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Like most people I’m naturally not a perfectionist. However, I have worked on training myself to be much more critical. I think its in most people’s human nature to praise or at least accept, rather than criticize. It makes sense. Its much easier to get things done when you ignore small imperfections, and people that are more tolerant of things, are much easier to get along with.
 

I have trained myself to instinctively look for an imperfection, before I get excited about something.
 

Just last night my production manager in China called me and told me that we had just finished QC inspection on an order for custom caution tape (the same caution tape that police use, but its also used in races and competitions). The white caution tape that we did passed inspection but there was a concern about the colored caution tape.
 

custom caution tape QC issue

 

About 25% of the caution tape that we examined had a slightly darker orange at the bottom edge of the tape that contrasts with the lighter orange on the rest of the tape.  The production manager said that our QC person told him that the factory said this problem is impossible to control for, and the production manager also felt that for a simple product like this the client wouldn’t notice or care and that we should let it pass QC.  However, they also knew that our company has very high QC standards and they wanted to check with me first.

 

 

I immediately asked our production manager “was the sample that the client approved like this?”  His answer was “no”. I told him that this client orders tens of thousands of rolls of caution tape every year, and the client will know whether or not this is normal, or whether the factory was just trying to make an excuse for poor quality.

 

I immediately sent pictures to the client, and the client said that he would check with his team on Monday.  I knew that the client truly appreciated the fact that we were only willing to ship them the highest quality caution tape.  In fact the client told me that the reason why they dropped their last supplier for caution tape, was that the quality slowly started to decrease.  Their previous supplier was able to match their Pantone colors with more than 95% accuracy, and slowly after several years the colors weren’t as vibrant because nobody was focused on the details.  The result was this company lost all of the caution tape business, and probably lost business on other product categories.

 

Another example of me orientating myself to strive for perfection, is yesterday one of our designers finished a project completing our email signature with every employees signature.  On the bottom is the original email signature done by a senior designer.  On the top is the signature done by one of our junior designers for all 70 employees in the company.  If you notice along the edges there is a bit of pixelation, which you don’t see on the original.  When I was younger I wouldn’t have noticed this, and I would have definitely approved the signatures.

 

The Studio Email Signature
 

This is the note that I wrote to my staff

 

“Hello Nina & Joseph,

I noticed the image (especially the logo) has a grainy quality to it.  My guess is because the signature is only 70KB.  What is the best practices for size of signature Joseph?  Joseph, can we keep the size down but still not have this graininess.  It really ruins the look of the logo.
I think we are going to have to redo all 70.

Sincerely,

Joseph”