The Reality of Data Collection

  • 3
  • Idea
  • Updated 1 year ago
I spent 35 years in defense Quality Assurance. Over this time I reached some real conclusions based on my experience with failures. I once was treated to a mentoring lesson from a Plant Manager for GE Electronics. He had one motto posted on the wall behind his desk:

"Without data, your just another person with an opinion" Joe Troiano

I also learned that failures are a lesson in both professional and personal character. What is most important is not the failure but what you do about it. Professionally, it is an opportunity for effective root cause analysis and product or process improvement. Personally, it is an opportunity to interact with your customer; an opportunity to make things right regardless of what happened. If you do the right reaction and communication you can seal a lifelong customer. If you fail to satisfy the customer you drive a nail in your coffin.
Photo of MH_Flexer

MH_Flexer

  • 65 Posts
  • 13 Reply Likes

Posted 1 year ago

  • 3
Photo of Mark WS7M

Mark WS7M

  • 399 Posts
  • 113 Reply Likes
Hello MH_Flexer,

I spent 30 years in a small company that specialized in high-speed, high accuracy data collection and analysis, factory automation and medical devices.

I was prompted to respond by the quote about data and opinions. I will never be one to deny that data is the absolute but there are times when data is very difficult to come by and in those situations a big company like GE or the Government would do what big companies do:   Set in motion a study which could take years.

In that study people would do what I had to do for 30 years in a small company that could not afford a multi year study for every project...  We used our experience, some times educated guesses and yes even opinions (usually based on our experiences) on how to proceed so we could even gather data.

While I agree completely with that quote and I like it a lot, it really does not always apply to real life.  Most new inventions did not come from the study of data but rather from the hard work and thought of humans intent upon solving a problem.  In many cases the concepts were just ideas.  "Let's try this..."  It was tried and perhaps worked or not but what did come out from that educated guess was the data mentioned in that quote.

It is actually how I work today.  I am in the field of analyzing very high speed data from laser light that is bounced off of cells as they pass very rapidly past the lasers.  While the science of this is known the way to do it better, faster, more accurately is where the intuition, guesses, trial and error come in all backed by years of experience.

But on the last part of your post... I could not agree more.   How you react to your failures really defines you as a person and as a company.  We have loyal customers that experience great problems, some caused by us and mistakes we make but they remain loyal because of how we deal with them and the issues.

Mark - WS7M
Photo of MH_Flexer

MH_Flexer

  • 65 Posts
  • 13 Reply Likes
Thanks Mark. I was kind of targeting the FRS methodology. You and I were lucky, our customer base was a lot smaller that the Flex community....

Duane