Wednesday, September 3, 2014

SNAFU* and Continuous Improvement

*SNAFU is an acronym, with military origins, meaning Situation Normal: All F***ed Up. (It is pronounced sna-foo'.)

Today's much anticipated maiden shave with the Maggard MR3B razor is postponed until tomorrow (I hope) due to a delivery SNAFU at the US Postal Service (USPS). Even though correctly addressed, the USPS tried to deliver the MR3B yesterday in the wrong zip code.

Disassembled Maggard MR3B razor:
out for delivery IN THE WRONG ZIP CODE
thanks to SNAFU at the USPS.
When the razor, which was listed in the USPS tracking system as out for delivery, didn't show up at my mailbox, I phoned the local USPS office. But apparently they have a telephone THAT THEY DON'T ANSWER DURING BUSINESS HOURS.

When I called their national number, on my fourth call I learned that the package was in fact out for delivery, but hopelessly miles from the correct destination!

At least no one got shot.**

The USPS has a long history of imperfect service, but, silly me, I thought they would be working to improve that. No wonder UPS and FedEx are the go-to package-delivery outfits. If you had a package that absolutely, positively had to arrive on time, would the USPS be your first choice for carrier? Not mine; no thanks.

Another SNAFU I've recently encountered was with Sears, the former industry-leading retailer. I bought a washing machine from their clearance center. I had annoying delivery problems, and then when the machine finally arrived, IT DIDN'T WORK -- though all of these machines are allegedly tested and certified to be in working order (rolling on floor, laughing). The Sears reps confided to me that the delivery process has been imperfect and unchanging for years. Double SNAFU. Silly me: I thought they would be trying to improve things. No wonder Sears-KMart continue to plummet into irrelevance; would you invest in shares of their stock? Not me.

When I complain to a company's customer-service reps, I'm not just venting; I'm trying to help them get better. When I manage an organization, large or small, job one is to prevent problems from occurring, and job two is to continuously improve outcomes including customer service, efficiency, and all other aspects of the work.

Which brings me to shaving excellence and continuous improvement....

I acknowledge that an aspect of my largely-under-control razor-acquisition disease is due to an unsatisfied quest for the perfect shave: totally and consistently close, smooth, and completely comfortable. Currently my shaves are good, but some are better than others, varying in aspects of closeness and irritation -- sometimes a balancing act between the two.  If my quest is ever achieved, then I will probably try to simplify the ritual, further reduce the cost, or otherwise make it more enjoyable.

So that is why, against earlier proclamations to the contrary, I have ordered yet another razor: this MR3B from Maggard. At the worst, I will have a heavier, easier-to-hold handle for use as part of Frankenrazor, version II. At best, the Maggard shaving head will be an improvement over my existing equipment and will bring me closer to my holy grail of shaving.

If it ever gets here, that is.

Happy shaving!

** The USPS has a history of a few tragic cases where enraged employees have brought weapons into company facilities, killing and wounding many innocent persons. It is commonly assumed that this is related to poor, draconian management methods -- and some unbalanced employees, of course.

No comments:

Post a Comment