Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Learn from my mistakes

We all know the saying, "When it rains it pours." Well it certainly was true for this binding job I took in on June 18. Pretty much everything went wrong, but we now have better guidelines for binding boat carpets.

It seemed like a pretty straight forward job, cut new carpet the same as the old and bind-with a few minor changes. No really they were minor. Right out of the gate I made a HUGE mistake.

The first thing:
I put the two pieces of carpet back to back and traced the shape. WRONG! Well no it wouldn't of been wrong if the client wanted the latex as the top part of the rug.

Lesson number one:
  • Make sure that the pattern is copied correctly: The top part goes against the back of new piece of carpet.
Our binding guy realized my boo boo after he cut the first piece when he was checking his cuts.

There were two pieces so good news the second piece was cut correctly.

Now I had to call the boss and explain my mistake and then I had to call the client.

Koodoos to the client, she was very understanding and told me where she bought the carpet. We ordered another piece that arrived on July 2, two weeks after the order was taken in.

I expected to have it back to the client on June 26, so that didn't happen.

The second thing:

Our binding guy went on vacation for a week pushing back the delivery date yet again. The client picked up the piece that was done on the 26th of June and she was very happy with it. According to my calculations the second piece should have been done by July 7th.

Lesson number two
  • When taking a week off give people more than a days notice.

Thirdly:The client decided that since we have an extra piece of carpet that she wanted 4 little scatter mats cut. Not a problem, it was going to go to waste anyway. Simple job to cut two mats 1.5x3 feet and two 2x4 feet and bind. Nope, our binding guy cut out the four little mats forgetting that he still needed that piece as a template.

Lesson three
  • ............remember to breath and that wanting to beat your head against a wall is not a good idea. We still had the original templates in our shop, which is separate from our binding shop right now, but I have gotten ahead of myself.

Fourth thing to snowball:

The client calls on July 9th to find out when she can pick up her order. I call our guy and he tells me that the boat stuff is done and that it will be ready by 4pm on July 10th. Neither, I nor our binging guy was specific about which part of the boat job was done, so when five o'clock rolls around I get my co-worker to throw out the old boat carpets. You see where this is going.

Lesson #4
  • Never assume that the other person knows what you mean and for heaven sake DON'T THROW out the OLD templates until the client tells you to.

On Friday July 10th, delivery day, I get to work and see a message from our binding guy to please call him ASAP! As I dial the number I am feeling ill.

I know that he doesn't have anything good to tell me. That was when he told me that he jumped the gun and cut the little mats out of the template that he needed and was wondering if I still had the old one.

I went to check the dumpster knowing full well it was empty. I said a few choice words in my head and tried not to cry, throw my arms up and walk out. I was done!

Done with this order, done with work, just plain old done. I called my boss and explained what had happened.

I also got him to call the client because I knew if I did I would have broken down and cried. She was more than understanding, such a sweetheart.

She told my boss to tell me not to lose any sleep over the latest development in her order. When I called her the first time to apologize that I had traced it wrong I told her that I felt ill all day.
When we are stressed over something we can forget the simple things.

Our binding guy realized that he still had all the pieces, so he put them back together like a puzzle and cut out the right shape. Seems logical, but after having everything go a rye with this order it wasn't the first thing you think of. I didn't even think of it at all.

After almost a month the order is done and waiting for her to pick it up later this week. I am hoping that it fits perfectly; It looks correct, but I could just want it to look perfect. I am so glad that this order involved synthetic carpet that was easily replaceable.

When cutting new pieces using the existing carpet remember:

  • Put them front to back for tracing the pattern
  • Any changes must be drawn out on paper, full size, by the client
  • Take your time cutting and binding
  • Stop yourself from going on autopilot
  • Make sure that you communicate effectively and double confirm what you mean
  • Keep templates until client says what to do with it
  • And most importantly remember that it can be fixed and it is not the end of the world.

A fabulous person said to me that if we didn't make mistakes how would we learn. After this experience I have learned lots and I hope that you did too.

Thanks for reading, RugloverMary