This past week brought me a roller coaster of emotions.
First – elation! I began tweeting about our upcoming energy seminar near Birmingham, Alabama, in the United States. I was thrilled when the “#Alabama” hashtag I was using began trending almost immediately (meaning people were EXCITED!).
Next – dismay! I investigated the sudden popularity of “my” hashtag, only to discover that, apparently, people play football in Alabama. As in, American football with big dudes wearing helmets and stuff – not the European kind with often more wiry dudes and dudettes in shorts (for my global readers, please note that “dudette” is not really a word). And it seems these #Alabama dudes and dudettes were engaged in some sort of championship game, and 26.4 MILLION people watched it on TV. Which is a LOT more than the 50 slots available for the energy workshop. And a good portion of those 26.4 million were tweeting with the #Alabama hashtag. With a lot of energy. But not about energy.
When my colleagues learned of my misunderstanding, they laughed – and then challenged me to write a football blog. This is in part because we had been discussing blogging in general, and I had waxed poetic about how important is to write about things you love – in my case, things like owls, and U2, and pumpkins. NOT football. I know NOTHING about football. Well, I know there are uniforms with shoulder pads and helmets, and goalposts, and cheerleaders, and often a marching band. And I know there are statistics about the games. So they laughed again, and told me to work with that. So here goes:
- Uniforms with Shoulder Pads and Helmets. These accoutrement of the classic game are designed to improve safety for the players. In manufacturing plants, safety has been a core issue for decades, and leading organizations now realize that for operational excellence they need to make energy management performance as core to their practices as safety. Learn how one leading industrial company is doing just that by viewing this video – safety glasses optional.
- Goalposts. If there were no goalposts, those players all decked out with shoulder pads and helmets would look pretty silly, running around the field with no idea where they are supposed to go. Instead, they do everything they can to remove obstacles in their path to achieve their objective. A similar approach is handy in industrial energy management – give the team a goal to reach, so they can all work together to achieve it. Programs like Superior Energy Performance help you to do just that. And yes, you can learn about that in Alabama. (Big shout-out to the Decatur Central football team for the video linked above. They don’t look silly. They look awesome).
- Cheerleaders. Many companies have realized that outstanding software tools and other technology, while important, are not enough – the behavioral elements of energy management programs are also critical. I attended an excellent presentation from Cummins on this topic last year. Identifying “Energy Efficiency Cheerleaders” can establish and maintain enthusiasm and help to maintain motivation for the continuous improvement essential to programs like ISO50001, the international energy management standard. And yes, you can learn about that in Alabama too!
- Marching Band. Okay, this is just an excuse to insert music, which I *do* love, and about which I know a lot, into a post about football, on which I’m rather neutral, and, as you can see by now, about which I know very little. I was in the marching band in high school, and we’d play at halftime for the football games. When I came home my dad would always ask, “So who won?” – and I never knew. But I always knew the song list! I’ve already written about the importance of the key of B flat for energy management, and what you can learn about energy solutions from a cappella. Stay tuned (a pun!) for more.
- Statistics. Rumor has it that there are people on the planet who apply their advanced mathematical and analytical skills to in-depth analysis of football. They can identify which teams are performing the best, which player is most likely to complete a pass (whatever that means), and point to trends in “4th Down Conversions” and other metrics (when I think of down conversions, I think of switching from a feather pillow to foam….). Similarly, statistics and data analysis can be very important in energy management for manufacturers. You can identify which shift has the lowest energy intensity, correlate energy use to production, and when it makes sense to shift production to off-peak times. If you understand as much about the previous sentence as I understand about football, you’ll definitely benefit from the workshop – so register today to be one of the fabulous fifty to attend.
SCORE! I survived it – writing a football blog. I’m taking requests now, so throw down a topic idea in the comments section and I’ll get to work on it. I’m saving Tim Clark’s requested coffee theme for May, just before Sapphire, but there’s plenty of blogging to do before then. Go, team, go!