One security officer was working the night shift at a major manufacturing plant in New York. As he walked his round, he heard an unfamiliar noise. Following it, he discovered a strange sound emerging from a large piece of production machinery.
Sensing that something was not quite right, this security guard approached the maintenance person on duty. "This piece of machinery is making a funny sound," he said. "Come look at it."
The maintenance person joined the officer to inspect the machine. According to the levels indicated on the machine’s gauges, the machine appeared to be operating normally.
Pursuing a nagging feeling
The maintenance person stated that everything was fine—and that the security officer could continue his routine round. The officer, however, was not reassured. After the maintenance person departed, the officer approached the floor supervisor. Leading him to the machine, the officer explained that while the gauges had read properly, the equipment still sounded as though something was wrong.
As the floor supervisor made his inspection, he discovered that the gauges themselves were faulty and the "normal" readings erroneous. The machine was indeed malfunctioning.
A very grateful customer
Had this machine continued to operate under the conditions discovered by our security officer, its engine would have burned out—resulting in substantial downtime and a potentially costly repair.
For every hour this machine is down, it costs the company one million dollars in lost production.
By diligently following his instincts and insisting on exhausting all possibilities, this officer’s persistent efforts averted several millions of dollars in operational loss.