August 7, 2008

A quality post

I spent yesterday sorting parts. Wow, I had fun. Afterward, I spent a half an hour on the phone with the President of my company telling him what I thought. I have a strong background in manufacturing. One of the earliest lessons pounded into me by the Quality Gurus is that quality must me a measurable aspect. You cannot measure attributes by looks or feel. Any subjective measurement is not a measurement at all. I told the "man" yesterday's sorting was a waste of time. I am not sure he liked what I said.

Yesterday we were sorting by "feel". That is right, we rotated the widgets and determined if they were good or not based on a subjective 'too easy' or 'too hard' to turn. The old manufacturing guy in me recoiled at the sight of parts being scrapped because of a subjective feel. Oh, I am confident some of the scrapped parts were bad, I am also confident we threw away good parts and let unacceptable widgets through to the assembly line. Other people are coming today to continue the sort based on a 'here is a bad part/here is a good part' examples. That leaves a lot of gray area. Depending on the individual those parts on the edge will be passed, or all be failed. That is no way to determine quality.

The whole exercise is a complete waste of time and money. I believe in customer satisfaction, but spending cash on needless tasks is just a feel-good measure, nothing is accomplished except spending money. I think Dimocrits must be running our quality department.

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