The key to operational excellence and having a fully optimized business is having the operational processes in place that are executable, measured, tracked and reported. Here is an example of operational failure at best.
It was 8 years ago on October 7, 2004, when Attorney Cally Houck life changed forever. On this day, Cally didn’t realize that as she hugged and kissed her two daughters: Raechel (24) and Jacqueline (20) outside her law office it would be the last time because a few hours later, they were fatally killed in a car accident as their rental car smashed head on with an 18-wheeler. The car was badly burned as a result.
Because of the car fire, it took days before Houck learned that the Chrysler PT Cruiser her daughters had rented, after being offered to them as a free upgrade, had been recalled because the power steering fluid could leak and cause a fire. A leak of power steering fluid could also result in a loss of car control.
Unfortunately, Enterprise Rental Cars, never made repairs to that PT Cruiser after the recall. The Houck sisters were the fourth customers to rent the PT Cruiser after Enterprise learned of the recall. Ultimately, their negligence resulted in the death of Houck sisters. Enterprise Rental Cars has since admitted it was at fault for leasing out the car and paid the family $15 million in damages.
Cally Houck and her state senator and representative are fighting to pass a bill introducing legislation that will prevent rental car companies from renting or selling a vehicle until any safety recall issue is addressed.
Reading this sad story, we realize this could be any of us, our children, family member or friend. Your customers may think the same thing for your line of business. The question is, are you going to be a proactive business or a reactive business like Enterprise Rental Cars and pay a hefty price of $15 Million because you failed to have adequate operating procedures for your business? Hopefully, you made the decision to take the proactive approach.
Here are some operational excellence lessons businesses can learn from Enterprise Rental Cars $15 Million mistake.
As you can see, just as Enterprise Rental Cars failed to have effective operational processes in place to minimize their risk level, the same can happen to your business if you fail to take option. Unfortunately, the difference between you and Enterprise is they make billions of dollars and have the cushion to adjust and bounce back and you may not. So, I must ask, what will you do differently to avoid a similar situation from occurring in your business? Do you have the discernment to review your business or will you be willing to invest in an independent reviewer? The bottom line is this; the lack of action can cost you millions or worst yet, your business. It’s your choice, so choose wisely.