Oh how your thoughts echo in my mind. :-) The thing to remember is that the ISO900x definition of quality is making everything the same, every time. There is no requirement anywhere to say that it has to have the output meet any real world criteria. There is ISO13485 and QS900x where the outcomes are part of the system, but I'm with you, either a company is quality minded or it's not. The products on our shelves are testimony to that.
I think we have to have an open mind and have a lot of time on our hands if we are going to forums for answers to problems. Nonetheless they are a good source but I think they can't be the only source for one to find answers to problems. Other sources such as company websites, possibly some papers on related topics..
That's one point of view. Some of which I agree with.
But I am not willing to just stand back and let the American society deteriorate until it has the same problems as the Chinese:
* low wages and low productity
* rampant piracy and counterfeit parts/products,
* intentional contamination
* early part failure, sometimes loss of life
* reduction in safety and reliability
* cover ups
* more litigation (in USA)
* stolen intellectual policy
I have suggested one simple means in which Engineers can use thier voice and votes to help change things. But so far I have gotten no support or other suggestions. Engineers are innovative people. We should be able to find some way to improve this situation before it gets much worse. That's why I mentioned to Brian Fuller. Who's with me?
OK guys, enough with the whining, let's take a long hard look at ourselves. Why do we need these much criticised 'manager types' involved at all? Why do we leave control of our budgets, hiring and society to people who can get by without the stuff that matters so much to us, like 'Quality'.
If we're so darn clever why do we act so stupid? We're no help to each other or to society if we don't organize commercially viable enterprises that employ our talents for gain.
If we can see so clearly what is broken out there, then we have the responsibility to fix it. Who else is going to turn things around? More 'manager' types? Politicians? Hairdressers? (no offence meant).
We should be learning how to run things; hiring the accountants and using their expertise to get the money part right; selecting the right people for now and training for the future; and involving customers in the process of long-term relationships based on trust and support without exploitation on either side.
So why don't we want those responsibilities? Because we would have to learn some new stuff? Come on, because if we don't really care enough to fix things we are no better that the people who don't care about quality, reliability or value...
'nuff said, I'm going back to my shed!
RE: the specious (I hope) argument about "Quality" vs "Reliability". Consider the hard drive salesman: "MTBF 250,000 hours". In small print that is extrapolated from "sweet spot" of the reliability curve of failures at unit time, between 1 and 6 months typically. Units not tested by the mfg have a higher initial failure rate and (if not "burned in") also experience higher "initial mortality". And taken before significant wear sets in. Are Solid State Disks more reliable? Most have MTBF greater than 150 years! But the fine print is data retention is less than 5 years. (10 yrs for SLC.) So 10% of my data can be garbage after 1 year; but the SSD is quality product because the drive itself will outlive me?
I worked for a PCB shop that would ship products with less than 3% failure (they'll be grudgingly accepted); rework lines for 3-15% failure rate; and ship if failure rate over 15% because it will generate an engineering change order. Same with low bid Government contracts: bid just below cost, get an engineering change order for more money; alternative is rebid delay and/or pay even more for the rework bidders. Boeing "rolled out" the 787 with plywood doors and non-flyable aluminum (not spec titanium) rivets because sales is more important than integrity. High tech is not a substitute for good judgment. Toyota saved a ton of money by using computer modeling for reliability testing and according to the model they used, "unintended acceleration" doesn't happen in their testing.
All this doom & gloom, I don't agree. I currently work for a semiconductor company that supplies IC's to the automotive industry. I am in a group that is required to analyze any and all customer failures and provides corrective action to prevent further occurences. I used to work for a company in a simular fuction some 40 years ago that supplied high rel hermetic IC's for space and missle programs. From my perspective we are providing a more complex plastic encapsulated higher quality/reliable product today with a much lower PPM failure rate. And todays parts sell for less than a buck where the high rel hermetic parts went for some 40-50 bucks for a simple gate. Today's automobile customers demand and get a cheap high quality reliable product. Today's IC manufacturers have a much more controlled process from wafer fab to assembly. Part of the credit for reliability also goes to the end user. They have much more controlable assembly processes (especially those supplying the automotive industry). We see much fewer board assembly induced failures caused by things like high temp or acid flux.
Buzz words like swimlanes, P3, that come trumped about to solve al the problems come through every 3 to 5 years touted by upper management to solve quality issues. But not attempt to understand details is ever made. leaving the engineer that is still employed to triage between useless paperwork pushed out by manangement and real value added work that needs to be done to improve quality, performance, and reliability.
Don't actually fix anything just roll out the new best thinging program whao-whao!