Tools are Just as Important as Talent

A mechanic once advised a trucking owner that his job is only as good as the tools he has.  The trucking owner agreed and bought all the tools & supplies the mechanic needed.  The owner was rewarded with trucks that hardly had breakdowns.  If there were, the mechanic would immediately have the broken-down truck repaired within a few hours.  The result was increased revenue and the appreciation of good delivery service by the truck owner’s clientele. 

A lot has been said about talent but not much about the tools and instruments the people we hire use.  Many enterprises insist on hiring talented people but would scrimp on tools and instruments.  The results then speak for themselves. The jobs we give to talented people end up done short of our expectations because the talented people didn’t have the right tools or instruments that they needed.

When managers at an energy corporation complained that the quality control department took a long time in clearing materials for use, the QC laboratory staff retorted that the managers hadn’t acted on their repeated requests to buy new testing equipment.  The managers said that the equipment, which included specialised ovens, were too expensive.  The laboratory staff said that their ovens were already old and were difficult to start up every morning; hence, the QC laboratory couldn’t test materials fast enough.  Executives, thus, asked the purchasing department to rush the order for new ovens.  The QC laboratory was fully staffed but they didn’t have capable equipment such that they couldn’t do their jobs and meet the enterprise’s expectations. 

We see the same situations in offices where administrative assistants end up working overtime because their desktop computers are slow and outdated.  We see this also in cafeterias where servers complain there are not enough plates, utensils, and trays to serve customers.  And we see this in banks where there are enough tellers but poor internet connections force long transaction times for waiting clients.   

Talent is only one factor when it comes to pursuing productivity in the workplace.  The other is having adequate tools, instruments, and supplies for the talented people to work effectively. 

About Ellery’s Essays

Published by Ellery

Since I started blogging in 2019, I've written personal insights about supply chains, operations management, & industrial engineering. I have also delved in topics that cover how we deal with people, property, and service providers. My mission is to boost productivity via offering solutions and ideas. If you like what I write or disagree with what I say, feel free to like, dislike, comment, or if you have a lengthy discourse, email me at ; I'm also on LinkedIn:

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