Wiring Harnes News Nov-Dec 2021 - Page 17


Quicksand ! The Danger of Overcommitting

By Loren Smith ______________________________


recently heard from a harness owner who was scrambling to keep up with demand . Kudos to him for being so busy in the midst of a pandemic , but he anxiously expressed that he was trying to avoid quicksand .
It ’ s a frightening visual , and I looked it up :“ A colloid of fine granular material and water , quicksand forms in saturated loose sand when the sand is suddenly agitated . When water in the sand cannot escape , it creates a liquefied soil that loses strength and cannot support weight .”
Right . Can ’ t support weight . I ’ ve been there . Around the tenth year of my 25-year ownership of Monona Wire , our culture of intensive customer focus was paying off to the extent that we were consistently outperforming our competition . Our customers were honoring us with ever-increasing amounts of business . A nice problem to have perhaps , but I still remember it as the single worst experience in my years of owning a wire harness company .
Overwhelmed with more business than we could handle within the time frame our customers needed , we were forced to siphon customers to our competitors . And rather than regret that desperate move , I felt lucky to survive and vowed to prevent any chance of a recurrence of that predicament .
How did we avoid quicksand in the future ? That is reflected in three commonalities I find today whenever I observe successful harness companies :
Loren Smith CEO Blue Valley Capital
1 ) They are committed to rigorously monitoring capacity , recognizing the time it will take a new employee to become efficient and limiting the number of new hires coming in the door at any one time .
2 ) They properly screen potential new hires , such as by testing dexterity and math skills if those are two particular strengths essential to success in the prescribed role .
3 ) They provide full-time , one-onone training to new employees so they are fully adept at their jobs before they do an ounce of work . Even smaller companies I am familiar with accomplish this , often by temporarily pulling experienced workers off their jobs to thoroughly train new hires before they hit the production floor .
Without full recognition of the number of new people who can be
brought in within a given period , and without highly effective screening and training , a harness company risks getting submerged in quicksand . And it ’ s not always possible to escape .


l • I
MECALBI USA , LLC 9100 Mayflower Ave ., Suite H , El Paso , TX 79925 , USA T . + 1 915 227 5885 E . sales . usa @ mecalbi . us
MECALBI - ENGINEERING SOLUTIONS MEXICO S . DE R . L . DE c . v . Avenida Reforma , # 3131 - SC , Colonia Melchor Ocampo ,
CP . 32380 Cd . Juarez - Chihuahua - Mexico T . + 52 ( 1 ) 656 611 6477 E . sales . mexico @ mecalbi . mx
Loren Smith can be reached at lms @ blvcapital . com or www . bluevalleycapital . com .
IM =i#H lil3H 1S09001