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Quality Quality Assurance

, , , , , , , | Working | June 5, 2023

I work for a poultry plant as a QA (Quality Assurance) supervisor. My team’s job is to check that all the machines are operating correctly, the temperature of the poultry is good, the product is cut properly, and much, much more.

One section in particular does leg quarters, and a major problem we have in that area is that after the product is sealed in a vacuum-sealed bag, the bag will get punctured, and the box begins to leak on the pallet.

One day, I’m in the next section over when I notice a couple of pallets set to the side with “hold” tags on them — our way of marking product that needs to be fixed. I wander over and ask my coworker, a 5’2″ tall girl, how it’s going.

She explains to me that the production line keeps trying to get things past her without fixing them or ignoring her completely. She is obviously upset and getting overwhelmed. This girl weighs maybe 110 pounds if she’s soaking wet, so I’m already fairly protective of her, as is her husband, who also works in QA.

She is saying she is going to quit, and I can tell she is near tears at this point. I tell her we need to go tell [Supervisor] so he can come and fix the situation.

After [Supervisor] comes down and gets on to them, we continue our checks and get back to business.

Five minutes later, I go back to check on [Coworker], only to find her now truly in tears. I calm her down as best I can, just enough to get the story from her.

One of the pallet stackers decided it was too much to ask for them to change out leaking boxes, as they have to remove already stacked boxes to get to any leaking ones we find. Apparently, one also said something rude to [Coworker], which is what finally drove her to tears.

We are usually nice and just pull the problem boxes out enough so they can see the issue and fix it without us placing a “hold” tag on it. The stackers have decided to just push them back into place, and the pallet jack drivers have decided to continue to try to hide said problem boxes.

Now, [Coworker] is in tears and very upset.

Me: “[Coworker], go take some time to calm down. I’ll work this area, while [Coworker #2] will continue to handle my and his original area alone.”

[Coworker] leaves, and I inform [Coworker #2] of the situation. He agrees and informs our other coworkers of what happened.

We stop being nice and begin to tag every problem we find — not just me, but every QA who walks by. After half an hour, five pallets are set to the side with issues, mostly leaking boxes.

As lunch comes around, I find the supervisor of the area.

Me: “You need to tell your stackers that if we pull a box out, it gets fixed. No questions, no arguments; just fix it.”

Supervisor: “We have too much going on to be fixing that stuff most of the time. It will have to go out like it is.”

Me: “Nope. QA is above you; you don’t get to decide. We do you a favor by only pulling them out to get fixed. If we tag it, it’s on the record. If it’s only pulled out, there’s no record of anything happening.”

Supervisor: “We just have too much to do. We can’t fix it all, so it just has to go out that way.”

Me: “Then we will be tagging every problem we find. We do a lot for your area, but if you’re insisting you won’t be fixing it, we will stop being nice.”

For the rest of the night, every problem we found was immediately tagged and told to be set aside. QAs are the only ones allowed to place — or remove — any hold tags, so their area was way behind for the rest of the shift.

Mess with one QA, get them all, especially when you make a young girl cry.

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