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Friday, December 17, 2010

Is is the Indian or the arrow?

With respect to quality, what is the most influential element in the automobile manufacturing process?  Most of us have enjoyed a level of affluence that has allowed us to own at least  one new car at some point in our lives.  Therefore,  I believe we’re entitled to give our opinion on the most critical component in the manufacturing process.  Is it the machining of cylinders in the 350+ horsepower engine?  It is the source or quality of the leather that is used to upholster the interior?  Maybe the most important step is the engineering of the prototype design?  Could the most important part of the process be the installation of the dome light  or maybe the wiper blades?  Could it be the 18 wheeler that delivers the finished product.  What is it?

Is the quality higher or lower simply because the plant was located in one country or another? Is the quality better simply because the people are employed by a particular company.  Is the quality different simply because the car was built by the Swedes, Germans or Japanese?  Is the car better or worse because it uses metric specifications or is right hand drive?  Is quality the property of any one group, company, state or ethnicity?

Many of today's car manufacturing processes are highly automated.  When one machine is building another machine, which one is responsible for the quality?  There must be a person who has the role of programming and monitoring the manufacturing process?  Isn't there HAL?  What is THEIR responsibility, HAL?  Answer the question HAL.  HAL?  "Open the pod bay door HAL!!".

I would submit that the most significant element in the manufacturing process is the human.  In any step of the process, the functionality of the specific part and overall quality of the entire product is a function of the professionalism of the human involved.  The manner in which their piece of the process is executed gives each and every person along the way the opportunity to create a beautiful precision machine or an expensive, unreliable, annoying appliance.  It doesn't matter what the name plate or logo is.  You can pay $80,000 for a European luxury sedan and if the brakes squeal and pull, is the quality better or worse than the ubiquitous Corolla? 

The politically correct way to for me to answer the initial question is this.  "The overall objective of self defense or procuring game for food is predominately dependent upon the ability of the specific member of indigenous native peoples of America, rather than the feather stabilized sharpened shaft shot from his bow."  I would just prefer to say, 'It's the Indian, not the arrow."

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