Turbo Leadership Systems

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September 3, 2013 Issue 446 To our clients and friends

Uncapped Anger

Larry W. Dennis, Sr.
Turbo Leadership

No excuse for unacceptable behavior

Steve, Senior Project Manager for a Washington mechanical contracting company, told Session 5 of Turbo’s Leadership Development Lab (LDL):

“In 1997 our company was awarded an HVAC large bore piping project for Intel in Chandler, Arizona. When I was informed that I would be the Project Manager for the project, I was very excited. The vast majority of our scope would require off-site fabrication of welded carbon steel chilled water piping. From my previous experience working in our Longview, WA fabrication shop, I knew that both from a production and quality standpoint we would be in good hands. Nothing to worry about . until I got the call telling me that our pipe fabrication for this project would be done by our newly acquired fabrication shop in Ponca City, Oklahoma. Now I was worried. I didn’t know anything about this group, their experience or quality record.

“As the project started to get underway, I voiced some concerns to our corporate office about using this unproven shop for this particular customer. All of our customers demand quality, but this particular customer had requirements above and beyond the norm for this type of piping system. One of their requirements was that all pipe fabrications arriving on site must be internally wiped clean, clear of debris, and capped. Sensing my lack of confidence in their abilities, I was invited to make a visit to tour the facilities in Oklahoma and hopefully put my fears to rest. When I arrived, they were already starting to fabricate our first batch of spools. I was immediately unimpressed with the facilities - gravel floor, dim lighting - not exactly an environment for quality productivity. I met with the shop foreman and quality control person to discuss the job standards, including the cleanliness requirements for all fabrications leaving the shop. ‘Yep, we got it handled.’ Those were the last words I heard before heading back to Arizona.

“A few days later, the first full truckload of completed fabrications was scheduled to ship. I made a point of calling the shop

foreman one last time before the truck left the shop. I reminded him again of the importance of double checking the pipe fabrications before putting the shipping caps on to ensure that they had all been thoroughly swabbed out and were clear of debris. ‘Yep, we got it handled.’

“The following afternoon I received a call from the Intel security gate informing me that our truck had arrived. As I started walking out to the laydown area to meet the driver, I saw Intel’s quality control guy walking in the same direction. We both met at the designated spot and waited for the truck to come to a stop. The Intel guy walked directly to the back of the truck and removed the first pipe cap, then a second. both exposed pipe ends were loaded with dirt and gravel.

“I don’t think I’ve ever had that many different emotions coursing through my head at one time - embarrassment, anger and disappointment - Ugghh!. Boy was I mad!!”

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