Thanks, Doug. I'm glad that you got it.
This kind of thing goes on all the time in that world, and I am sure,
in many others.
We had technology in place to address the potential problem but so few
people had been trained on it, including me, that we did not know how
to use it properly.
It was only through a conversation with an "engineer" (draftsman) that
I learned of how an Inventor drawing is made.
A few weeks later it was required that all PM's and Senior PM's go
through the training that our design staff had gone through.
One of the hardest things to remember, I think, is that many cases of apparent
incompetence are simply the result of deficient training. Most people, in my
experience, truly want to do a good job, and are frustrated when the employer
won't take the time and funds necessary to provide the training they need.
Should have been that way from the beginning, of course.
Beautiful story and nicely written. The cause and effect was
strikingly simular to issues I had to investigate to find out why
things are the way they are. Unfortunalely, in goverment no one
wanted to take the hit or listen to a long litany towards a solution
(engineers in particular AKA 50%ers), but were more that willing to
steal the accolades of a fix that some else did.
This story could have begun as "For want of a horseshoe nail".
I don't want to be too harsh, but when you asked for a welded nut, you got a
welded nut. You later asked for sheet metal, and they gave you welded sheet
metal. It then turns out you want a weld nut, and no doubt didn't bother to
specify the weld, but you were satisfied with the result. All through that,
the supplier didn't bother to shit in your teacup, but quietly complied at
his own expense. What more would you like? Which is the idiot? And which
acted in good faith?
> I don't want to be too harsh, but when you asked for a welded nut,
you got a welded nut. You later asked for sheet metal, and they gave you
welded sheet metal. It then turns out you want a weld nut, and no doubt
didn't bother to specify the weld, but you were satisfied with the
result. All through that, the supplier didn't bother to shit in your
teacup, but quietly complied at his own expense. What more would you
like? Which is the idiot? And which acted in good faith?
In my world, if it's in the plans a subcontractor doesn't have a leg to
stand on if his work does not comply precisely with the plans.
That's why change orders are double and a half whammy to the contractor
when the shoe is on the other foot ... he pays materials and labor the
first time, labor to tear out the error, then materials and labor again
to get it right.
IOW, "that's why good drawings are so important". :)
(I chant that to clients so often that I feel it must surely be written
on my forehead by now.)
As did the original project team that sent subsequent, incomplete, and
conflicting detail. So much for clearly described and easily accessible in
the CAD file. In Tom's apocryphal tale, the matter wasn't fully resolved
without esoterica from the Machinery's Handbook.
We're a culture of people entirely too eager to deflect blame elsewhere.
Middle management everywhere, in fact, selects on finger pointing and CYA as
strong secondary traits. Point it fast, and make sure it sticks, because
fuck ups happen. Ironically enough, messr watson followed up to query
whether English was my first language. Is it at all surprising that a
foreign supplier, only slightly less so than a native English speaking
supplier, might read the phrase "WELD NUT" on a contract document, and duly
weld a nut at the specified location?
Instead of a lighthearted recounting of how shit happens, we get instead a
war whoop of sorts, a memoire of how we once stuck it to the bad guys. No
thanks, Man. I think it could have been better handled.
Do you not understand that the CAD file contained the details needed
to make the parts? That the file contained the part drawings? That
the file contained the assembly drawings showing how the parts went
Maybe. But the best level of customer service is one that asks what you
might be using something for and offers possible alternatives if they feel
there's a better solution. There's too many screw-up's that are the result
of 'I was only following orders'. Unfortunately, that level of customer
service is labour intensive and eats into profits and most often is not the
result of shipping that labour offshore.
Just my own opinion, but Lee Valley Tools is one of those companies that
does go the extra distance and beyond. Too bad the trend in the last 30
years for the vast majority of companies has been to go the profit route at
the expense of the quality route.
Now, if we could only convince LV to enter the power tools for woodworking
Yeah, but we would/might benefit from the competition. The minimal existence
of quality competition to Festool gives them little incentive to lower
At the very least, on-shore manufacturing could mean lower prices. I'm tired
of having to pay exorbitant brokerage (legal theft) handling charges
whenever I have to get something shipped into Canada that we don't have
I'm one of those who can't say enough about Lee Valley, and I do often,
much to my wife's consternation.
However, and I think Upscale may have said that tongue-in-cheek, I don't
want to see them enter power tools. No doubt they'd research and
engineer it to the nth degree, but in the end, they've made their mark
with hand tools.
I can get my power tools in other places, and I'm just afraid that if LV
entered that market, something would suffer. I like LV just the way it is.
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