A 21 day operations management plan in July 2016 – Le Tour De France

image of cyclists

It is July – so it must be Le Tour De France! An operations management challenge?

In this year’s tour, there are 21 days of racing covering over 3500 km. The race visits not only France but briefly Spain and Andorra.

These 21 stages differ each day by route, terrain and discipline (e.g. on a ‘flat’ route with a ‘sprint’ finish, challenging racing in the high mountains of the Alps and Pyrenees, individual and team time trials). These can be seen as different production runs and assets which need to be planned in to meet a varied operations management plan ………….

This year there are 22 teams taking part – each starting with 9 riders.

Each rider is selected as having the ‘specific capabilities’ required to meet the team’s overall objectives – stage wins, Jerseys or overall General Classification (GC). They can be seen as highly trained and maintained assets which are put to work in support of their Team Leader, in the pursuit of specific team goals.

In terms of Total Productive Maintenance – managing and maintaining these expensive assets at their peak performance takes careful planning, supported by a highly trained team of multi-disciplinary specialists.

During each day’s racing for example, the aim is to ‘line balance and level load’ each rider and work to a clear plan in order to manage energy and effort effectively – without wearing out individual assets which may lead to a reduction in performance or downtime/loss of an asset – this could impact the achievement of the team objectives.

British cyclists and Team Sky are often at the forefront of innovation and Continuous Improvement (CI) in cycle racing and this year is no exception. Up to Stage 9, Team Sky and Chris Froome had the Yellow Jersey, Mark Cavendish had 3 ‘sprint’ stage wins and is in the Green Jersey, Steve Cummings had won 1 high mountain stage whilst Adam Yates wore the White Jersey and was lying 2nd, behind Froome, in the overall GC. There are still 12 Stages to go ……

What are you doing about the Total Productive Maintenance of your key assets and managing CI in your business?