Hi Fellow Lobstres,
I recently returned from vacation. While away, I had an incredibly interesting conversation with a family friend. I know that this person is highly skilled in the production and repairing of custom circuit boards. Spending long hours in front of a microscope near her assembly line with her peers.
On their latest project, she told me that they had been doing work for Tesla Motors. Several days ago she said that the plant manager had called a plant wide meeting. In it, the manager revealed that there was a mis-build on the Tesla boards. Someone did not read the engineering document correctly and the wrong flux was used for over 9000 boards. This means that 9000 specialized boards will have to be RMA’d or replaced. The speculation is that the loss could be as high as 10 million dollars.
When I asked what she felt the problem was, she said that the plant had almost doubled its staffing in the last two years. going from 600 to 1000 people. She has seen this hiring behavior before and it has always led to mis-builds. She said that she doesn’t know what the fallout would be but that she was worried.
I was kind of pissed on her behalf because as I see it, a bean counter did some shitty math and figured that if they just double their staffing, they will double their output. Instead, they didn’t take into account that a highly specialized skillset and mindset is required to produce this equipment. So now, it makes my friend and her coworkers look bad when in actuality, it was a poor managing decision.
How have you handled this type of challenge in your career or life? What was the fallout of the conversation and the decision?