Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Working Smarter: Quality or Quality?

Recently I bought a shiny new, beautiful caravan. Before I picked it up from the manufacturer, it had to undergo a four hour quality audit to make sure that everything worked and was up to standard. This, the caravan sales people told me was to ensure consumer satisfaction and eliminate after-sales warranty hassles.

Feeling very assured, I drove off towing my new pride and joy to a caravan park only 15 km away. It was late in the afternoon and I figured that it would take a day or so to get set up. You know, deciding where the shirts, cups, computer and other chattels go.

When my wife tried to microwave some vegetables for our dinner, to our dismay, the Sharp microwave didn't work. I checked all the power cables and read the troubleshooting items in the Sharp User's Guide. Still couldn't get it going. The LED display worked fine and even counted down, but the turntable didn't turn and no cooking occurred.

Later, when I went to use the shower, I noticed that water was dripping out of the shower tap.

As we were only a short distance from the manufacturer, I telephoned the next day and arranged to return to their manufacturing plant. There, some very helpful people replaced the microwave and fixed the leaking tap.

When I asked how their quality control process hadn't picked up these two problems, I was told that they only check the LED display on the microwave and check that tap fittings are securely tightened and fitted. In future, my informant said, they would also attach a water hose to check water pipes and fittings and run the microwave to heat a cup of water.

The message for us is that any quality assurance process needs to check a complete process, system or piece of equipment. In other words, quality assurance needs to be thorough and precise otherwise it's not a quality process.

What experience have you had with quality assurance? Does your firm run quality checks on your goods or services? Comment and tell us about your experiences, good or bad.


1 comment:

  1. It rained very heavily this afternoon and our caravan never leaked a drop. It's not all bad.


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