Phil's Rambling Rants
Corporate cost cutting strategies|
I have a lot less of a theoretic problem with Ryan Air wanting to eliminate co-pilots than I do with BP having decided to put "be stupid" in the first twelve positions on their list of ten things to do today.
If someone is willing to fly on an airline with no co-pilot, thereby betting, say, the 50 pounds (British airline) that he's saving against the unlikely-on-any-given-flight but statistically-certain-in-the-long-run possibility that we're going to lose the pilot in flight and kill everyone on board, I suppose they should be allowed to make that informed choice.
I just want to see the ad campaigns that the competition is going to put out in response. A Ryan Air flight crashing into the ground, full of screaming passengers after the pilot strokes out. Then the man awakes, being gently asked by a stewardess to put his seat in the upright and locked position, because we'll be landing shortly.
"British Airways. Because your safety shouldn't be optional."
|Date:||September 8th, 2010 11:37 pm (UTC)|| |
Problem is, it's exactly the same kind of thinking in both cases. BP didn't put "be stupid" on their to do list, they put "save money" on their list. When you push too hard to save money, you make people do stupid things -- only nobody identifies them as stupid until someone gets hurt.
My father worked as a compliance officer for Peabody Coal way back when. His job was to get a mine into compliance with the safety regs. He could do it.
The problem was that when he left the mine to go to the next mine, people would slide back into the same old sloppy habits, because it was "easier" and the safety stuff wasn't really needed.
Until something went really wrong.
Trust me, a lot of these things are easily identified as stupid. :)
|Date:||September 9th, 2010 04:20 am (UTC)|| |
The people actually working on the job will be just as faithful to their safety procedures than their bosses expect of them. The bosses' bosses, somewhere in an office, make decisions about how hard to push for the budget for safety equipment and paying for fully trained people, and they're answering to bosses who are ultimately looking at the bottom line. It comes down to whether they're looking at the bottom line in the long term, or (usually these days) just desperately trying to make this quarter look more profitable than the last one and not really worrying about what, by the odds, won't come along for several years.
It'll look stupid to the reporters and the accident investigators, but it probably didn't feel stupid to the people who physically handled the tools and equipment. What's missing is the bosses' bosses' bosses, making the policy decisions, facing any personal responsibility when their policies cause damage. The high level decision makers aren't stupid. They're very clever. They just don't have the right incentives.