Please Advise So I Can Ignore You

, , , , , | Working | January 7, 2021

I work for a small manufacturing company. I am asked to bring in some improvements to improve certain areas and help reduce customer complaints. This is something I have been doing for years, and I have seen what happens to companies that don’t listen to complaints and those that lost big business because of it, so I am keen to help.

The single biggest complaint? Customers are missing parts. After some investigation, I find that it is because the parts are being counted by hand and people make mistakes. I report back to my boss.

Me: “The biggest complaint is missing parts. It’s costing the company [some hundreds of pounds] in shipping replacement parts. The reason for this is human error.”

Manager: “So, how do you propose to fix this?”

Me: “Simple: they sell scales that will count parts for you. You will make the money back in six months. If you would like to stop all claims, it attaches to a label printer and you could prove each shipment was correct for a few more pennies a shipment.”

Manager: “Fantastic! [Owner] will be pleased. Oh, you’d better check that it’s okay with the operator.”

Me: “The operator who puts the parts into the bags? I can do that. I mean, it will mean fewer complaints and an easier job for them. If I explain that, surely they will be on board.”

Manager: “Err, yeah. Give it a try.”

I leave the office a little shocked. This is a big problem for the company. Customers only stay customers when it is more hassle to change than it is to deal with the issues. Risking it because of an operator having to change slightly? I get the need to keep everyone involved and figure that they will be reasonable.

I explain my suggestion to the worker, being very careful to explain that the issue is not with her but with manual work in general.

Me: “So, what do you think? The scales are easy to use. They may be a little faster, but they’re a lot more accurate.”

Worker: “It won’t work.”

Me: “Are you sure? I have put these systems in place before at other companies. They are literally designed to do this. We could rent a set to give it a try?”

Worker: “It’s too drafty in here. It won’t work; we have tried before.”

I look around at the sealed clean room; no doors or windows are allowed to be open.

Me: “Oh, don’t worry. They can be put in clear boxes, and a little draft can be prevented.”

Worker: “Just drop it, okay? I said it won’t work!”

I can take a hint. I let the manager know the response.

Manager: “Well, that’s a shame. It sounded like a good idea.”

Me: “Wait. We aren’t going ahead? I can prove it will work. H***, I will personally pay for the rental.”

Manager: “Don’t want to upset the team, do we?”

I quit the next month. Don’t employ someone to fix your problems and then not listen to them.

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