Project Showcase

Hair-brained management initiatives keep on brewing up out of the corporate geek pit.

Miss Axeman, the upper level management tool who is shuffled from division to division making sure job cuts are enforced has announced a new program at our site. She has referred to her scheme in emails and in recent coffee talk meetings as “Project Showcase.” Essentially Project Showcase is an aggressive short term factory wide cleanup effort in our production areas. Miss Axeman wants the shop floor to look pretty I guess. Her reasoning behind beautifying instrument lines is so corporate managers can drag visiting customers through the plant and dazzle them with our cleanliness. Or something like that. They’ll also be given a chance to come on down and win some prizes.

I am baffled by this. We aren’t slobs around here. Well, most of us aren’t anyway. Greasy Guy is probably the worst offender in our department for leaving his tech workbench in shambles. He’s also fairly disorganzied and dirty in the environmental lab. That aside we already run a tight ship. To the average person off the street if he or she was to tour our Spectrum Analyzer line, or hang out in the Network Analyzer group I have no doubt they would be impressed with the operation. General cleanup isn’t something that is necessary to improve the wow factor or woo prospective customers. We already got it going on, y0.

Project Showcase will take place in stages all of which will waste more of our time. Everyone here is already buried in work thanks to those rounds of layoffs. Nobody that I have talked to is interested in this bullshit. The overwhelming majority of my coworkers think it’s dumb. So, I highly doubt anyone is going to do much to support the program.

First we’re supposed to clean up each production area by a deadline for walkthrough inspections by Miss Axeman and her cronies. Next, blue signs are to be installed overhead each section of a product line announcing what they do in that particular spot i.e. test, assembly, MI/EI, or whatever. Funny thing is we used to have everything marked that way previously but when we moved to this site someone threw all the overhead signs away. Once that nonsense is complete every work bench or group of test racks across the shop floor will have a sign attached to it as well displaying the function of that particular location. Big deal.

Customers aren’t going to buy more of our products based on how spiffy an instrument line looks. We aren’t an automotive dealership showroom. Our department specializes in extremely complex Signal Generators for commercial use in wireless communications. We’re also a heavy player in the aerospace and defense industry. What will increase customer sales is more performance for the money and far better reliability. Happy customers are repeat customers. You can make your factory look like it is so clean and organized that a bum would lick spilled malt liquor off the floor, but if your products don’t meet customer expectations nothing is gonna save you. Project Showcase sure won’t anyway.

Maybe what Miss Axeman should do is take customers on a tour of our Malaysia divisions. They do 90% of our global production now so that would be an excellent place to play show and tell. We’re only doing the remaining 10% of orders here so there isn’t much to see from a throughput standpoint. Customers in Malaysia can observe how our products are defective and broken yet still somehow are passed through manufacturing processes and then shipped out regardless. I’m sure they would find that most interesting. Our customers can also hop on over to Singapore for a quick peek at US Government rated orders for military customers that have their serial numbers switched to make them look like they were built and tested there instead of in Malaysia.


~ by factorypeasant on June 2, 2007.

3 Responses to “Project Showcase”

  1. Oh yeah, pinheaded executive types love the clean workplace, so clean anyone paying attention will conclude that no work goes on there at all. Really smart.

    But it could be worse. How about a sort of dress-up day where you try desperately and pathetically to appear as something you aren’t? Check this email I got from one of the pinheads where I work:

    Subject: Important Meeting Friday

    From: “Cheryl Framalama”
    Date: Tue, 1 May 2007 16:12:12 -0700
    Subject: Important Meeting Friday

    Dear Staff,

    We have an important new business meeting on Friday at 3:30 with the VP Marketing at [framalama].

    We are requesting two things of you:

    1. Help us fill the seats at [framalama]. Do you have any friends/family who could come sit in our office for the afternoon? They’d have access to the internet and phones. We need a good 10 people if possible. Think of your friends who might be consultants working out of their house, etc.

    Please let me know ASAP if you can get anyone in.

    2. Bring in 2 pieces of your favorite outdoor gear. We want to dress the office and individual offices with outdoor gear (skis, tents, sleeping bags, jackets, backpacks, bikes, stoves, snowshoes, etc.). Whatever your favorite stuff is, please bring it in. It does not have to be [framalama] (if it is, great — if not, don’t worry about it and bring it in anyway).

    Please bring your gear in by THURSDAY AM so we have time to dress the office.

    Thanks in advance!


    Fucking epic, no?

    It should come as no surprise that this company is currently shedding employees like calories at a fat farm, and that the above-mentioned potential client has not phoned back since being paraded through the “dressed up” office.


  2. wow. now that’s got to be one of the dumbest things i ever read. you must see the writing on the wall, they won’t be in business much longer. so what are you going to do man? ride it out to the end in a front row seat to the train wreck or are you going to bail out?

  3. Dunno, there’s some stuff going on that I’m interested in. And the owners don’t show any sign of letting the downward spiral influence their decisions. I’m sure they can keep it going for as long as they want (loaded, seriously loaded). So, for now I’m just gonna’ keep my head down and hopefully get some experience that will be useful later on. I don’t see this job lasting too much longer in any event, but you never know.

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