American Pharoah (this is not a spelling error), a horse owned by an Egyptian immigrant, with half a tail, took the Triple Crown on Saturday, June 7, 2015 by winning the last and longest of the Triple Crown races, the mile and a half Belmont Stakes. He’s only the 12th horse in history to ever win all three races: The Kentucky Derby, the Preakness and the longest, the Belmont Stakes. And, he won that last race decidedly, taking it in 2:26:65 minutes and 5 ½ lengths ahead of the 8 horse field, the fastest Belmont since 2001 and 6th fastest time since Affirmed ran it in 2:26 4/5. Only Secretariat, the legendary race horse featured in the movie Secretariat in 2010, ran the Belmont faster at 2:24 winning by 31 lengths in 1973. Make no mistake, these thoroughbreds are athletes in every sense that any NBA, MLB, FIFA or Olympic athlete is. They train for years, and compete around the world against the best of their kind.
But legends only don’t come around often. The last time the Triple Crown was won was 37 years ago, in 1978 by Affirmed.
Legends are made.
American Pharoah, out of Littleprincessmama, by Pioneer of the Nile, has a lineage dotted with winners like Mr. Prospector and Unbridled, among other stakes race winners. He was bred to win.
American Pharoah had the backing of Ahmed Zayat, an Egyptian expat, whose Zayat Stables have led many Thoroughbreds to victory over and over again, including Derby and Preakness runner up Bodemeister in 2012, and Derby runner-up Pioneer of the Nile in 2009, since starting his operation in 2005. Pharoah has the backing and support necessary for his success.
Zayat placed American Pharoah with storied trainer, Bob Baffert, a legend in his own right. Born in Nogales, Arizona, Baffert grew up on his family’s 240-acre cattle ranch near the Mexico border, where he began grooming and galloping his father’s Quarter Horses. After a short stint as a jockey, he won his first race as a trainer with Baffert’s Baron at Flagstaff in 1971, and his first as a Thoroughbred trainer in 1979, with Flipper. Over his long career, Baffert has won major stakes victories, awards and was inducted into Thoroughbred racing’s national Hall of Fame at Saratoga in 2009, and voted the Eclipse Award as the sport’s outstanding trainer three times (1997, 1998 and 1999).
Baffert has the knowledge, the skills and the ambition to create legends. His clients trust his instincts and his skills to bring their horse over the wire first, time and again.
Watching American Pharoah win the Belmont and finally bring the Triple Crown home was exhilarating on Saturday. Eyes across the Bluegrass State were full of tears and the air full of cheers as he crossed the post. As he settles back in at Churchill Downs this week, one has to wonder why he made it through all three Triple Crown races, when none else did, in the last 37 years?
I think it comes down to:
- Seeking out the best in bred. Clearly, Zayat has a record of finding the best horses, out of proven, winning stock.
- Maintaining adequate resources. Zayat has the resources and the reputation to retain the best teams to lead their horses to success.
- Aligning with proven winners. Baffert has proven himself, time and again, as one of, if not the, best Thoroughbred trainer in the world. He works closely with his owners, his horses and his staff, to instill a love of running in his horses. He provides the horses with the skills and talented jockeys to bring home the trophy. No thoroughbred who hated running ever won a race. The horses that win have passion for beating their competitors. You can see if in the flare of their nostrils, the tilt of their ears, and the brilliance in their eyes. They can’t do it though by themselves. It takes a trainer like Bob and jockeys who can lead them down the track, like Victor Espinoza, who at 43 years old is the oldest Triple Crown winning jockey.
What does American Pharoah have to do with field service? Nothing. However, to create successful field service organizations, I think we can follow the racing industries’, lead.
1. Seeking out the best in breed.
- Find field technicians who are comfortable with all the new technologies coming their way so it can be used to improve your operation and make your customers happy.
- Find the best field service management software to intelligently and automatically schedule your techs, increasing productivity, lowering costs and exceeding your customer’s expectations.
2. Maintaining adequate resources.
- Find the right Workforce Management Software and continue to maintain and improve it as your business changes. An Workforce Management software implementation isn’t something you can go through, then walk away from. It takes resources and leadership to make sure it’s adopted and used throughout the business, and continuously improved so it continues to create ROI for your business.
3. Aligning with proven winners.
- Find the winners in the industry.
Not all workforce management software is created equally. True optimization isn’t offered by all vendors. True optimization is the only way to achieve productivity, margin and cycle time goals, leading to the first time fix rates which your customer’s require.
Not every field tech is the best field tech. Those which are comfortable with or are willing to get comfortable with the latest technologies, like Mobile, Social, IoT/M2M and even 3D printers are the techs that position your organization for the future. Find them. Nurture them. Reward them.
American Pharoah ran himself into history on Saturday. He’ll forever be known as the horse that won the Triple Crown, after 37 years of previous contenders could not finish the task.
The same principles that took him to legend status can help our industry achieve the same in our customer’s eyes.
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