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Saturday, February 18, 2017

Creativity at the MBTA

Congratulations to the MBTA (Buffeted by snow, MBTA workers found a new way forward. Boston Globe, February 18, 2017: A1). Congratulations to manager, Bill Walsh, for fostering a climate of creativity in  his unit. Congratulations to Bill Haywood for developing the idea of a tractor snow-blower.

This story illustrates the importance of keeping maintenance activities in-house as part of the MBTA. The problem lay with Operations, the solutions with Maintenance.

If the maintenance activities had been outsourced to a contractor, it is unlikely that the contractor would have had the information needed to identify the problem (though his is probably more likely with less visible problems than a giant snow storm). It is unlikely that the contractor would have the incentive to work on a solution to the problem.

For a solution to emerge, close coupling between operations and maintenance is essential. Let us not break that link.

Sent to Boston Globe

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