Caring about quality

What does this picture say about the company where it was taken? If you only saw this picture, what assumptions would you make about the condition of equipment in the plant? What do you think the behavior and attitudes of the employees would be?

Example image with "their/there" error
“All machine operators all shifts must clean there machines at the end of there shifts.”

When I first saw this sign, I had to look at it twice to make sure I was seeing what I thought I was seeing. As someone who has typically done well in English classes, seeing the misuse of the word “there” on the sign stuck out to me like a sore thumb. As I worked on the job at hand, I started thinking about the person who wrote that sign, and the plant workers who see it every day. I wondered if anyone had said anything about it. Thinking it through, I can see three possible scenarios:

None of the employees has recognized the error

In today’s current climate of increased quality and global competition, having an intelligent and skilled workforce is a must. If none of the employees has the basic language skills to see this error, I wonder how well they communicate with each other, and what their attention to detail is like.

Someone noticed, but didn’t say anything

Maybe they thought it was too small an issue to bring up. Maybe they thought the supervisor would get upset with them for pointing out the error. Maybe they thought their coworkers would give them grief for being the spelling police. Regardless of what the reason was, I don’t see it as a good situation when someone would see a problem and not say anything about it. What if a machine has an issue that isn’t a critical problem, but could grow into one? Will someone speak up before the machine breaks down completely or hurts someone?

Someone said something, but got ignored

This scenario is the most troubling to me. If you want employees to feel empowered, you have to take their feedback and act on it. If someone brings up a little issue like this that wouldn’t take but a minute to correct, and you as a supervisor ignore them, what are the chances they’ll bring up a bigger issue? What motivation would the employees have to do anything that would benefit the company?

The link between little details and the big picture

While I’ve been in school, I’ve had the opportunity to visit some manufacturing facilities. I’ve been in some places where you could literally eat off the floor. The buildings are bright, clean, and well maintained. I seriously doubt I’d ever see a sign like this one in one of those places. In comparison, the building where this sign is posted is a bit dark, quite noisy, with cluttered areas and work stations. Maybe I’m making a big leap, but it seems to me if you’re not willing to get the little details right, you’re not going to get the big picture right either.

Upgrading from the old

This website as a metaphor for quality control

Screenshot of the previous Raytech website
Hello, 1990’s. Here’s your website.

Take a look at that picture of beauty. That was our website prior to what you’re reading now. Don’t get me wrong. It was practical, it was functional, but it certainly had room for improvement. Maybe your quality control department is the same way. The tape measure, steel rule, caliper, pin gage, etc. all have their uses, and sometimes they’re adequate for the job, but it might be time to consider an upgrade.

When I first talked to my boss, a.k.a. the owner, a.k.a. Dad, about upgrading the website, there was the usual expected questions of “How long will it take?” and “How much will it cost?” Like any kind of expenditure, I had to convince him that the time involved in making the change would be worthwhile in the long run. It took setting up a test site locally, adding some filler content, and showing him how things could be with everything being updated.

Since you’re reading this blog, obviously my sell job worked out and we spent the time and effort to upgrade the site. In the same way, you might have to do a bit of a sell job on a manager/owner in your place to justify upgrading your quality control equipment. If that’s the case, contact us. We can put you in touch with other clients who can provide testimonials. If you want to send us a sample part that’s giving you trouble, we can shoot a demo video and upload it. We’ll do what we can to help you make the case that an upgrade to a Raytech table is worth the expense.