All for the want of a nail!
“For want of a nail, the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe, the horse was lost.
For want of a horse, the rider was lost.
For want of a rider, the battle was lost.
For want of a battle, the kingdom was lost,
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.”
During World War II, this verse was framed and hung on the wall of the Anglo-American Supply Headquarters in London to remind everyone the importance of seemingly trivial repair parts and inventory replenishment.
As a lesson for today’s capacity assurance issues, I am borrowing this ancient proverb, which can be traced back to the 1390s and has been used by a variety of sources from Benjamin Franklin and nursery rhymes to philosophers and poets, all of whom communicated the same intent: We’re only as strong as our weakest link.
The deeper meaning of this proverb is this: The end result depends entirely on the functional capability of every component, every element or preparation. A process is only as strong and reliable as its weakest link. The point here is that while the nail is truly important, the apprentice who is in training to properly shoe the horse with all the skills and knowledge of a blacksmith is by far the most important element of sustainable success.
Okay…it puts a lot of pressure on the apprentice and a slightly skewed view however,…would you leave your supply chain to chance? If you were a food producer or a creative business or any other business, it is imperative that you have the right raw materials for the job to deliver the best product for your client or customer. Your staff, quite often one of the biggest costs in the business, is no different. We hear numerous comments on a daily basis about not finding staff with the right skills. Now is the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the apprenticeship levy and other skills initiatives to ‘grow your own’. Training and guiding staff to the exact standards and with the right skills for your business not only ensures you have a pipeline for the right skills but it puts your business in fantastic position for the future ensuring you stay competitive.
At Make It York for Business we understand that assuring the capacity to produce efficiently and effectively depend on reliable products and services which in turn depend on our people—their applied skills and knowledge—doing things right the first time.
For the want of a nail, the kingdom was lost. For the want of an apprentice, an industry is lost….
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