Business & Leadership Behaviors HLG Products & Functions Technical & Industry Thoughts

Put a Square Peg into a Round Hole – The Apollo 13 Mission Challenge

Most of us are very good when things are going according to plan.  The only problem is that things frequently don’t.  It seems like the reality is that the off-the-rail days far outnumber those go the way we’d prefer.

Those teams that do well when things go off plan are usually the ones that endure.  It doesn’t take much digging to see that being great at problem-solving is a consistent characteristic in successful organizations.


The Apollo 13 Challenge

One of my favorite scenes in the movie Apollo 13 is when they need to fix the LEM air filter issue.  The problem they’re facing is to make a square filter work where a round filter was designed.  I think that how they overcame that challenge is useful today with many of the things we’re facing as organizations.

Today we see challenges at every end of our supply chain. It starts at sourcing and delivery of raw materials, then continues with the creation and distribution of our goods/services, and finally goes to a customer that has the will and means to purchase.  While each of the steps across the supply chain has a separate plan, they all must successfully work together.


The Challenge Impact

The most common part of any of these plans is that they start by addressing the now and the future.  Before you can tackle any problem, you need to get the big picture.  You need to understand what you have (the now), as well as what you need (the future).

Without that knowledge, you can’t begin to truly address the challenge – much less resolve a square-must-become-round level of dilemma like with Apollo 13.  As organizations, we’re continuously confronting our own kinds of “needs.”  But at times like what we’re experiencing today, we don’t always have the luxury of just throwing money at a problem for convenience.

One of the most significant issues in most organizations is that they don’t have a good handle on what they have. They may be great at tracking materials used in the production of goods/services.  Those can be readily managed against forecast.

But there are large expenditures for assets not being consumed in production.  These may only be looked at once a year for financial reporting and budgeting.  And even then, some of you may question the accuracy of that information.


Visibility of the Assets

Most of us don’t get that opportunity to dump all available resources on a table like in Apollo 13 to get that big picture of critical item data during a crisis.  Having your best understanding of all corporate resources available for use has rarely been more crucial than when we’re facing challenges like we’re seeing today – where we’re even having shortages on basic hygiene products.

We’re working with many organizations today to not only keep accurate track of their critical items but also to plan for the future with our mobilePLUS solution.  The combination of mobilePLUS, barcode/RFID item markings, and tracking with mobile tablets/devices, provides them the visibility and trust in their asset data that they need.  That asset data includes everything from essential office tools, plant & IT equipment to items that may need more frequent audits for security needs.


We welcome a discussion with you on how we may be able to impact your NOW and your FUTURE data needs.  We have a solution that addresses both.  mobilePLUS can be implemented in just a few days, 100% remotely for your organization.

We’ve been working with hundreds of locations all over the world, assisting them in meeting their challenge of visibility and trustworthy information for making their best decisions.  Let us help you.