Auto racing is one of the greatest examples of joint efforts that squirrel away assets, including people, technologies, materials and products, and post wins when all of those hidden resources and the far-reaching members of the team perform at peak levels under concentrated pressure.
The driver is in the spotlight, but he cannot be there without that extensive chain of supplies, suppliers and supporters that work every job behind him to keep his car on the track.
We have profiles of three of the deep-field supporters of racing teams in this issue, machine shops that keep racing cars running. In each report, it is evident that the managers of these shops share–and stay strictly focused on–qualities that are so basic that they are clichès. In what they say, each shop manager returns to teamwork, dedication and top performance as fundamentals for their success.
But behind those words they also reveal strong commitments to such things as flexibility and constant improvement, the assets that they have squirreled away and they draw on when the pressures of competition call for them.
Dedication, teamwork and performance are clichès because they are indispensable to making a business survive and thrive. If you are in business and go on, everyone knows that you have, or that you foster, those traits in your shop. Other assets may be less obvious, but flexibility, constant improvement, innovation, lean manufacturing, Six Sigma, and a host of similar practices and strategies have become the resources that separate the truly successful from the rest.
In the profile on his shop, John Medlan, crew chief for John Force Racing Inc., says they have learned many things that could be transferred to the "private sector," and that what John Force Racing knows could improve any business.
He was talking specifically about his company's "process format" for manufacturing race car parts, but it is easy to extend his words to the other things that John Force Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing and Rayco Machine Co. know: That success is built on screwing the basics down tight, and developing and stashing away a competitive asset that will provide the deep-seated support the team needs when the pressure is on.