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Every Process Can be Improved

I brought Bob Tarzwell into Rockwell Collins’ Cedar Rapids office to help with the company’s technology. On Bob’s first day there, after he’d told them about being hit by lighting twice in one day, Plant Director Mike Driscoll asked Bob if he wanted to take a tour of the facility.

Without batting an eye, Bob said, “Listen, Mike, I’ll not only go on a tour with you, but I can promise you that by the end of the tour, I will give you a list of things that you can do immediately that will save you at least $250,000 a year.”

Now he really had everyone’s attention. These were the guys who were responsible for running the shop as cost-effectively as possible. In fact, Bob was telling them that they were not doing their job right and he could prove it.

Mike just put his head back and roared. Then he said, “Really, you think you can do that, huh?”

“I don’t think I can do that, I guarantee it.” Bob said.

I could sense that Mike was looking at me, but if he was, all he could see was the top of my head because I was holding it in my hands and shaking it. And Bob just kept on going in a way that I thought was closely related to the old saying, “Give a man enough rope…”

Mike said, “You know Bob, I’ve got to tell you that now you have my full attention. You say that you can do that right now, today?”

“Sure, but before I do, I need to ask you something.”

“Okay,” Mike said tentatively, “Go ahead and ask me.”

“Are you going to hire me to bring heavy copper into this place?”

Mike laughed again and said, “Of course I’m going to hire you; why do you think we flew you all the way out here today, for the hell of it? Why do you think you’re here?”

Bob smiled and said, “All right then, I’m ready for that tour now.”

Read the full column here.


Editor's Note: This column originally appeared in the September 2014 issue of The PCB Design Magazine.

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