Button Up Rejects

Remember a while back we hired an army’s worth of new people that have never done this kind of work before in their lives? You might recall I also mentioned some of our idiot managers told us at that time “Anybody can do these jobs.” Supervisors placed a number of new employees into our Mechanical Inspection/Electrical Inspection (Button Up) area. That’s the last step in our process before we ship completed boxes out to customers. It’s critical that employees working in Button Up pay particular attention to detail and stay focused. When rookies began working back there shipping boxes I predicted bad things would happen as a result. Sure enough, a whole bunch of junk has been able to get out the door since then.

The Japanese are some of our toughest customers to please. Typically, Japanese customers will refuse shipment of our products for the most insignificant problems. Something as minor as a ding in the paint or a tiny particle of dust trapped behind the front panel display glass is reason enough for them to reject their order and send it back to the factory. While that seems to me like unnecessary nitpicking and being unreasonably fussy I have to remind myself that a Japanese customer might have just spent $100K on a single test instrument. If I was in their shoes and I spent that kind of money on a product that had relatively minor cosmetic defects I would probably be pissed off too. From what I hear has happened in recent months, our customer satisfaction rating has plummeted through the floor. Monthly production has dramatically increased and we’ve got inexperienced workers screening finished products for defects. It’s a terrible mix. Rookies are frequently unable to catch real problems and on top of that they seem to add even more colorful, unique problems of their own.

Lately the feedback we’re receiving from the field indicates a huge spike in instruments shipped with cosmetic damage, missing accessories, incorrect operating manuals (customer ordered box Y but we shipped them a manual for box Z), software license keys that don’t work or are missing, damaged hardware, and various hard electrical failures.

Then there’s the really stupid shit.

We’ve been able to figure out fairly accurately what time of year some of our jacked up boxes shipped out of the factory. For example, a few boxes were sent to a Japanese customer with items rolling around loose inside the chassis. As the customer was unpacking their shipment an employee thought they heard stuff clunking around inside the instruments. They removed the instrument outer cover and the inner cover protecting the PC boards to discover a handful of Milk Duds. Milk Duds are popular for Halloween so we’re really going out on a limb here and guessing that one of our nitwits was dumping them inside boxes back in October.

Another Japanese customer complained and rejected their shipment because they discovered candy wrappers plastered inside the instrument operating manuals. In that case the wrappers were for Cadbury’s Chocolate Easter Eggs. April timeframe on that one. It is extremely embarrassing to have to explain how shit like this gets through our process and into a customer’s hands. This is why we have a no-food policy in the instrument lines. More importantly, this is why only the most experienced instrument assemblers who have been here for many years should staff our Button Up areas instead of using jerks fresh off the street.

But hey. Anybody can do these jobs.


~ by factorypeasant on January 28, 2006.

One Response to “Button Up Rejects”

  1. IT was me!

    x-cept that WASN’T melted chocolate candy in there..

    twas p00z

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