It seems like a lot of my time these days is not necessarily spent just on my jobsites but I’m also having to burn extra hours in my schedule chasing parts and pieces for products that either arrive damaged; do not work properly or are just flat out the wrong product; i.e. I receive something completely different than what I ordered.
I do not know if it is the absence of quality control; outsourcing or the fact that in current times in order to make a product and sell it at a price that the retail market will embrace manufacturers are having parts and pieces made all over the world and then performing the final assembly and packaging in a warehouse somewhere before the finished items ships to the manufacturer or a distributor.
Just yesterday on two separate jobs I had to document 3 items which now have to be “dealt with” in the fact that certain parts or portions of the items just do not work properly and even worse just do not look good or as they should.
Case 1 – a beautiful chandelier from a very reputable [and expensive] lighting manufacturer that prides itself with unique items just cannot seem to get me 3 glass globes that will fit the fixture. I’m sure at some point in time they had glass globes made which looked beautiful and fit properly but I am already on my second set of globes and the last round still does not fit properly and even worse; one shade is a different hue [color] than 2 of the others. In addition, the coating on the glass is flaking off at the base; so much that you see white glass where you should be seeing cream. After this very disappointing round which was supposed to be the remedy to the initial problem that one of the original shades arrived broken and 1 other did not fit properly I look to the client and utter these words that I seem to be saying a lot lately, “Third Time’s a Charm”.
Case 2 – a well known distributor of artwork sent me a shipment for a residence that I am working on and imagine my distress when I discover that one of the copper embossed panels out of a pair appears to have rubbed so much during shipping that the finish has come off on the lower left hand corner. I now have to ask for a replacement.
Case 3 – a well known distributor of home furnishings, accessories and artwork sent me a very large shipment and even though I am sure the items were in perfect condition when they left the factory either the manner in which they were packed for the shipper who handled them did not take care thus a very large mirror arrived cracked and also a large clock arrived damaged as well.
Case 4 – I purchased several table lamps from another well known manufacturer for light fixtures [not the same as in Case 1] and the faux leather shade on one out of a pair of lamps was so damaged that it looked as if someone took a bite out of it. The company was great and when I told them of the problem they instantly shipped me off a replacement shade. I was thrilled to receive the shade in under a week however imagine my disappointment when I realized that I now have one faux leather shade with a shiny finish and another faux leather shade with a matte finish. I’m hoping that, “Third Time’s a Charm”.
Case 5 – I purchased some beautiful rustic solid wood furniture for a client for one of their bedrooms and was shocked when I discovered that the top of one of the nightstands had a perfect circle; a perfect discoloration on it as if someone had applied the finish while a can sat on the top. The manufacturer said they have never seen anything like this before and of course assured me that they would send a replacement [which they have and I should receive shortly]. I am hoping that in this case the replacement will be just perfect and I will not have to apply the “Third Time’s a Charm” rule.
Case 6 – I purchased a pair of rattan occasional chairs for an outdoor space and about fell over when after unpacking them [at the clients’ home] that one chair was not like the other; one chair did not belong. These days with digital cameras and phones it is easy to notify a manufacturer and supplier of a problem so that is exactly what I did. The manufacturer is sending me another chair that will match however in the meantime I have to pack up the one that does not match and get it back to my warehouse and label it and constantly call about the return shipment and spend time making sure that what I ordered correctly from the get go will actually get corrected and shipped again.
Case 7 – I ordered some beautiful embossed cabinetry hardware for a client only to find out when I received it that it actually had a hollow back; the hardware was not solid and it was actually more expensive than some of the other hardware that I ordered which was solid and had weight to it. When I conveyed my disappointment to the supplier they immediately issued a return tag and I was able to send back the 21 pieces and receive a full credit for them. We selected a different style and placed an order for those after being assured they were the quality I was looking for.
It does not stop at Case 7; I could go on with several more accounts of what happens “behind the scenes” in a design and construction firm. I take comfort in the fact that the factory representatives and manufacturers that I deal with are pretty top notch and they do take the steps to make things right. I just wish every item I order would come in perfect and correct the first time around.
In the end we are all human and they say that to err is human. I understand and embrace this philosophy. At the moment however, I just need a little reprieve from all of the errors and mistakes that have been arriving on my office doorstep and warehouse as it is causing a back log in getting things done right the first time around. Then again the third time is usually a charm!