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Pricer’s Points: Boost your Profits with a Submarine Warrior’s Lesson | David Mok

The U.S. Navy’s nuclear submarine is one of the most modern, efficient and effective weapons in the military arsenal. Submarines are the cornerstone of the Navy’s conflict avoidance and resolution. Attack submarines or hunter-killers, which I served on, are specifically designed for the purpose of attacking and sinking other submarines, surface combatants and merchant vessels. Furthermore, they conduct surveillance & intelligence, land attacks (with cruise missiles), and special operations missions. It is powered by harnessing the thermal energy released by splitting the nucleus of atoms. Naturally, the officers who man these ships are held to the highest standards and have extraordinary roles and responsibilities, leading crew members on some of the most technologically advanced equipment in the world.

Early in my naval career as a junior officer aboard a Los Angeles class attack submarine, I stood 6-hour engine room watches every 3rd or 4th shift as Engineering Officer of the Watch (EOOW). This involved supervising an entire engineering watch team ensuring the safe operation of propulsion, electrical, and nuclear reactor systems. A normal routine during the watch is touring the engineering spaces looking at watch standers’ logs for abnormal machinery trends as well as anything that might be out of the ordinary. You see, addressing a small problem early in the making is far better than unintentionally . . .

  • Letting equipment degrade and consequently generate unwanted high noise levels (very bad, since a submarine’s mission survival depends on remaining undetected)
  • Risking critical equipment failure jeopardizing safety of ship
  • Creating a fire or flooding hazard leading to ship wide disaster

I recall, as a young navy ensign, one memorable post-watch relief report made to the commanding officer (comparable to CEO of an operating company or GM of a business unit). This was a quick face-to-face briefing on the status of engineering spaces and related activities during my watch. In our conversation, he asked me a specific question, previously never raised: What material deficiencies did you find on your tour? I replied, nothing sirHe looked displeased, surprised, and directed me back into the engine room to look again and come back with a list. I was a bit embarrassed and understood that I could not return empty-handed. Determined, I took a flashlight with me to look down into even the “nooks and crannies” of the engine room. In about 15 minutes, I’d come up with a half-page full of material deficiencies including rust, oil spots, inadvertent paint on sound mounts (can lead to sound shorts to hull), missing bolts on electrical panels, cracked valve handle, and so forth. So what’s the key lesson?

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Boost your Profits with a Submarine Warrior’s Lesson

David Mok

Global Marketing Executive ◊ Pricing Champion & Thought Leader ◊ Delivers Profitable Growth ◊ Holistic Pricing Approach