunday and it was necessary to assemble a team on extremely short notice to accomplish the task at hand. Well, we did it, completing the work at 3:15 AM. The customer was ecstatic. Other than a few people, those at the event had no idea of the machinations that took place in such a condensed time frame to get the model into the spotlight at the anointed time.
In the ensuing weeks, I reflected on what made all this possible. What was the underlying reason or theme that gave our organization the ability to pull this off?
Was it a warrior spirit to rally on a day of rest and tackle a major challenge?Was it teamwork?
Was it a desire to help a friend in a time of need?
The answer was “yes” to all of those. And……despite our desire and willingness to make this “miracle” happen, something else needed to be present.
And that something else is what I would call depth.
To me, depth is having enough of the right people onboard an organization available to perform at a high level of competency and passion even if some of the team is unavailable.
Sports teams refer to this phenomenon as having a “deep bench”. This means they have a pool of talented individuals that they can draw on when other players are fatigued or injured. The greater the depth, the more resilient the team or organization and the more likely they can respond successfully to adversity and opportunity.
That Sunday, when we started calling our people to tackle this job, several were out of town and others didn’t pick up the phone right away. Not to worry, a few more calls were made and the team was quickly assembled.
Without the “depth” of talented individuals on our team, we couldn’t have responded successfully.
The same holds true from the perspective of plant and equipment. Without numerous paint spray systems and graphic computers, had one failed, we would have failed as well.
We look at all our suppliers from this perspective.
What is the depth of their “bench”?
Despite what they may want to do and say they can do, will they really be able to come to our rescue in a time of need?
Are we following the Sirens’ song * of chasing the lowest pricing and purchasing from a company that won’t be able to perform in a real pinch?
Are we factoring that into our assessment of the true costs of doing business with them?
I urge our current and prospective customers to consider the concept of depth and see how we stack up.
We invite you to take an “in depth” look at that of what we are made of.
*In Greek mythology, the Sirens were three dangerous bird-women, portrayed as seductresses who lured nearby sailors with their enchanting music and voices to shipwreck on the rocky coast of their island.