Bass Fishing and Catching Sub-optimal Performance

A few years ago I decided I wanted to become a Professional Fishermen. Now it’s not at all like you might think. I didn’t have this burning desire to wear a yellow raincoat and head out to the ocean in search of whatever fish make up a fish stick. Or this romantic idea of going head-to-head with an epic whale. I was thinking I’d make a great Professional Bass Fisherman like on TV. Yep, the ones who toss in any lure and immediately return a big bass. Certainly it could not be that hard.

So, I made a simple list of what a Top-Level Fisherman would need. An expensive fishing rod and reels. I spared no expense on 15 poles. Certainly this investment would pay off immediately with my winnings, so it was easy to justify that purchase. Next, I’d need a boat. Slightly more expensive…OK, way more expensive. But, you can’t fish without a boat and everyo9.30.14 blog post image 1ne knows the big ones are across the lake, not on the side you’re on! Grab some bait on the way to the lake and one newly minted Professional Fisherman is out for practice.

What I quickly learned is the fish are not very good at getting caught in my lake as they were in the lakes on T.V. Our lake obviously had a fish issue. So, a new lake would be in order. Unfortunately, the next lake and the next many lakes had the same fish issue. After about 15 trips, it seemed like a good time to regroup on this. Perhaps, just perhaps, the fish were not the issue. Perhaps it was me.

Now, before we go further, I must admit I really didn’t know much about fishing. OK in reality, I knew nothing about it at all. Thankfully, there are training classes. I’m actually serious about this; I went to Bass College. No lie, look it up—they do exist. So, for the next six weekends, I went to school. You’d be amazed at the things I learned.

It would be impossible to fail now. I packed my Bass College diploma and headed back out. Things did pick up some, but I slowly began to realize my dream might never become true, and it didn't. Good news is, I have a really fast boat now, so I’m thinking water skiing.

This experience isn’t too far from some companies’ visions of asset monitoring. They fail to realize the complexity of the challenge. So they simplify and start buying equipment. Certainly, the equipment will provide our team with the insight to make better decisions. Or we install the “Egg Timer” concept of preventative maintenance. At 30 hours, change the oil, right?

The reality is “catching” sub-optimal performance is not the real solution. It’s understanding the lifespan of the asset and knowing when normal isn’t normal. It’s a craft made up of science and knowledge, just like fishing. Even with the best gear left in my hands, it was useless. That’s why we work with customers every day to be their fisherman—to “catch” when their assets are not performing at optimum and to predict what is wrong and when it’s time to change parts. We move them from reactive to predictive. It’s like knowing where the fish are. We call this service the Industrial Performance and Reliability Center. These high-tech fishermen’s goal is to catch those little things that save you from the big problems.

9.30.14 blog post image 2We publish a favorite catch each week in our newsletter, “Catch of the Week.” It’s a great place to see an actual customer example

each week of a failure that was avoided. We invite you to subscribe to learn more.

Oh, and if you know anyone looking for a great deal on a fishing rod, send them my way!

Alan Hinchman

As Chief Operating Officer at The Water Initiative, Alan Hinchman leads global businesses and local communities in the pursuit of clean, affordable water. His work with water distribution information technologies helps make our most valuable resource safe and accessible around the world. Connect with Alan on LinkedIn.

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