I had the misfortune of incorrectly accusing a vendor, one of my company’s main suppliers, of neglect. It turns out…they weren’t neglectful at all! I was wrong and had received bad information!!
I worked in the new product engineering group with a company that sold a lot of knick-knacks, similar to what you find in card shops like Hallmark. We did catalog sales without a storefront. My company had tens of millions in annual sales. Part of my job was creating a new quality control program to improve the products we purchased from our manufactures.
One bright day I sat across from our main supplier and delicately challenged them on a few quality issues we had found in one of our recent audits. You can only imagine my embarrassment to find that the product I trashed, was not theirs! An auditor on the QA Team had incorrectly identified this problem product with the wrong vendor! I had discussed three products in total, two of which belonged to them, the third did not. Rather than making progress and improving the two products correctly identified as theirs, I spent the better part of two hours mending fences and eating crow.
Needless to say I had a long discussion with the auditor that filed the flawed report. We put in place procedures to double check and verify products and correctly assign them to the right vendor. I learned a valuable lesson that day. Accuracy is important and usually doesn’t take much effort. This was a lazy mistake that nearly brought down a 10 year relationship and wreaked havoc for thousands of other people.
Whether it is simple or complicated…having solid accurate information is a must.