Sometimes air travel feels miraculous. You can board a flight in a country with a very distinct culture and then, in just a few hours, disembark in a country that is completely different. I think this feeling is most surprising to Americans because our country is vast and culturally similar. You can fly for hours and still be in the US. Leaving Doha and arriving in Cologne gave me that feeling. The climate, architecture, culture, clothing, food - you name it - was very different.
Put simply, everything works in Germany. It’s a great mix of old Europe and modern efficiency. From the moment I arrived on site at the refinery, the German reputation for being good managers was evident. The security and safety orientation process was efficient, thorough, and clear. As I made my way through the facility, the plant operations were well organized and the staff well trained.
I was introduced to a very solid emergency response plan that takes into account the layout of the facility and the potential emergency scenarios. As in other locations, this site is close to residential communities so there is due consideration given in the planning. There is one consideration that floored me: I was amazed to learn that the allies dropped so many bombs on Cologne in WWII that sites like this run the risk of having old ordinance still buried on site. There's no practical way to be sure, so the site has to take extreme precautions when breaking ground. In the world of emergency response, these guys are superstars for taking on this added risk and responsibility.
One of the places I like to go to get a feel for the staff is the cafeteria where the atmosphere is a good indicator of the morale and team spirit on site. This plant has a good vibe, with lots of conversation and apparent camaraderie.
It will be an honor to have AllClear play a role in improving this site's readiness. Their operational intensity and their organizational discipline will provide an ideal framework for the continuous improvement process that AllClear brings with it and achieve muskelgedächtnis - muscle memory. I look forward to returning here for a future drill when AllClear is installed.
Next stop: Home, Sweet Home!