05
Mar

2010

Technicians Not Operators

Post by Steven Dale

The Mandalay Bay cable car in Vegas operates under a simple and controversial principal: Technicians, not operators.

This fundamental principal means this: The system is never in the hands of amateurs. If you don’t know how the system works in its entirety, you don’t operate the system. It’s the difference between having teenagers run a roller coaster and the people who actually built it running it.

This concept was described to me by Don Asetta, the Manager of Operations and Maintenance at the Mandalay Bay Cable Car. While the concept – up front – means increased costs, the long term savings are huge. As I mentioned in a previous post, the system is still operating with its original cable, eleven years later. Nevertheless, it’s massively controversial concept because of how disruptive it is for management, unions, etc.

Trouble is, the concept makes perfect sense. Every operator of the system is also an engineer, technician and maintainer of the system. Don, himself, spends 2 hours every shift in the booth “operating” the system.

To paraphrase Don: Whose going to know more about a system and what’s going on with it? Someone who just operates it, or someone who operates on it?

Think about that.



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Comments

  1. I absolutely agree, and on a broader note I feel that this is a time when this principal of professionalism should really apply to the whole building and transportation field. This is why I'm a huge fan of licensed architects on building department review boards or licensed planners on neighborhood planning boards. Alas, too bad this isn't standard practice across the spectrum.