(23 January 2016)
I’m still stewing over this.
Let’s say you have a fleet of taxis out on the road, 24-7-365. You’re making good revenue, but there are good and bad days, rainy days where you get a sales spike, Christmas time when you can barely keep up, summertime when everyone’s on vacation. But you keep hitting your numbers, and skillfully making a little extra so that everyone nets a bonus, year after year.
Except that your fleet maintenance manager is ragging you to pull cars off the road for a couple of days apiece, he needs to check and replace some ball joints here and there, he’s noticed a few shocks leaking and sagging, other things are cropping up he wants to stay on top of. He says it’ll save money in the long run.
You reply with a classic P.J. O’Rourke line you use often: “Save money in the long run!? Why don’t you save us some money right now?!” You can’t have cars not cruising around out there, not bringing in revenue, you can’t take the hit, it’ll make it really hard to hit the numbers, to make budget. The best you can do for him is to bring in units when you absolutely have to, to do a quick oil change, and if he can get around to a couple things then, great, but otherwise you direct him to put the cabs back out on the street A.S.A.P.
So you’ll eke out another year or two of marginally better revenue, because every cab will be out there 364 days a year or thereabouts, you’re missing a couple of half days for the necessary maintenance, but otherwise you’re really squeezing that lemon.
Until you start having your cabs blow gaskets and throw rods, and have to redo the whole front end or some you have to junk because the rust got in there, and you now have a fleet of unreliable cabs that are breaking down on you and are regularly out of service and customer aren’t happy and neither are drivers, and you’re now facing an earlier than anticipated requirement to replace your fleet.
My tortured analogy is what I think the Canadiens mishandled with respect to Jarred Tinordi. When push came to shove this year, we didn’t ease him in the rotation. We didn’t accept that by doing so, even if we weren’t icing the very best, most-markoved D-corps possible, and even if we were marginally less likely to bring back two points, we’d be better off in the long run. We kept riding P.K. and Andrei, we avoided taking the small hit to give the big lug games, icetime, and get him going. We were strictly short-term oriented, vs. the more reasonable, successful long-term. We kept putting the cabs out there, squeezing the lemon.