So my first car was a 1978 Ford Cortina 1600L Saloon. Bought it in 1986 for £350- a month’s pay at the time 102,000 miles on the clock-3 careful owners. I was working for the DHSS and wanted to impress Beth from incontinent payments. Anyway after numerous rejections Beth eventually wore down and agreed to an evening out –a walk by the sea in Port Talbot and a chip buttie. The Cortina needed some welding-both sills had gone and the seat mountings were very rusty. Pay day arrived and I had the option of welding the Ford or buying a fancy new radio/cassette player for the car. I used my brain and obviously bought a cassette player to impress Beth. I embraced my feminine side and invested in a new tape of an emerging band called the Pet shop boys. Mam ironed my best Hawaiian shirt and it was off to pick up Beth. She emerged from her mother’s looking stunning in white cowboy boots, summer tanned legs, a blue rar rar skirt and pink and green stripped top. Beth was going for the full Pepsi and Shirley look (for our younger readers Wham’s backing singers) (for our younger, younger readers George Michael was in Wham and he had 2 girl backing singers) ….Beth looked a bit like Shirley).
Any way, I opened the door for Beth she climbed into the beast; she had a wrestle with the seat belt and eventually buckled in. I did a Dave Starsky, slide across the bonnet and climbed into the driver’s side. I flicked on the cassette-Beth was obviously impressed. The smell of my Kouros mingled with her Poison and the pine fresh magic tree made a heady mix in the car. Off we went through town and up Neath Road to Bryn. Neath Road is a 1.25 mile hill that takes the main road out of Maesteg to Port Talbot. Half way up the hill we encountered a Brewers bus doing about 15mph and belching black diesel fumes. I thought its time to unleash the power of the 1600 and further impress Beth. I changed down, waited for a gap and shot out to overtake the bus. To my side I heard Beth squeal- obviously she was impressed with my driving skills. I cut back in front of the bus and turned to give Beth one of my first best Carlos fandango smiles. Unfortunatly Beth wasn’t there, the rusted seat mountings had snapped and she had done a version of the frosby flop onto the back seat. All I could see was 2 White Cowboy boots, some suntanned legs and a pair of Marks and Spencer’s tangas size 10. I pulled in by the Golf club and helped Beth from her predicament. Now this story doesn’t end well, Beth decided she wanted to go home and I could keep my chip buttie, crap music and 70’s shirt. Two years later she married Ian from RMP glazing.
So what’s the point of all this middle aged rambling- Repair or improve. We see lots of business that try to create the ideal state, but pay no attention to the current state. I spent all my money on a pipe dream. I should have welded the Cortina and put the cassette in when the car was safe. How many future states fail? In my experience it’s the majority. People all want the magic fix, but they do not address the fundamental problems within the organisation. Stability is a very dull subject, but the best Companies standardise before they Customise…..don’t try to build your fancy beach house on quick sand. Maps often look at issues and wastes. We need to examine what are the true causes of problems not just the effects. Kanban is the answer to all stores problems…what if its not? What if it’s the size of the warehouse, the purchasing team, the IT system? When mapping try looking at the way we try developing our systems, our people as well as the faults in the process.
So guess what I did next to the Cortina? Took out the passenger seat all together and invested in two new fogs lamps for the front. I had an invite to Beth and Ian’s wedding, took Natasha Davies who was scared stiff of cars and liked the fact she always had to travel in the back!