NFL trades happen very infrequently, especially in the middle of the season. Offensive and defensive systems all have steep learning curves, and to swap out pieces of the specialized schemes makes it very difficult to get through the learning curve in such a short turnaround time of one week between regular season games.
So it certainly sent shockwaves through the NFL (and all of those fantasy football lovers) when the Cleveland Browns dealt away last year’s #3 overall pick, running back Trent Richardson, to the Indianapolis Colts for a first round draft pick next year.
Usually, such big shocking news comes with an immediate negative response, especially from the Browns fan base – they just lost their franchise running back. However, analysis from ESPN:
All you have to do with this stunning transaction is consider one obvious fact: The Browns weren’t going anywhere with Richardson as their franchise back.
There are a lot of Lean lessons that can be pulled from this scenario.
- In a complicated series of processes that comprise a professional football offensive scheme, having one super efficient (and valuable) piece surrounded by inefficient and substandard pieces will only drive optimal results so far.
The primary objective of a football team is to win the game. That’s why they play the games. In order to win the game, a team must score more points than the opponent. That’s why they keep score.
If one could properly evaluate and rank the impact of each offensive position group on scoring points, maybe using a fishbone diagram or an interrelationship digraph or value stream map, you might find that a quarterback has a greater impact on offensive success than a running back while both are heavily reliant on a strong offensive line. Outside of Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas the Cleveland offensive line is inconsistent. Good offensive lines can make good RB or QB into great ones, while a fickle offensive line can make great RB or QB run for their lives.
The Browns don’t have a great offensive line. They don’t have a great quarterback. Their wide receivers are not game changers. A lot of changes would have to occur with the Browns offensive personnel before they would be considered competent. Acquiring that competency would require money to bring in the right players and time to build cohesion in the scheme between the players.
Running backs, to a varying degree, are inherently replaceable pieces and the most easily subbed-out pieces of an offense. A lot of the value in a running back is the ability to read where defenders are once the ball is snapped and use athletic ability to get past them once the play has started. Great running backs like Adrian Peterson are rare and teams build around great players like that. Trent Richardson is talented, young, semi-inexpensive, and therefore very valuable to an offense ready to take the next step but not to one that is rebuilding like the Browns. Cleveland is better off putting in a replacement-level running back or free agent veteran like Willis McGahee who can pretty easily understand the playbook and comes in at a far cheaper rate but might lack the speed or strength that makes younger running backs popular.
Now cut to the Colts, who have dealt away a first round draft pick next year for Richardson. They have a strong offense (albeit a questionable offensive line). Their quarterback is also young but already very good. Their receivers are very good. They just lost their own starting running back Vick Ballard for the season due to injury. They are adding a competent piece to an already competent offense.
Having a strong running back like Richardson surrounded by less-than-adequate personnel on the Browns is like a manufacturing facility having top-of-the-line forklifts that are fuel efficient, fast, and can lift heavy loads while other aspects of the plant are struggling. If your production machines are inefficient and making lots of scrap, a speedy forklift isn’t going to make up for the lack of quality with fast transportation. Investment in the speedy forklifts would be premature, as would the Browns continuing to employ a running back that could bring more value to the club if dealt away. Invest in the “low hanging fruit” instead of “rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.”
- Sometimes the smart strategic decisions are extremely unpopular in the short term.
This happens all the time with strategic culture shifts in companies. In an effort to become more efficient and reduce waste, processes get altered and personnel responsibilities get shifted. People are creatures of habit and running into big changes in how they operate is scary and threatening.
So guess who absolutely hates this trade? Yep, Browns fans. It is another shining example of the club “investing in the future” by dealing away good players today and remaining incompetent in the short term.
But who thinks the deal was a good idea? NFL drafting experts and analysts. They don’t have emotional ties to the organization so they can review the deal objectively without feelings getting in the way.
What differs between this and traditional industry? The NFL’s revenues are driven by popularity. TV ratings, merchandise sales, ticket sales, sponsorship sales – they are all metrics driven by popularity. So along with the sacrifice of current talent for better talent later, the team is also “investing” the loss of popularity in increased popularity in the future. Unfortunately, there are only so many times a team can go to that well before the fan base completely gives up all hope.
That brings up…
- Remain steadfast in applying a strategy that you believe will achieve the end goal and stick with it through tough times, but remain agile enough to make adjustments as needed.
There are only so many times a company can hit the figurative reset button on improvement programs without them starting to feel like the “flavor of the month.” Lean is a tough concept to absorb, especially by those who will be impacted the most by change. It’s extremely headache-inducing at first when programs don’t go perfectly at first, and many times companies will throw in the towel and say “It can’t be done here” when that’s almost completely untrue.
Look at the number of starting quarterbacks the Browns have had since they started the franchise back up in 1999 – 19. In the same year they drafted Trent Richardson they also took quarterback Brandon Weeden in the first round. Now with a new head coach and new front office the Browns are again in transition mode after giving up on Richardson and (seemingly) Weeden already. If you were the Browns fans, wouldn’t you be angry too?
Yes, the Richardson deal is probably okay-at-best in the long term – dealing away a former #3 overall draft pick for a first round pick that will be in the #22-32 range because the Colts are decent this season means that the Browns are losing 20 spots of value. However, Browns fans are frustrated that other pieces of the football offense interrelationship digraph have not been upgraded sufficiently that will allow a good RB like Richardson or a decent QB like Weeden to succeed. The Browns are again going back to the drawing board.
One of the biggest inconsistencies in all of sports is the apparently-stated-but-not-really-followed-or-enforced standardized strike zone. In reality, baseball strike zones are extremely subjective from one home plate umpire to another and from hitter to hitter (they are all of different heights and use different batting stances).
If only there was a way to better error-proof strike zones for consistency!
Well thanks to Rob Neyer at BaseballNation we get this nugget of a jersey, worn by the 1952 Denver Bears of the Western League minor league baseball league, along with the reasoning behind the design:
Sometimes baseball experiments take root (as in the DH), and sometimes they fail to gain traction. In the latter category was Denver’s “strike zone” uniform, which made its debut against Omaha in August, 1952. Now, why the Denver management thought making it easier to call strikes against its players was a good thing we don’t know. Or perhaps they were responding to the quality of umpiring in the Western League by being helpful.
Clever, but yes…why would hitters want to make it easier for umpires to call strikes against them? I suppose it could also justify to an umpire that a high pitch was actually a ball. There’s probably no Pitch F/X data available for the 1952 Western League.
Maybe they were onto something – the 1952 Denver Bears won the Western League championship that season.
This is a nifty example of using visual indicators to better error-proof subjective measures. It’s not fully error-proofed, but it at least provides additional information to an umpire so that the odds of making an accurate call are increased.
In August, ASQ CEO Paul Borawski penned his thoughts about companies providing training around quality, using data from the Global State of Quality survey to show that companies with centralized quality departments were more likely to provide quality training and that only 5% of surveyed organizations said they provide no quality training at all.
One of the key points he touched on was that the majority of organizations that do provide quality-related training only provided such training to those individuals who were “directly involved in the quality process.” I believe this to mean the direct quality-measuring/checking/improving/engineering/managing/auditing roles, when in truth every single person touching a process is thereby involved in the quality process.
Why do I say this?
Going back to what I’ve stated about my definition of quality:
I define quality as the rate by which customer expectations are met, where customer expectations are “what the customer wants, the quantity the customer wants, when the customer wants it, where the customer wants it, and in what condition the customer wants it.”
This definition encompasses more than mere audits or standards, measurements or checks. Quality isn’t centered around any particular function – however, every function is centered around quality.
Every process step, every touch, every change has an impact on meeting those customer expectations because they all consume time or resources and it is imperative that all process users maximize their results in meeting those customer expectations.
So if every process step contains elements of quality (who, what, when, where, how) then shouldn’t every individual involved in those process steps receive some degree of quality training?
(I hope you are nodding right now and/or saying “yes.”)
Now…what is quality training and why does it matter?
I think there is some ambiguity about the definition of training relative to learning – they are inherently different.
I see training as being direct, specific, tactical, and skill-driven. Training is limited in scope and is a direct connection among practice, knowledge, and results. Training brings the skills of users up to an even level and is an attempt at standardizing the application of those skills/best practices across users. It covers a lot of the who-what-when-where of achieving quality results.
Learning, however, is more strategic, subjective, ambiguous, and less limited in scope. Learning builds on the training skills (who-what-when-where) and asks why, how, and what if so that there is deeper understanding of why we’re doing what we do.
Quality training through classes, direct supervision and onboarding, and comparison of results achieved to results expected is a valuable and tactical approach to achieving quality. This training can also come through standardized work, demonstration, and practice. This type of quality training should be a bare minimum for all employees touching value-adding processes that have customer expectations tied to them. If employees are unaware of this fact, then it is the fault of management.
However, if companies genuinely want to create greater bonds and engagement with employees and collectively seek out even better results, they should emphasize learning and challenge their process users to ask why, what if, and how. Don’t let the answer to challenges be “this is the way we do it, period” – let the challenge question be “how can we do this better?”
One more point about quality training – some companies provide a suite of quality training programs to employees that may or may not be directly related to the processes they use. Just like it is unreasonable to attempt to train a dog to drive a bus, why would companies set goals around getting employees to engage in certain elements of quality training that aren’t going to quickly provide applicable results?
Lean Blitz Consulting provides different types of quality training, such as with Lean and Six Sigma concepts…but only where using those new skills will be appropriate. We are not prescriptive and do not put the cart before the horse – before we suggest any degree of quality training offering, we determine where the training gaps are between what skills and knowledge exist and what skills and knowledge are necessary to meet customer expectations. I’m not going to teach a class on poka-yoke to a group of individuals who either already know and apply poka-yoke daily, but I’m also not going to provide it to individuals who don’t even know what their customer expectations are in the processes they currently use.
I’m part of the ASQ Influential Voices program. While I receive an honorarium from ASQ for my commitment, the thoughts and opinions expressed on my blog are my own.
How many times have you wondered if University comes before or after a state name when referring to a college? Not many?
Okay, how many times have you heard someone call a school by the wrong name? Even the talking heads at ESPN get confused about it – and they very rarely correct themselves.
For as much belly-aching as folks from THE Ohio State University provide about emphasis on their school’s name, hearing someone screw up saying the name of your school incorrectly is frustrating and somewhat disrespectful.
I provide for you today a .pdf list of the proper names of universities featuring only the name of the state and “University”.
Fortunately there are only four schools of formula [State Name]+["University] – Indiana University just happens to be one of them. When I hear “University of Indiana” it really grinds my gears. Hopefully this will help reduce confusion.
I have been watching football for about 30 years, but have really only genuinely paid attention to football for 25 – hey, a national championship by the local university known as Notre Dame will make even the non-watchers three counties away stand up and notice.
During that 25 years, never have I seen a frequency of helmets flying off of players’ heads during games than these last few years. I haven’t run any numbers but I’m not the only one to notice.
College football implemented two rules about helmet removal in the last couple of years with an eye on safety. One, a player whose helmet comes off during play must come off the field for the next play, with the expectation that a concussion test can be administered (if needed) or helmets can be adjusted for better fit UNLESS it is abundantly clear the helmet was ripped off through no fault of the now-helmetless player. Not coming off of the field when required is a penalty.
Two, a player who has his helmet removed during play must immediately cease participating in the play. I believe officials will rule a play dead on the spot if it is a ball carrier that has his helmet removed.
Autonomous management has taught me that the priority order of effective problem solving is as follows:
- Eradication of the problem – the problem can never come back/error-proofing
- Minimization of the problem – reduce the chance of occurrence of the problem/issue, as close to error-proofed as possible
- Containment of the problem – along the lines of problem occurrence reduction, keep the problem in control and keep it from getting out of hand
- Clean the problem – the most laborious and investment-intensive step, forcibly take care of the problems as they occur, which is better than letting the problem run rampant
The closer to problem eradication you can get, typically the better off you’ll be.
If you can’t fully fix it, minimize it. If you can’t minimize it, contain it. If you can’t contain it, create policy and rules around it and enforce those policies and rules.
So relative to autonomous management, creating in-game rules about helmets and player safety is effectively the level of “cleaning the problem” because not only does the problem still exist it’s hardly contained to certain players/leagues/levels/ages, but it is one that can be manipulated.
This article covers how the helmet rules cover up the genuine problem and can be manipulated by opposing players. I’m inclined to side with this stance. It isn’t fixing the problem – it merely throws policy at it.
What can be done to eradicate the problem with the helmets flying off? First, we need to understand why they come off unexpectedly in the first place. Without performing a full-blown fishbone diagram for root cause analysis, I’ll list off some categories and sub-categories of places to look. As with a fishbone diagram, some ideas will fit in multiple categories
- Proper fit for each player’s head that promotes comfort and safety while also remaining in place
- Knowledge/training on how to properly fit a helmet to individual players’ heads
- Following of proper safety practices in place with helmet – proper padding, proper use and attachment of chin strap, etc.
- Direction of hit from opposing players that could most easily cause helmet removal
- Amount of hair players have between scalp and helmet padding – lack of rigidity could cause ease of removal
- Helmet design/variations in design for different shapes of heads
- Helmet coverage of head
- Chin strap design/placements
- Facemask – distance away from face
- Types/shapes of padding in helmet
- Stretch of chin straps
- Chin strap clasp/snaps
- Helmet rigidity
- Sweat between skin/hair and padding
- Standards for assessing helmet fit
- Use of standard safety features like air pockets for custom fits and properly snapped-in chin straps
- Direction of hits/pulls that make helmet removal easiest
- Standards for assessing helmet fit
- Force necessary for removing helmet
- Manufacturer’s defect causing broken helmet/chinstrap
- Jadeveon Clowney
While this list is only one level deep in each category and is thereby not exhaustive, nowhere in the whole concept of problem eradication is it mentioned that “creating a rule” is a good way to eliminate the problem.
So what should football do? Go back to helmet manufacturers and ask for better root cause analysis and implement findings into their designs. Hold manufacturers accountable for good products instead of sticking with the manufacturers who give the most sponsorship money. Make it harder for players to violate helmet fits. Football can maintain the rules on the field about helmet removal, but if manufacturers do their job properly then the helmet removal rules will become less of an issue since helmets will be removed far less often.
Again, not everyone thinks removed helmets is an issue. The NFL? The league claiming safety is their #1 priority? The league that just agreed to a $700M+ settlement with retired players regarding ill health effects caused by their playing football? From the linked article:
(NFL) spokesman Greg Aiello, in an e-mail, said, “We require chin straps to be buckled for safety reasons, and I do not think flying helmets is a significant issue for us.”
Two of the University of Richmond’s top offensive players lost their helmets twice each following contact with N.C. State players during the first half of the Spiders’ 23-21 loss on Saturday night.
Richmond coach Danny Rocco said Monday that after analyzing video, he views the helmet situation as “more of (an) equipment type of an issue than it was any intent by the Wolfpack.”
Senior receiver Ben Edwards lost his helmet while breaking a tackle during an early-game completion. He continued running with the ball, and was injured as he was brought down. Edwards suffered a concussion, Rocco said on Monday, and a head laceration that required nine stitches.
“I was on the field, I think, six times, standing over some of my players. I’ve never had that situation,” said Rocco, UR’s second-year coach who directed Liberty’s program 2006-11. “You don’t go out onto the field every time one of your kids gets hurt. But you would if you were concerned about something. You know what I’m saying? It happened six times.”
If you have to create a rule to prevent a problem, dig deeper to find ways to keep the problem from happening in the first place.
(H/T to Uni Watch for pointing out the Richmond Spiders helmet article)
I concede that I am one of the world’s biggest fans of Seth Godin’s work.
For those of you who don’t know, Seth is more than just a marketing and entrepreneurship blogger and author of popular business books like Purple Cow – he is a crazy brilliant problem solver with brutally honest insights (like this one about the education system).
But sometimes his blog posts go above and beyond my typical high expectations. More than just insightful, he comes up with solutions that are forehead-slappingly obvious that we as society should have thought about earlier.
Here are excerpts and commentary on three recent blog posts of his that cover quality and error-proofing. Seth is, indeed, a Lean thinker.
Recently I posed the question “What is quality?” with the intention of finding a suitable definition. I ended with quality being:
the rate by which customer expectations are met, where customer expectations are “what the customer wants, the quantity the customer wants, when the customer wants it, where the customer wants it, and in what condition the customer wants it.”
Using Kodak and Polaroid as examples of mistaken quality, Seth said:
It turns out that what people actually wanted was the ability to take and share billions of photos at vanishingly small cost. The ‘quality’ that most of the customer base wanted was cheap and easy, not museum quality.
This confusion happens all the time. Quality is not an absolute measure. It doesn’t mean ‘deluxeness’ or ‘perfection’. It means keeping the promise the customer wants you to make.
There are two ways to make your shoes scuff-proof:
1. You can invest in a chemical process that involves an impermeable shine and be on high alert to avoid anything that might be damaging to that shine
2. You can wear well-worn, authentic shoes that are already scuffed
When we know and understand you and your brand, warts and all, it’s really unlikely that a new scuff is going to change our opinion of who you are and what you do.
Finally, his blog post that came out yesterday afternoon about error-proofing usage of cell phones in cars (and other states of motion):
There’s a technical solution, one that might work. The are two solutions I can think of actually, both cheap and fast and effective.
The first is to require the phone to automatically alert every person you’re texting or emailing at the moment you use your phone while moving. As we’ve seen, knowingly interacting with someone who is driving is a crime in many locales, and yes, you should go to jail for it. We need to change the cultural imperative, and we can’t do that with laws alone and we can’t do that with movies. Technology, though, can fix what it broke.
The second solution is even simpler: when a phone is moving, don’t permit it to accomplish certain tasks.
People won’t die as a result.
Please read these blog posts – and all of his other work – in their entirety. Trust me, it will be worth it.
We have yet another cup typo at a college football game!
This one comes to us from the University of Missouri, where they juuuust missed the correct spelling of Toledo.
Unlike Notre Dame, it’s unclear whether Missouri will have corrected the mistake by the time the University of Toledo comes into town (ND’s next home game is September 21, while Toledo comes to Columbia this Saturday), and if they have it corrected whether it was because of disposal of remaining stock or if they would consume remaining stock first.
I spend more words beating up on jersey and t-shirt manufacturers in my posts (see here, here, here, here, here, and here). Truth be told, they are organizations ripe with opportunities for improvement mainly because they see only the hard dollar savings from buying in mass quantities overseas and boating their merchandise over.
They fail to see the costs of inventory holdings, stockouts, lack of flexibility in meeting customer demands, overproduction of items that don’t sell (thereby creating more inventory holding), inflexibility in fixing defects, and so on.
But now we have a new reason for headscratching regarding apparel manufacturers – throwing some overprocessing into the ring through recalls of “defective” polo shirts. From a source to Uni Watch:
On Monday afternoon, we received a phone call from our Nike rep, demanding that we send back every gameday polo and pullover as soon as possible. Puzzled, we held off on sending them back until we received a more concrete explanation.
As it turns out, Nike applied their swooshes to the sleeves of their polos and pullovers, not the chest, meaning they were not visible during broadcasts.
Look at all the inefficiencies introduced to the process because the polos weren’t made right the first time. Calls had to be made to the customer schools. The schools take the time to collect all the polos and pullovers and send them back to Nike. Nike must clean them and apply the chest swoosh. Nike then sends the polos and pullovers back.
According to the picture, the swoosh can be seen fine on the sleeve but the necessity of having the swoosh on the chest? Again, from Uni Watch:
There’s something delicious about the Swooshkateers being too incompetent to get their own branding right, of course. But that obscures the larger issue, which is this: Does it really matter whether the logo is on Saban’s sleeve or chest?
The whole thing smacks of typical Nikean hubris.
Perhaps the quality issue could have been caught earlier had the apparel been manufactured stateside and gone through adequate quality checks? And did Nike make the specification that the polos and pullovers were to have a chest swoosh and it simply wasn’t done, or was it that a higher-up saw no chest swoosh and decided they wanted one to be there?
Welcome to the 2013 college football season! I had the good fortune of spending my weekend in Death Valley for the Georgia-Clemson game, and some observations from that experience will be reviewed later. Week 1 is in the books – first game jitters have passed and lots of new scenarios got their first game tests on and off the field. Let’s have a look at what unfolded across the college football landscape over the last week.
Thursday’s contest between South Carolina and North Carolina provided us with our first jersey oops. From SBNation:
Two things here. Obviously, the A is missing from the front of the jersey. However, in this game between the two Carolinas, if a viewer was colorblind would it be obvious enough to him or her that this kicker played for the southernmost team and not the one from Chapel Hill? A player indicating his team was Carolina doesn’t narrow which team it is in this game much.
“The big story at the SMU game was the whole whiteout thing they were supposed to do for the fifth straight year didn’t happen, because Nike didn’t get their jerseys ready in time. SMU wore red instead. What it resulted in was the SMU fans wearing all white in ‘support’ of Texas Tech, which wore all white.”
So Nike (presumably) dropped the ball and did not have game jerseys ready for SMU in time, therefore each team had to flip-flop home/road uniforms, and the crowd wore the same colors as the visiting team. Gotcha. Those Nike jerseys that weren’t ready to go by game time – is it because they were coming over from China on a boat? (No accusation, just a question.)
T-shirt launching guns are dangerous. An Arkansas marketing intern learned the hard way:
Arkansas says it won’t use a T-shirt launcher at War Memorial Stadium this weekend after a marketing intern was injured at last weekend’s game.
The school said Tuesday a pneumatic launcher was lying on the artificial turf when it discharged Saturday. An intern was treated at a hospital and released.
A powerful air-driven gun inadvertently went off – instead of simply saying it won’t be used, has anyone reviewed why it happened in the first place?
Production quality auditing failures strike again – this time, in the hands of the end customer:
Notre Dame fans at Saturday’s football game against Temple quenched their thirst for victory when their team won 28-6 with beverages served in souvenir cups hilariously mislabeled “Figthing Irish.”
Here’s to hoping the Notre Dame student body turns “Fig Thing” into a joke slogan for the season (and replaces Crazy Train in the fan consciousness).
In all seriousness, consider how many different checks and reviews this product had to go through in order to hit the customer’s hands.
First a graphic designer created the layout with the incorrect spelling.
Next, a printer produced the colored cup labels with the incorrect spelling.
After that, the cup assembler affixed these labels to the cups and did not catch the incorrect spelling before placing cups into the boxes.
After THAT, stadium concessionaires pulling the cups out of the boxes did not catch the incorrect spelling as they set out stock by the drink dispensers.
And only then did the error get streamed into the national consciousness via social media as fans with camera phones posted images of the cup defect to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and so on and so forth.
You might not be able to put a price on being mocked in the media…but the proliferation of this teeny tiny singular error that could have been prevented is quite comical.
And finally, a story that continues to mesmerize the college football world:
Earlier, (Johnny) Manziel walked down the field while rubbing his thumb and forefingers together, a gesture that usually means “money.” He also gestured that way after big plays last season.
Then, after a short run, Manziel got to his feet while jawing with Rice linebacker Nick Elder and mimed signing an autograph while shaking his head.
His offseason antics and potential NCAA violation by signing autographs for money put himself and his team under NCAA investigation. And now his on-field antics drew a penalty that could have cost his team dearly.
Penalties are results from defects in performance. Penalties should be avoided, and teams that can successfully complete their tasks while minimizing penalties have a strong chance of winning their games. Penalties do occur, however, and sometimes they are because of lack of training or inability to keep up with an opponent or they are simply accidental.
However, Johnny Football’s cause for penalty was not only carelessness but also complete disregard to sportsmanlike conduct. This is the equivalent of completely ignoring work instructions and following a process a completely different way that creates lower quality.
Sure, his error came against a lower-talent team like Rice and his error did not cost his team the game. But what if his carelessness happened against a superior team like Alabama? What if his immaturity cost his team field position that eventually cost his team the game?
Today the New York Mets traded outfielder Marlon Byrd to the Pittsburgh Pirates via post-trade deadline waiver claim. Normally these kinds of trades are newsworthy because the Pirates are fighting for a playoff spot and they have now bolstered their offense.
However, this trade is newsworthy for a different, far less Lean-worthy reason.
Tonight at Citi Field is Marlon Byrd T-shirt Night. Fans who purchased special t-shirt tickets and come to the game will get this snazzy Marlon Byrd shirt as a souvenir. Unfortunately, Byrd is now no longer a part of the Mets’ organization.
Oops. So now what will the Mets do? Will they look to give away an alternate shirt? Still give these shirts away as collectors’ items?
As an outsider this is pretty funny, but as a Lean guy it’s a head scratcher. After all, it’s not like the Mets were NOT going to hold up this trade just so the shirts were not defective. It’s also hard for the Mets to have predicted that this chain of events would have occurred in the span of 24 hours.
Would it have been possible for the Mets to use a local supplier and have gotten the shirts printed a lot closer to the date of the event so that such scenarios could have been projected? Yes, but financially viable? I’m not sure. And what if the manufacturer/printer broke down within the delivery schedule?
Obviously there are a lot of moving parts here, just for t-shirts. Free t-shirts. But again, better planning and local sourcing could have aided in preventing the error.
Not too long ago we covered the gauntlet machine snafu with the Notre Dame football team during practice. More information has come forward in the story that shows Brian Kelly should trust his more familiar and enlightened players.
The video, since removed, had Coach Kelly starting a drill but refuting players’ suggestions that they were entering the gauntlet from the wrong direction.
It showed Coach Kelly acted on his own wisdom and knowledge (or lack thereof at the time) instead of believing his players when they said they were entering the gauntlet the wrong way. Coach Kelly was substituting for the team’s running backs coach, who was absent that day – I’m betting that Coach Tony Alford would have known the difference.
But whether or not it was easy to tell if they were going the wrong direction, shouldn’t Coach Kelly have listened to his players instead of just shrugging it off?
Just because Coach Kelly is in a leadership role for the team, it doesn’t always mean he’s correct (as is demonstrated here). A good leader and a culture striving for continuous improvement and doing things better will put great value on sharing of ideas and questioning decisions not for the sake of arguing but for the greater good of the whole.
A growing culture, a Lean culture, a learning culture – they all develop trust up and down the chain of command by cultivating the understanding that there are no repercussions for trying to do what’s best for the whole by asking the right questions at the right time.
Yesterday ESPN aired footage from fall football practice at the University of Notre Dame, and had coach Brian Kelly wired up with a microphone to catch his commentary. Much to the video crew’s surprise, they caught junior running back Cam McDaniel learning the hard way that the gauntlet machine is one way only.
In his defense, it does not appear that there is signage on the outside indicating what direction he should enter the gauntlet. The footage is kinda grainy. And it’s not clear if the gauntlet padding indicates that entry can be made from either direction.
Also, why was he allowed to start the exercise from the wrong side of the gauntlet? Why wasn’t the coach aware that this drill was beginning on the opposite side? Running backs coach Tony Alford was excused from practice for a few days as his brother passed away and Brian Kelly took over coaching the running backs. Maybe coach Kelly was also unaware which side to start the gauntlet drill on because visual indicators were unavailable.
Visual indicators can keep you from hurting yourself. Just ask Cam McDaniel.
(H/T to Scott for sharing the link)
At yesterday’s baseball game at Turner Field a fan fell from an upper level platform and died. The cause of the fall onto a parking lot surface – lack of sobriety, accident, foul play, poor judgment, rain soaking the walking paths – has not been confirmed.
I’ve written about this subject before. It wasn’t pleasant then and it’s not now.
Teams do all in their power to cram as many spectator seats into as small of a land footprint as possible, stacking upper decks on top of middle tier concourses on top of field level boxes. Walking ramp after walking ramp after walking ramp. Flight of stairs after flight of stairs after flight of stairs.
But as stadiums went through a phase of growing taller with more seats (the capacity trend slows today, as Cinergy Field in Cincinnati and its 53,000 capacity gave way to Great American Ballpark and it’s 42,300 capacity) patrons were forced higher off the ground with steeper stairs to climb. Despite the additional rails, guards, and protections the risk of falling still exists.
The NFL claims that safety is the #1 priority for the league (player safety, that is). However, there are lots of things teams can do to prevent lapses in fan safety, but among extra padding and gates and walls and glass and nets and smaller stadiums, how far will teams go to maximize protection without disrupting the fan experience?
Last year Texas A&M ran into an issue of backordered Johnny Manziel football jerseys – they had not adequately planned for his popularity surge and could not keep his #2 jerseys in stock because of long lead times on orders to China. As a result, there was a lot of unmet demand.
(If they/adidas had sourced the jersey production locally, even stateside, they could have avoided the stockouts and met that demand.)
And now after Johnny Football won the Heisman Trophy and returns to College Station, you better believe the Texas A&M bookstore and other jersey outlets would be stocking up on his jerseys big time. (Yes, NCAA, we all know you know who TAMU’s #2 jersey is. Don’t pretend to be oblivious.)
But then we get this report from the weekend. From ESPN.com:
Two sources told “Outside the Lines” that Manziel agreed to sign memorabilia in exchange for a five-figure flat fee during his January trip to Miami for the BCS National Championship Game.
Three sources said Manziel signed photographs, footballs, mini football helmets and other items at the request of an autograph broker named Drew Tieman. Two sources, who are aware of the signing arrangement, told “Outside the Lines” that Tieman approached Manziel on Jan. 6, when he landed at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport to attend the game between Alabama and Notre Dame the next day.
Autograph broker? Where there’s a broker, there’s a bag of cash being transacted.
However, he’s signing his name. It doesn’t belong to the university. It belongs to him. Is that bad? From ESPN.com again:
If the NCAA investigation finds that Manziel has violated NCAA Bylaw 22.214.171.124 — accepting money for promoting or advertising the commercial sale of a product or service — he could be ruled ineligible.
Well, whether he’s promoting himself or the school or another entity, that’s apparently a no-no. And that means he could be ineligible to play football for Texas A&M. Apparently it’s okay for the school to use Johnny Football to promote itself and get rich in the process, though. ESPN.com again:
The value of Manziel is clear in the memorabilia and appearance market: Independent merchandiser Aggieland Outfitters recently auctioned off six helmets signed by Manziel and Texas A&M’s other Heisman Trophy winner, John David Crow, for $81,000. Texas A&M’s booster organization, the 12th Man Foundation, sold a table for six, where Manziel and Crow will sit at the team’s Kickoff Dinner later this month, for $20,000.
All in the name of amateurism, right?
So if Johnny Manziel – #2 – is not playing for Texas A&M, fans aren’t going to be all that interested in those jerseys being stockpiled by the bookstore and other jersey outlets. Not only that, there’s not even another #2 on the TAMU roster. Those #2 jerseys would then essentially be defects.
This is another example of why local sourcing, while more expensive up front, is a better plan than international sourcing. You minimize warehousing inventory, you have smaller batches, greater flexibility, you have shorter lead times, you minimize transportation, and in the event a player flubbs up or gets traded and is no longer wearing a particular jersey the cost of changing over is very small.
As we speak, there is surely a large quantity of TAMU #2 jerseys floating on a big boat from China to the west coast. Jerseys that may never be purchased.