So, the president of our company blasted me in front of the entire management team yesterday. Again. And it was during the all plant video conference. Again.
Evidently I wasn’t doing enough to contain in-house finished goods when there was a quality issue at one of our customers.
So, the customer had an issue with a few pieces from one lot of material that we shipped them in July. My initial containment was working to get this lot of material quarantined at the customer and brought back to our facility.
The problem is that this is a large customer. They have multiple lots of material in consignment at a warehouse near their factory in North Carolina. And we also had quite a bit of inventory at our plant.
After giving my initial assessment of the quality issue, the President decided to lay into me.
“What are YOU doing with all the material in-house?” He asked. Notice he didn’t say “we”– he said “you”. Because evidently it’s just me when there’s a quality issue.
I replied that as of right now, I wasn’t doing anything with the material in house.
That’s when he went off that I wasn’t standing up for quality and that I should be containing all the product in house and we should retest it all, etc etc.
I suggested that maybe we just look into one particular kind of lot, which may be more susceptible to quality issues and retest that.
“What is the logic in that?? Hmmm?? Explain your logic to me in NOT containing everything!”
This “discussion” went on for like 20 minutes.
I really wanted to lash out– burning elf my tongue. Which probably allowed me to maintain my job. But I was frustrated almost to the point of tears.
You see, there are SO many considerations involved– so many moving parts that containment, rework, and other decisions are beyond just me. It’s easy for him to bark “Retest everything!” But it’s not that simple:
– none of the material left in-house was from the lot with the quality issue and had already been tested so there wasn’t any reason to believe it was suspect
– there were like 30 bundles of material in house (many thousands of feet) and retesting it all would risk damage and also take production lines down
– what were we to do with all the consignment material in the warehouse in NC? Bring it back? Shut down the customer?
– were we going to delay shipments to the customer?
– if we rework all this material, what other customers are going to be pushed out of the way and suffer late shipments?
– without seeing the defective parts, will our retesting even catch the issue? If it won’t, what do we do?
You see? There are lots of considerations, which affect the whole business. Which is why we have a management team meeting to review complaints daily to make these kind of decisions. It’s called “risk analysis”. And that is not just MY job.
But of course it’s hard to say any of this when the president is in attack mode. It’s also hard to come up with all of this when being attacked in front of 30 of your peers and your boss just watched it happen and doesn’t jump in to help.
Nor does anyone else.
I do think that the next time he pulls this stunt (and he will because he’s done it before) I’m going to ask him point blank why dealing with quality concerns are only my job when the rest of the time he spouts off that quality is EVERYONE’S job.
That should open an interesting dialogue.