Who's To Blame?
Dec 10, 2013
I was watching a football game and the camera viewed the benched defense after an easy score by the other team. The coach was angry with blame, and the players despondent. Was he pointing the finger in the right direction?
A Boeing manager with expertise in process improvement, once told me, “Lack of performance usually lies 5 layers down. It is rarely the employee."
I have taken this to heart in our quest to create the highest security fasteners. They require intricate tools of special alloys, heat treated to perfection. Our large center pins and sharp side walls(items necessary to create lock security), stress these tools to the edge.
Last winter, the tooling used to make our fasteners was breaking, causing a complete halt in production. It was easy to blame the person doing the heat treating. I took it as a personal challenge to see what the real problem was. We searched into every process, perfecting time in heat treatment, temperature, heat treat ovens, cryogenics, tooling radiuses…and still the inconsistence persisted.
Our metals came from the best manufacturer in the USA, that’s why we did not look there until last. Under high magnification, a tiny void was found in their metal. Voids cause failures. It turns out this steel company was going out of business, and substituting foreign steel for its own. We changed our source, and production tripled. The blame was not the employee doing the heat treatment, as some had claimed. It was 5 layers down. Also, in my forty years fastener experience, foreign products are rarely as quality made as American. Make sure you support those who are dedicated American manufacturers.