Friday, 26 August 2016
Quality is about time...
by Philip Scalise, an online colleague and acquaintance whom I have met and interacted with on LinkedIn. Philip does Quality System Administration and Development based in Utica in the New York area.
Re-posted with his permission from his LinkedIn post.
People who find QUALITY to be an abstract concept contribute to why it is so. The lack of “common” understanding regarding quality is self-perpetuating. Just as oxygen fuels life it also fuels the flames of confusion. While I am neither a professor nor writer I do have a diverse background in quality and I am one to see things for what they are. Quality is about time, my time and your time. While I understand the traditional definitions of product & process quality and the methodologies utilized to achieve the condition, I need to stress this is not some high minded lofty diatribe, nor do I seek to solicit clientele in its offering. In fact, this is nothing more than a straightforward logical perspective on quality from the common of man. As such I will use every possible practical minded real world example at my disposal to substantiate this point. In the spirit of simplicity I have decided to use time as our least “common” denominator. I will be as direct as possible and not waste any of “our” time.
First let’s understand something. Those who appear not to understand every possible nuance or gradation of quality, in fact do have their own understandings they are just not the same as yours. When an honest person does not understand something we ask questions. Asking questions of people that lack the knowledge or the integrity to admit it is at the very root of this self-perpetuating cycle of misunderstanding. As a result, even more questions come up providing fog and even cover for the smoke and mirrors folks. These are people who use their time to play a shell game with your time. Questions and concerns multiply and grow into a giant sized mass of industry feeding confusion. Once upon a time smart minded business women asked me if I could define quality for her. When I told her I could not, she asked me why not? I explained “if you do not know what quality means to you how can I possibly define it for you?” There are far more people who cannot explain quality than there are those capable of doing so, but make no mistake about it, many of them are doing business just the same. Quality (good quality) is properly defined when things work. Conversely poor quality is defined when things do not work. For example I am writing this right now because of the time I have available while not edging my lawn and waiting for a refrigerator repair person to enter through the front door.
Why not edge the lawn?
Well, it’s about time. You see my WORKS (spelled with an x) lawn and garden tool does not work at the moment. It is a quality tool but it appears the replacement spools sold at area retailers are not. The quality condition of the spools that come with the unit are good quality and worked just fine, however, understanding quality, manufacturing and supply chains as I do, I was not in the least bit surprised to find the replacement spools are not of this same quality condition. It seems, this time, the private labeling business may have been “outsourced” to another organization other than the OEM (original equipment manufacturer). These replacement spools come in a two pack which one might expect to last a few years, but, when I put the first one in it continued to unwind until I lost my patience and threw it away. Trust me Mother Teresa would have done it sooner. When I tried to install the second one I had no chance at all, but this time for far different reason. After spending close to 20 minutes studying the spool with my needle nose in hand, I simply could not find the end of the line to install the damn thing, so I just gave up and came in for lunch when I remembered “do not to open the refrigerator.”
Why am I waiting for a refrigerator repair man?
Well, it’s about time, the refrigerator (a samsung) purchased through best buy and whose geek squad has been here multiple times now, is in the “process” of spoiling our food. Unfortunately for us and not for the folks at best buy or samsung, this time, there is no time for them to return for a third time. So this time at an unknown time they will send yet another repair agency because we are short on time. Surely it will be this person’s first time spending time on my time repairing the refrigerator for the third time, so I trust it will not be a good time.
Why will the repair person need to come through the front door?
Well, it’s about time, you see my kitchen is directly off the garage so this time when I opened the door for the repair man so he could roll his tool box into the house to dismantle the unit yet again, well, this time my garage door opener broke. This door opener is only a matter of years old, but here is the thing, you need only hit a button and the door opens along a threaded screw about 10 feet long. Well, as it turns out (yes pun intended) this ten foot long screw is not 10 ft. long? It actually comes in three sections so it can be easily packaged and home shipped as opposed to store bought. This allows the OEM to reach a greater customer base which is great for them, but surely not me! So this time I will need the coupling that is worn down from the multiple times the door has gone up and down wearing down this all important part that the genie door people no long provide. This time I will need more time to invest in the repair or replacement of the unit. Seems this could take some time, but hey, exactly whose time is it anyway…
All that said and in closing allow me to say this about that, when and if you struggle with your understanding of “quality” just recognize that no business on this planet has any such dilemma. They do not struggle with their definition of quality they struggle with yours. If we all woke up in the morning with the very same definition of quality in mind, well, to that my one and only response would be…well, it certainly is about time!