Ruskin Manufacturing has guaranteed Parker Products that it will
deliver the complete order of small machines by the 10th of the month, a Friday. Parker
had already extended its deadline once. This time, it insists, the date must be met. Tim
Vinson, head of quality control, had been confident the deadline would be met. But on the
8th he learns that a new component of the machines is in short supply. He thinks of
Approve breaking up and regrinding the remaining supply of the old
component that was being replaced. This could probably be accomplished in time, but the
speed at which it would have to be done raises concerns about impurities in the process.
Approve using the old component in place of the new one. The product
would still function well, and it would be unlikely that Parker would ever detect the
difference. Although Parker would not be getting exactly what it ordered, the product
would meet minimal safety and durability standards.
Discuss the problem with the design engineer and see what he
Which of these options would you recommend? Can you think of any other
options that might be preferable?
Tim decides to consult with Chuck Davidson, the chief design engineer
for this product. Chuck says, "I don't have a good answer for you. There's no time to
come up with a completely satisfactory alternative. You could regrind, but given the time
frame you might get a lot of impurities. Or you could just use the old components. But I'm
not going to advise either of those. I don't want this hanging over my head. Maybe you
should call Arnold."
Arnold Peterson is Vice President of Product Engineering. Years ago,
like Tim Vinson, Arnold served as head of quality control. Tim is somewhat uneasy about
calling Arnold for two reasons. First, Tim feels responsible for not seeing the problem
earlier, and he is reluctant to admit failure to the Vice President of Product
Engineering. Second, he wonders if Arnold would really want to be bothered by something
like this. He might simply tell Tim that the problem is his to solve -- somehow. Still,
Tim is not comfortable with the idea of just resolving the problem by himself.
What should Tim do next?