Breaking Down the Numbers

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How many golfers are out there reading? OK, well, in case it’s not a large number, I’m going to preface this anecdote with explaining that this has a very non-golf-related point to it. So, just bear with me for a moment.

I’m a naturally competitive person with, well, just about everything in my life. And when I was a kid, first taking golf seriously, I used to get very frustrated at the missed opportunities each and every round that caused me—or I thought caused me—the chance to shoot a lower score. Nothing bothered me more than missed putts.

I’d come off the course and complain about the missed birdie on the eighth hole, the par putt I pulled on 11, etc. I’d, for example, lament that I wasted four or five easy shots because I couldn’t make a putt that day. (I’m guessing this sounds familiar to a lot of golfers out there?)

So, one day, in between rounds in a 36-hole tournament and likely both to teach me a valuable lesson and tired of hearing me whine, my dad suggested I take an extra scorecard with me in the afternoon. On it, he had me write (in place of names): “fairways,” “greens,” and “putts.” The concept was very simple, as I was to put a checkmark on the line for each hole that I hit a fairway or green, and I was to write down how many putts I had on each hole. Simple.

I did it, but after the round, I was quick to point out “all those putts” that were killing me. So, my dad had me go to the other numbers on there. That 5-foot miss on three? Well, I didn’t hit the fairway—put it in the trees—and then missed the green. That 20-footer I needed to make for birdie on that par-5? Well, I was in the trees again, couldn’t get back to the fairway, and did well to even have a putt for birdie.

And so on.

Surface level, all I could see were missed putts. Digging in just the slightest bit, it was the shots that led up to that putt that were hurting me.

OK, so I’m finally getting to my point here: The lesson I was taught in this exercise, luckily at a very young age, was that to find a solution, you often have to dig deeper to find the true root cause of a problem. And, often, statistics and metrics and key performance indicators can be the guide posts in coming to those conclusions.

Our feature this month is focused on a slew of metrics that have a direct impact on your ability to run your operation effectively. They vary greatly and cover a wide range of subjects, but all allude to an issue that is almost universally faced in fixed operations departments across the country. And in each case, our sources help illuminate the possible solutions and actions to take to right the issue.

The statistics and KPIs don’t solve the problems here, but they do help to make the correct decisions that lead to success. I mean, I still hit my driver all over the place, but you get the point.


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