Put Highly Efficient Processes In Your Business

April 13, 2013 | Roger and Susie Engelau

IndyCar pit stops are an amazing example of efficient processes! By making pit stops, cars can:

  • Carry less fuel
  • Be lighter and faster
  • Use softer tires that wear faster but provide more grip

Few things in business are less glamorous than reviewing your processes and procedures. But if you take time to figure out exactly HOW the routine things that are done in your business SHOULD be done and WHO should do them, you’ll reap thousands in profits.

Teams usually plan for their car to pit following a planned schedule, the number determined by the fuel capacity of the car, tire lifespan, and tradeoff of time lost in the pits versus how much time can be gained on the race track. Choosing the optimum pit strategy of how many stops to make and when to make them is crucial in having a successful race. It’s also important for teams to take competitors’ strategies into account when planning pit stops, to avoid being “held up” behind other cars. An unscheduled or extended stop, such as for a repair, can be very costly for a driver’s chance of success.

For you as a business owner, it’s important to go to this level of analysis for the processes in YOUR business and, as pit teams do, understand your competitor’s’ strategies and where you can blow their socks off with great processes. About 80% of what’s done in your business can be systemized.

Great processes should be:

  • Efficient
  • Cost-effective
  • Smooth
  • Easily repeatable

If they are, you will:

  • Outperform your competition with high-quality, high-speed goods or services,
  • Delight your customers and keep them forever
  • Have profits as a high as the Goodyear blimp at the Indianapolis 500

In the IndyCar Series a pit stop is a highly complex operation. During a routine pit stop, the tires are laid out and 3 of the 4 tire changers are pre-positioned before the car enters its pit stall. The 4th tire changer, whose responsibility is the rear tire on the far side of pit road from the pit wall, doesn’t take his position until after the car arrives, due to a rule against having the car run over the feed hose for the impact wrench used to change the tires.

After the car arrives, the first step, done while the 4th tire changer takes his position, is for a mechanic to insert the vent hose into its socket on the engine cowling. This hose vents the air out of the fuel tank, captures any overflow fuel, and activates the car’s built-in pneumatic jacks. Another mechanic attaches the refueling hose to its socket, allowing the fuel to flow into the tank.

Simultaneously, the 4 tire changers remove and install the new tires. After the tire changes are done, the front tire changers may use manual adjusters to adjust the angle of the car’s front wing.

Had enough detail about pit stops yet? This is how much detail and precision you want to put into creating and implementing the processes in your business!

After the tire changes are complete, the vent hose is removed, allowing the car to return to its wheels. However, the driver usually must wait until the fuelling is finished and the fuel hose is removed. The right front tire changer (who’s usually also the crew chief) signals the driver when the stop is complete. Before the car departs its stall, a crew member must use a squirt of water to wash any excess fuel from the fuel hose and vent hose sockets.

Apply the precision of an IndyCar pit team to your business and watch your profits soar. It’s vitally important for the survival of your business and it’ll give you back time in your personal life too.