Is There a Pattern Here?

Yesterday, from the start of the day, was a flurry of activity around a set of machines, newly purchased-relatively speaking- to produce parts for new, more diverse customer.

From the overheard conversations, learned all machines had to be shut down.

The problem?  The customer took measurements of the produced parts and found the parts were out pf spec (by microns) on measuring points the ghetto company did not share with them when representatives came to inspect the machines and look at the data as a final check before start of production.

What does this mean?  Immediately, a lot of scrambling to assume the customer things are OK and things can go forward again. My personal question is, why does this part, considering its intended use, need to have such tight specs, but hey, it’s the customer who’s paying for it soooo……..

Will this ghetto company lose this customer before full-scale production begins?  That is a good question too, but I suspect things are too far along now for the customer to drop the ghetto company and go shopping for another supplier.

Why did this happen?  If the opinion of one of the machine’s engineers is to be believed, to save money, the president of this ghetto company, a finance guy, not a production or engineering guy, only approved the machines in use which were cheaper than machines more robust to do the job.  But that doesn’t cover it all.

This ghetto company seems to have a habit of not telling the entire story.  Another example are 3 employees tucked away at a corner of the plant floor, whose job is to check the dimensions of a part imported from an overseas subsidiary, for specs, and then hammer parts that are not in spec into spec (again, we are talking  microns)-yes eight hours a day.  This has not been formally approved by the customer for who these parts are for, but was told the customer knows about it and has turned a blind eye to it.    Another item is a series of manufacturing lines that should be separate, like partitioned off or housed in a completely different building- from the other manufacturing lines.  Some reps from the customer I was told, do know about this arrangement, but others at the customer, who make supplier decisions, do not and if they did, there would be explaining to do. Last, and from the old files was material  created in response to a product issue to explain to the customer what happened, which was frankly a load of BS.

Seems to me this ghetto company is caught in a viscous circle of sorts.  It finds it difficult to produce adequate quantities of parts right the first time, meaning less money than expected coming in. So corners are cut to keep what business they have, saddling the floor employees with much of the fault for things not going right, instead of looking deeper into the real ‘why’.  And now investing heavily into robots to take the imperfect human out of the manufacturing process as the answer to its chronic quality problems, which I don’t see happening as the ghetto company doesn’t see what the true problem is……

Frankly, and I know I could be proven wrong,  I don’t see this ghetto company still in business in say 6 or 7 years.

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