Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Curious incident of a customer audit

There is a customer audit this Friday. For the uninitiated, it is when customer representatives come to the factory and check the procedures and processes followed by vendor. It may be before giving an order or a routine check periodically while project execution. An unwanted trouble... I mean, just imagine, when a new restaurant is opened, do we go there for customer audit? Imagine prospective customers walking into the restaurant kitchen and checking salt in curry, measuring the temperature of coffee or looking in the corners for ratholes. Ridiculous... Why don't these morons see it for themselves..?

When I saw the circular about audit, I was remembering the one that I attended during my previous job. I had come fully prepared for audit... shaved, wearing a washed uniform, shoes mirror polished... The auditor entered the cabin accompanied by the Quality manager of our firm. I don't remember much about him now. He was an average looking man with average height, average weight and not so average beer belly. I don't think I can ever recognize him now in a crowd, even by his belly. The only thing that I remember is the wrinkle on his forehead which resembled a question mark just after a query is forwarded. Was it really there? I sure felt like that then...

Quality Manager introduced him as the head of the Quality Department of that firm. He told that they were planning to give us quite a huge order, one that will make sure that all of us will be working double shift till we are sixty or die whichever happens first.(I am tempted to type 'fade into oblivion' instead of die. Wanted to use that phrase from some time.) Before committing that atrocracy, they wanted to make sure that we are all set and prepared for shouldering and executing it. So he would make some queries about the functioning of my department which I have to duly answer to his satisfaction. I wanted to ask him that restaurant question, but kept quite for good. 

The auditor looked around the section. As some of you may be knowing I work in a Tool room where they make tooling for producing the, ah what should I say.. products. This guy went around the place, poked his nose into every unwanted corner, came back with two lines made by black oil on his cheeks and sat opposite to me looking like a average looking John Rambo. 

"How do you make sure that your toolings are good?" The firing started. 

"Well, eh, for that you need to just take a look at them Sir. See the finish, the look, if you want just run your hands on that forming die... Just solid!"

"Trying grocery selling with me?.. I am not talking about aesthetics. How would you check the functionality?"

"Well, hm... about functionality... for that.. eh..we oils them every day twice and also..."

"No, no.. How do you check that the toolings that you manufacture are ok for production?"

"We release it for production. If it is ok, they run production with it, if not they send it back to Tool room with a sticker 'Better luck next time' pasted on it."

"Oh my goodness, you mean you don't inspect them?"

"What exactly did you mean by that?"

"You do not have Inspection reports here?"

"Inspection reports... Wait, I am sure I have seen them. Hey Raju... What is the name of the sheets that you make daily, on which you mark some ticks and crosses and all..? Aren't they the inspection reports that Sir here is asking?"

Raju, the Quality checker came running and confirmed those are the same.

"Oh you are really lucky Sir, we make Inspection reports here. This Raju makes me sign it once in a while. Why!Yesterday only I signed atleast a hundred of them.. What happened Sir, why are you tearing your hairs out? Why your face is contorted? Oh I know, dandruff or head ache? Sir, just try this XYZ brand hair oil, which relieves stress and then wash with H& S dandruff shampoo. You will surely feel better.."

(This is just a figment of my imagination. If anyone from my workplace see this, don't panic. I won't screw up the audit.... Well, atleast not this bad.. ;)