Don’t Jam the BB Gun— Make Higher Quality a New Year’s Resolution


What present did every boy want for the holidays?  A BB gun – and that dream came true for my two sons.

Now, these two boys, ages 8 and 10, are having fun shooting at targets, stacking up cans and seeing who could shoot a hole through a can or knock down the stack. Being the mom, of course I have to tell them to “be careful” about a million times and require a grown up with them.

So far, so good! Everyone is being safe with the BB gun. I only had to yell at my younger son a couple times about being careful with the BB gun (not pointing it!) while his brother ran to re-stack the cans.

But, something did bring the fun to a screeching halt: manufacturing quality. When the BB gun stopped working, we didn’t know what was wrong, so we took the gun part. A BB had jammed inside. It was manufactured larger than the others – small enough to load but big enough to jam the gun.

Fortunately, there was no permanent harm done in this case – the BB gun is back together, and the boys are continuing to shoot as many cans as possible.

While we could repair their gift, I wonder how many holiday presents have already stopped working. We have all looked at a toy in a store and thought, “That would last about 30 minutes before breaking.” Even with products that we expect to last well, too often we see quality issues.

As you’re thinking about projects and improvement in 2014, don’t forget to prioritize higher quality. Automation software makes it easy to capture process data, determine corrective action and improve quality. Whether you’re making toys, processing wastewater, generating power, or manufacturing cars or food, automation software is a cost effective way to make the difference in quality – and GE has expertise to help.

Real-time Operational Intelligence (RtOI) solutions allow you to gather data for on-line testing and diagnostics – and enable your operators to respond faster to manufacturing alarms. Your teams can have the right information at their fingertips to correct problems, anywhere, anytime. Additionally, by having information electronically transmitted, automatically captured, and inputted at the point of production, operators have increased efficiency and have more time for critical tasks. RtOI also means that operators can make the right decisions fast enough to reduce problems – before they occur.

In 2014, you can make and stick to a resolution for better quality. It’s worth it! Your quality will be higher, and your customers will be happier.

Need some inspiration? Check out how the City of Haverhill has achieved high quality in its water and wastewater divisions – within a tight municipal budget. Or, click here to learn more about GE and Real-time Operational Intelligence.

Alicia Bowers

Alicia Bowers believes that automation software can help industrial organizations overcome many challenges, including retiring workforces, global competition, and tightening regulations. She has published in industry magazines, ranging from Food Manufacturing to Hydrocarbon Engineering, and is the recipient of a MESA Outstanding Contribution Award. Connect with Alicia on LinkedIn.

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