Trade Journals

Solving Problems

Ok, I admit it.  I am world’s biggest Columbo fan.  Surely you must remember the bumbling Los Angeles homicide detective in the crumpled raincoat.  (Why did he always wear that in LA?)  My fondness for Columbo has nothing to do with his style or his mannerisms, although those traits never annoyed me.  I considered them to be a wee bit of comic relief.  After all, Columbo did have a grim job.  He just made us forget that.  Anyway, I like Columbo because of the ingenious writing – the quality of the stories.  On Columbo, you always knew whodunit, but it was hard to imagine how the seemingly hapless detective would figure it out.  He always had us amidst a genuine mystery.


Easy ways to improve quality

Most plant operators have some sort of an idea of the quality of the shirts that they produce. My experience has shown that they really are quite objective.  I don’t recall anyone proclaiming that their shirts are a “ten.”  Most say that their shirts are a “seven.”  They are about right.  The problem is that they all seem to be at a loss as to how to raise them to even an “eight”.  They’re stuck at the rating that they are at, with no clue and perhaps no inclination to raise it.  Customers seem ok with it too, so the plant staffers, as a whole, collectively, have bigger fish to fry and leave the shirt quality where it is at.  Is it “good enough”?  Evidently so.  Our final inspectors, the customers, aren’t particularly dissatisfied, so we move on to something else.  Complacency is the name of the game.


Evaluating the Quality of your shirts

Evaluating the quality of your shirts.

Just by reading the title of this month’s article, you may have already formulated a firm opinion as to where you fit in.  I have clients that have done this well before I ever meet them.  They usually have a number.  That is, they have rated the shirts that come out of their plants on a scale of one to ten.  Many of them are actually quite conservative with their evaluations.  That is a whole lot better than those that claim to produce a perfect shirt.  It isn’t likely that anyone can maintain perfection in this business.  If you, at times produce a “perfect” shirt, do not use that as your “poster child.”  Doing so is the equivalent of wearing blinders.  A manager’s job is to look for trouble, find it before a customer does and fix it before it before it becomes a customer service issue.  The better your operation, the harder it will be to find problems.  Look for quality issues and call them “opportunities” rather than problems. They are truly opportunities.  Opportunities to exercise your management skills. Opportunities to improve your business. Someone much smarter than me once said; “Many of us shy away from opportunities because they are often dressed in overalls and look too much like work.” Get over it.


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