Last week I wrote a blog about a name patch that we were doing for the US Navy destroyer USS Vicksburg. I used this patch as an example of the fact that at The/Studio we always say yes to our customer no matter how difficult the project is. Ironically this week we had a major problem with this order. On Friday night I spoke with the President of the company Greg McCurley and he was worried that we wouldn’t get the patch to the sailors by their deadline of December 2nd. Greg explained to me that the boat was leaving on December 3rd, and if we didn’t have the patches to the sailors in time, then hundreds of sailors on a destroyer ship in the middle of the ocean would be without their patches for their entire deployment.
Greg is the President of the company and after already 14 hours at the office, he was still waiting to get a status update from our production team. The problem was that it was already November 22nd and the customer still had not approved the sample. The US Navy is notoriously picky about every detail and as you can see in this name patch the “CG 69” did not look good and the Navy was not willing to approve it.
Greg worked with the customer, the creative specialist and our production team and we agreed that on Monday morning the production team would send a sample to the creative specialist to get final approval from the customer whose customer is the US Navy. We knew that we could improve upon the “CG 69”, but we were most concerned about the customer’s tight deadline. So we decided as a team that we would begin production over the weekend, even without the customer’s final approval.
After 17 hours in the office that day, Greg finally went home satisfied that the issue would be resolved. However, unfortunately on Monday morning we found that the production person handling the order did not properly follow instructions and the “CG 69” had not been changed to meet the customer’s requirements, and we had begun full production on an incorrect sample. Again, Greg stayed in the office overtime to sort out the issue with the production team to ensure that the issue was fixed. Unfortunately, we had already lost 3 important days of production, because we had to throw away everything that we had produced because of the error made by this particular member of our production team.
Myself, Greg and the production manager came up with a plan where we would fix the problem, work through Thanksgiving and ship out the product on December 1st for December 2nd delivery. After resolving the issue I had a meeting with the particular production person that made the mistake and I told her that I wasn’t upset that the company was losing money on the order, and that we were all working extra hours to deal with her mistake. However, I told her that I was disappointed in her because I felt that she didn’t care as much as me and the President of the company.
For our business to work everyone needs to care. We deal with over 2000 custom orders each month, and each order requires that everyone in the company cares. In every order there is a minimum of 6 office workers (sales, customer service, designer, CAD designer, staff to prepare the information for the order, production staff that oversees the production of the order) and 7 workshop and QC workers (workshop staff that selects the correct colors for the patch, staff that prepares the machine for the sample, staff that sews out the sample, workshop worker that oversees production of the final order, workshop worker that cuts the patch by hand, staff that does quality control on the order and lastly the staff that ships the order to the customer). If just one of these thirteen people makes just a small mistake it can ruin the entire order. Greg said it perfectly “Of course I care about our customer and don’t want to lose his business, but the reason why I’m getting involved in this order is I can’t bare the thought of hundreds of sailors departing on their mission and not having their patches.” I told Greg “even if I have to sit on the factory floor myself and cut the patches, I will. There is no way I’m going to let you down or those sailors.”
The next day a sample was created that the US Navy approved and then we went through each of the over 300 names and changed the “CG 69” on each name and carefully double checked the name of each sailor to ensure that all of the information was 100% correct. I’m personally followed this order throughout the Thanksgiving holiday to make sure it shipped on time and to ensure that our country’s sailors have their patches.
We are a custom manufacturer and we understand that sometimes things don’t go as planned. However, we truly care about our customer and when things don’t go as planned we work as a team to fix the problem.