2014: Advent Quality: Flying Widgets

by on December 8, 2014

So, if people are so prone to improvising and so bad at following procedures, why have them? What’s the point of writing down, in excruciating detail, the correct method of making a widget if your staff are just going to come along and make widgets any old how? Why bother?

The battle to have your procedures reliably followed is constant. There’s no way, at least not that I’ve come across, to make all the people do all the right things all of the time. But you have to try.

You are the widget-maker. Your widgets are a safety-critical component of ornithopters sold to the public. You sell your widgets to various ornithopter manufacturers. If an ornithopter fails, your customers will be baying for blood – and refunds. They want to know whether it was your widgets that caused the failure. Did you screw up? Is it your fault that ornithopter fell from the sky?

You, of course, are pretty sure that it wasn’t your fault. You’re careful, you’re competent, you trust your staff to know their work. But “I’m pretty sure it wasn’t us” isn’t working: your customers want proof.

Your first and best line of defence is your quality system.

Leave a Reply