How badly do you want to achieve your goals? Many people quit too early, at the first sign of distress or the first pangs of pain. Tesla has been single-mindedly focused on delivering a large number of Model 3 EVs (Electric Vehicles) in Q3. CEO Elon Musk stated that this would be the strongest delivery quarter ever! And it was.
Tesla entered Q3 swinging for the fences. Elon Musk said they went from production hell to delivery logistics hell. Their story is straight out of the book The Goal by Eliyahu Goldratt. The Goal talks about constraint based planning, the idea that your manufacturing production is really a flow, and that there will always be a bottleneck in your system. And when you solve that bottleneck or constraint, another bottleneck shows up in your system. Two quarters ago, Tesla was fighting hard to produce 5,000 cars a week. Their bottleneck was in manufacturing. Then after they solved it, the bottleneck moved to their ability to deliver cars.
Side note: They have the best problem ever! They have 400,000+ people lined up to buy these Model 3 cars. So they don’t have a sales problem. I am curious. How many of you reading my blog right now have a sales problem? I am sure we would all prefer to have Tesla’s delivery problem than a sales problem. Better to be working hard than hardly working, right?
OK, back to the main story… So out of production hell and into “delivery logistics hell” as reported by Reuters on September 16, 2018, as Tesla's bottleneck shifted from manufacturing to delivery.
In order to count a car as sold, Tesla must sell it, make it, and deliver it to a customer. No selling problem CHECK. Solved manufacturing problem CHECK. Now we just have to deliver it. So the fun begins. Tesla makes a few critical out-of-the-box adjustments to achieve their record quarter of deliveries. The quarter is over, and Tesla achieved a record number of 80,142 electric cars! That's 50% more than their prior all-time high in Q2! Tesla’s Q3 deliveries is about 80% of the company’s entire 2017 deliveries.
So, what can we learn from Tesla about execution? When faced with unbelievably tough and painful problems, they were willing to receive and try crazy ideas to achieve their short-term hairy audacious goal.
Here are 3 crazy ideas that Tesla actually executed:
- Delivering cars directly from the factory to customers - bypassing the typical delivery process
- Making their own car carriers for transportation as they ran out of ways to move cars
- And the craziest of all… Tesla customers volunteered, came in to Tesla delivery facilities and helped deliver cars to new owners! They were excited to introduce new owners to their new Teslas. Customers delivered cars for them! Wow!
I want you to sit back and really think about how outside the box these ideas are. And it's amazing that they actually did it. So why can’t we do the same? Here’s why. First the crazy idea hits. Then all the risks and obstacles come raining down, together with lots of hard work, and we stop. Yes, there are risks, and yes, I am sure some of those customers did not deliver the cars perfectly. But, Elon Musk was relentless in pursuing the best possible Q3 2018, and he really needed Tesla to allow non-traditional ideas to get them there. These ideas are the adjustments that they made to their operations and execution.
The next time you are about to miss a goal, be inspired by this story. Think about how far Tesla went to achieve their goals. Then go ahead and try some different ideas and adjust your execution to achieve your goals. It ain’t over till it’s over.
When I shared this with Pei-Yee (my wife), she said “That’s crazy… I mean… would you like to go to Tesla and help them deliver cars?” (Yes, I am a Tesla owner.) I smiled and said “Yeah… crazy as it sounds, I would!"
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Photo Credit: iStock by Getty Images: Tesla Supercharger Station XI