Meeting 1 – Customer Crisis


Role Dialog
 Narrator The setting for this scenario is the headquarters building of an engineering consulting services company.
 Boss Sara, schedule a meeting with all staff in 15 minutes – urgent and mandatory.  This is a showstopper.
 Sara Yes, sir.  What can I say is the topic if people ask what it’s about?
Boss You can tell them it’s about an urgent customer situation that has just landed in our laps.
 Sara Yes, sir. 
Narrator Sara gets on the phone and starts informing all the staff to meet in the meeting room in
15 minutes.
 Pete What’s the meeting about, Sara?
 Sara An urgent customer situation has just come up.
 Narrator Fifteen minutes later in the meeting room…
 Boss Thanks for coming on such short notice, everyone.  We’ve just received a call from one of our top customers.  They have a crisis and they need our engineering expertise to advise them.  One of their major cooling water pumps is exhibiting a high vibration.  It’s vital to the operation of their most productive factory.  If it has to be shut down, it will cost them about a million dollars a day in lost revenues.  They want us to help them analyze the vibration data and see if the pump can be operated safely for another two days, until the weekend when it can be shut down for corrective maintenance.


 Pete How will we get the data?
 Boss They have an engineer on site, and he has been able to hook up a local vibration monitor for more accurate readings.  He will send us periodic data files so we can analyze the frequency, amplitude, and relative shaft location of the peak vibration.
 Narrator The first data file arrives and is graphed and projected up on a whiteboard in the meeting room.
 Paula That data is showing a slowly increasing trend.  I’d say we have about 10% margin before it has to be tripped.
 Pete I agree with Paula.  I’d feel better though if we tripped it with a 15% margin, just to be sure.
 Boss That’s a good suggestion for safety purposes, but it’s not going to happen.  The customer is going to want to leave that pump running until the last possible minute.  What if it should happen to level out at 2% margin and stabilize there?  No, we’ll monitor it and won’t recommend tripping the pump until 0% safety margin is reached.  I think we’ll still be okay.  Engineers are always conservative in their design parameters.
 Pete Let’s hope so.
 Narrator Second, third, and fourth data files arrive.  Latest data is projected up on the whiteboard.
 Boss This data set shows the vibration leveling off at 1% safety margin.  Pete, Paula, what do you think?  Can we let it operate at this point for two more days?
 Paula Pete and I have discussed this in a side conversation, and we have weighed the pros and cons.  We feel uncomfortable running with such a narrow safety margin, and it’s against our better judgment to run the pump this way, but considering the customer’s profitability concerns and our desire to accommodate his business needs as much as possible, Pete and I feel that continued operation is marginally acceptable.
 Narrator Others around the conference table nod in unison.
 Boss Pete, can you write up an official justification for continued operation (JCO) for me?
 Pete Can do, boss.  I’m on it(Pete leaves the room.)
Boss That’s all, folks.  Thanks for stopping your work to help us analyze this data and reach an informed consensus on this problem.  Everyone’s earned a free pizza lunch tomorrow.  Wives and significant others are invited.  Great job!  Meeting adjourned.


  1. My example sentences:

    1. Learning English is mandatory in high school.
    2. Smoke from a car bonnet is a showstopper and must be taken action immediately.
    3. There was a decreasing trend in foreign investment when the new President reigned into power.
    4. When you see smoke from the car bonnet, the engine must be tripped immediately.
    5. The new president hopes global warming will level out at the current rate.
    6. It was against my better judgement to continue driving when I saw smoke coming off my car bonnet.

    What is the difference between “leveling out” and “leveling off”?

    1. All sentences are good except #4.  We use the word “trip” for isolation of electrical power, such as “trip the breaker” or “trip the pump”.  We would not use it for a car engine because it is running on gasoline instead of electricity, so we would normally just say stop, turn off, or shut down the engine.

      To level out and to level off have the same meaning.  I can’t think of any difference between the two.  This dictionary considers them the same as well:

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