From the Editor: Quality and Safety

August 30, 2010
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In mid-August a Boeing 737 on its way to San Andres Island, just off the coast of Columbia, fell short of the runway just before landing and skidded on its belly before splitting in three. The pictures are harrowing-like something out of a full-blown action movie. Amazingly, of the 131 on board, only one person died-a woman who had a heart attacked after the crash.

Looking at the plane and considering what could have been, Columbian officials are calling the accident a miracle, but aviation experts attribute it to something else.

In an interview on Nightline, ABC News Consultant John Nance, said, “When you’ve struggled for 20 to 30 years, like aviation has, to learn everything possible for otherwise survivable accidents and make seats not collapse and bins not come open and fire-blocking material that prevents fire, you can’t look at something like this and say miracle. What you can say is this is the fruit of an awful lot of labor.”

Another expert attributed the survival rate to the design that goes into planes. “We’ve learned a lot over the last 60 years or so while commercial aviation has grown. There’s been more changes to the seats and interiors all to make them more crash-worthy and obviously it’s working.”

Quality plays a large role when it comes to safety and it’s our responsibility to do the best that we can to keep others safe. In a time when we are all being stretched to the limit and being asked to do more with less, it can be tempting to let quality slip because there aren’t enough resources to get the job done, whether it be people, time, money, management support, etc.

As tempting as it may be to take short cuts, we know it is not the right thing to do.

Over the years I have heard time and time again, that a product is ready to ship when you feel comfortable with the part going into a car, plane, etc. that your family member might be riding in or using.

And frankly, I am glad that we are out there every day making things safer for my family, my friends and my colleagues.

Are quality and safety one and the same? Have you ever shipped a part that you would not give to a family member? Or have you stood your ground and refused to ship parts that were not up to par? Share your thoughts with me at campbellg@bnpmedia.com , with other members of the Quality community at the Quality Magazine LinkedIn Group page, the the Quality Facebook page and on Twitter .

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