Thursday, December 02, 2004

in its petty pace...

Tomorrow may be the last time I post for a while. Tomorrow may be the last day of my career with Coats - that remains to be seen. You see, our normally cream-puff surveillance auditor is visiting tomorrow, and he will doubtless want to see evidence that our corrective and preventive action systems (including internal audits) are working.

Did I mention? They aren't. Mainly because the person responsible for maintaining those systems (er... that would be me) doesn't give a shit. No - that's not entirely true. It's just that there's this other plant that the corporate bigheads have decided to shut down and we're absorbing a lot of the business - a lot of new equipment, new people, new processes and new traceability requirements that are frankly a huge pain in the ass.

So instead of being covered up by corrective action forms and audit reports, I've been covered up by flowcharts and identification tickets, work instructions embedded with smartdrawings embedded with pictures, plant-wide changes, and brand-new equipment no one seems to know how to set up, let alone how to write work instructions for them.

And then there was that inconvenient period about a month ago when I couldn't work for a week.

So why haven't you bothered with this stuff, Andi? you might ask. You know it needs to be done. You know you're supposed to do it. No one else will.

And quite frankly, no one else cares, unless it's twice a year when the surveillance audit comes around. (Which is - let's say it together, class - TOMORROW.)

Well, the corrective and preventive action system is pretty much in a shambles. It desperately needs to be reworked anyway, to become more user-friendly (that means I'm going to make management write their own damn CARs) and to become more value-added. (It scares me sometimes how well I've absorbed corporate vocabulary.) And when you're busy trying to tie together a plant-wide safety-related product traceability process for a customer who is freaking out because they don't know what they're doing, who's got time to write up useless corrective action requests that waste everyone's time anyway?

I'm not saying that they are all garbage. Sometimes we see some useful things come out of CAR meetings, etc. But 90% of the requests I issue come back to me with about as much thought put into them as it takes to wipe your behind with the paper they're printed on.

So anyway, things ought to be really interesting tomorrow. The ISO 9000:2000 standard requires companies to be more process- and customer-oriented. We're about to find out what happens when that focus overrides the existing quality systems and takes over. I predict at least a disciplinary action (which I will refuse to sign) and a new Six Sigma team to deal with this overgrown, outdated system of ours. Never mind the fact that I built it to begin with - it's time to bring the bastard down and start over.

And if anyone tells me that we need to issue a freaking Corrective Action Request, I may have to take a page out of Husband's book and say, "Pipe it up your ass!"

Oh, and I think our Registrar will probably put us on probation. (Oh, Mr. Registrar, I'm SO SCARED!!!!! Please help us get better so we don't put you through this inconvenience again!)


Anyway... I'll try to post late tomorrow (if they haven't asked me to clean out my desk by then) with the results. In the meantime, let's hope that the foundation of our quality system is still stronger than, say, Sam's bathroom floor.


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