2014: Advent Quality: Widget Emergencies

by on December 19, 2014

Change control doesn’t mean making sure that nothing ever changes. It means making sure that when change inevitably does happen, it happens in a controlled fashion. It’s like the difference between a floor and a safety line – it’s not there to stop you falling, but to catch you.

Conceptually, all change is the same. Accident, emergency, or planned obsolescence, it’s all the same thing: an alteration in the situation which your system must accomodate.
In practice, of course, change you get to plan for and change you have to manage on the fly are not at all the same thing, but thinking about them together can help you understand how to manage them.

The first rule of accidents and emergencies, from a quality perspective, is to write it down. Something broke? Write that down. Someone did it wrong? Write it down. The supplier delivered late and you’ve got to break your own quarantine rules? Write that down. Write it down, and then sign and date it, and staple it to the production paperwork. Write it down and file it in the Emergency Response Records file and scribble the report reference number on every bit of paperwork that it might be relevant to. Write it on the packaging, write it on the back of an invoice, but write it down. And sign and date it.

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