Sunday, July 29, 2007

I'm So on Tilt it Sucks

I’ve had two mantras that have influenced my work/home life. Do not live for my house and do not live for my job. I will do the necessary things around the house like mowing the lawn and any mechanical thing that I am able to do but I don’t want every last dollar to go into the house payment. I’ve known many people who have this wonderful house that they can’t put furniture in because they are flat broke. I also don’t want a job that runs my life and causes me to work on the weekends or put in 70 hours work weeks. I enjoy the time I have with my family and together we have to much going on for me to take on a job that requires much more than 45 hours of my time.

At 2:30 PM ON Friday I got a call from one of our customers. Actually, this was a huge customer and was the main reason I was hired. So their purchasing manager asks me a few questions about the product he is looking for and I tell him the truth…I know we made some stuff for him but I don’t know what we made. My job is to make sure it passes all specs, but I’m not the scheduler. I transferred him to his customer service person and went to find out if we made the product he was looking for. I found the supervisor and he says we made zero.

Now this isn’t the answer I was hoping for and I knew he was ready to chew my ass even though it isn’t truly my responsibility. So I hurried to the customer service area and the agent said he wanted to talk to me. I told her to forward the call to the production manager and headed to his office.

A week before we had a conference call with this customer and agreed to have 25 parts made by the last Friday. Apparently, the production manager didn’t know this because he was surprised when I brought it up just before his phone rang. I don’t understand why because customer service should have relayed the information to him. Anyway, when we got on the phone he had no response for the customer. Thinking fast I responded that we’ll get the product to him on Monday morning so that we don’t shut them down. Our customer was very upset but they needed product and the production manager didn’t want to make a commitment.

Together the production manager and I devise a plan that involved mandatory maintenance done on Saturday followed by an early work day on Sunday. I hate to work weekends but it was absolutely necessary with the extreme screw up so I was ready to do my share.

Saturday I’m on the phone all day long as we work through the maintenance issue and I finally take my last phone call at around 7 pm. The funny part of all this is that the production manager is in charge of maintenance but left at 10:30 am because he had plans to go to Chicago. I have nothing to do with maintenance but yet I stayed involved all day long.

Sunday morning came and we had a brief meeting at 7 am to set up the days work. We all had our jobs and we progressed through the day. At 1:30 he left with 30% of the product done while 4 of stayed and finished the job. Well, I did leave for home around 7 pm just before everything was finished but that only involved loading things into the bosses SUV so he could catch a flight to New Mexico to drop the stuff off.

“What we have here is a failure to communicate”($5 to the person who IM’s the name of the movie with that line by 10am Monday morning). The customer service agent didn’t forward the info to the manager and the manager didn’t bother to ask what the priorities were. The worst part is that if we lose this customer there is no longer a need for me. I was hired because they required things I have to offer in the quality management field. They also don’t need a production manager because there wont be enough work to justify the position. A supervisor could do the job. The company would continue on as a distributor but the production part of the company would slowly fade away into oblivion.

I’m so on job tilt right now. The kicker is that I was going to this customer’s plant on Wednesday this week. I’m expecting to get my ass chewed out and will probably have to take my kneepads because I’ll have to suck the whole place off to get back in their good graces. So as I protected my job, I didn’t hang the production manager out to dry but I did have a long discussion about the lack of communication between production and customer service. This incident was avoidable but necessary to improve the company as a whole. Hopefully we can learn from the mistake and grow.


slb159 said...

Not sure of the movie, but it's ina Guns N Roses song called "Civil War".

Can I get two bucks? with the project.

slb159 said...

ahhh, Cool Hand Luke...but I cheated and looked it up, so I disqualified myself.

Take care

The Poker Enthusiast said...

Instant Tragety answered the call last night with the answer Cool Hand Luke. It was a great movie.