Press No. 2 for Poor Service
Hooray for A. Blanton Godfrey's column in the March issue! It's extremely frustrating going
through all of the gyrations when attempting to direct my calls. I especially enjoy being told that my call is being monitored for quality purposes. (Bull hockey!)
We had a real telephone
operator at the last company where I worked. This was by design because the company president and directors noted that this is what our customers wanted and appreciated. However, I should note
that we did have phone answering devices to take messages if we weren't at our desks. But, at least you talked to a real human being when you called our company. Some say we were antiquated. I
don't think so.
—F.J. Mike O'Neill
The line in Scott Paton's column (First Word, April
2002) "The blame lies not with the humble quality manager, but entirely, and I do mean entirely, with senior management" could not be more true at my company. Quality control at my company is
seen as a delay—something that, at times, gets in the way of production.
The talk of quality is there, but when it gets down to "the rubber meeting the road," quality is whitewashed. My
"quality team" consists of me, although there are some employees who do their best to make sure that what they're building is correct and looks good. At one point, I was the only inspector for
three shifts, approximately 55 employees. If something was built on night shift and needed to ship the next day, inspection was passed. We used to have a monthly quality committee meeting, but
the committee decided that we were really just wasting our time when owners and production managers continually ignored real quality problems. It seemed that it was just easier to deal with poor
quality rather than make a change.
The most important thing at my company is shipping dollars; that's the bottom line at any company. But at what future costs do you continually let
subpar product go to the customer?
I can't believe that Scott Paton so quickly responded "terrible" to the question about the state of quality today. Perhaps he
needs a recalibration of his gaging instruments. What is he using to measure this feeling? Here are some things to consider:
* Walk into a major grocery store or super center and take a look at
the variety of products you can choose from. That's outstanding quality, in my opinion.
* Check out what computer power your money will buy these days, with improved system and software
reliability, compared to just five years ago!
* Like to watch movies? Have you been to one of the new "stadium seating" theaters with Dolby Digital surround sound? What a dramatic improvement!
How about the quality of picture and sound on a home entertainment center? These are fantastic—and the price for comparable quality has dropped by about 50 percent over the last 10 years.
latest cars offer many of the old "options" as standard equipment. You can get power windows and air conditioning on a new car that costs less than $10,000. If you spend more than $20,000, you
can get cars that have five- or seven-year warranties, some with drive train warranties up to 100,000 miles.
* Look at the return policies in place at most major stores. Not happy with your
purchase? Return it for credit—most of the time with no questions asked!
* Even though I'm not a fan of the IRS, I love the improvements in e-filing.
* Want to get a CT scan or MRI to find
the cause of a health problem? These tests, now available to most people, can improve the quality of medical treatment. That's excellent quality!
Yes, I know things are not yet
perfect. However, things are not as "abysmal" as you seem to think. Many of us are amazed every day by the improvements in our lives because of capitalism, competition and quality improvement.
Mississippi Lime Co.
Editor's Note: Check out this month's First Word for more of my cantankerous rumblings.