Renaissance man in the Knowledge Age Achieving more with less

Wednesday, 10 January 2007

Fast Pit Crews

I have always been amazed as to how fast pit crews can complete stop in a race, in less then 10 second these guys do it all including a refuel, tire change and replace the noise of formula 1 car. This is certainly and example of peak performance if there ever was one, so how do they do it I needed to know.

The deep seated thought in my head was that these guys must of just be fast, after doing some digging and talk to actual pit crew members I understood it was the opposite to what I thought, in fact it was about going slow. More to the point smooth fluid like execution of a lean process.

By focusing on speed it appears that all one manages to do is to introduce mistakes and errors, this is certainly true from my experience in life. So instead a pit crew stakes out where the car is going to pull up and waits there, tools in hand.
Upon arrival each member carries out a well trained and practiced routine in parallel with the other members each of these routine are part of a lean process. The key, even amongst the heat and noise of the pit none of these pits are frantic, when you watch them you notice how deliberate they are.

The other thing that is interesting is that they have no idea of time; they can only judge how quick or slow a stop is by gauging how well they did there job, hence pit crews are often surprised by record turn around time because they have no perception of time and this is because our subjective experience of time is highly dependent upon our perception of control and familiarity with events.
The take away value of all of this is that we can improve our performance by focusing on improving our processes and our execution of those processes.

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