I’ll put my hand up. I’ve made a few mistakes in my time. There’s a few memorable ones.
The one that really sticks in my mind is when I was at Kodak.
I was a young graduate, fresh out of University, and on my first project. Being led by an amazing Project Engineer by the name of Malcolm Hart. The project was to part-project manage a new machine installation into one of the areas of the huge Kodak site, in Harrow, UK.
So, with most projects, there was a testing phase. We were to fly out to Italy to test the machine before it came over, so if there was something not so right, it could be rectified there and then.
I was told, make sure you get some ‘test product’ over to the facility in Italy, so we can test it with our products and record the results.
I was on it! I got a variety of material, packaged it all up nicely so it doesn’t get damaged and put it into a pallet and marked it for shipment to Italy, and with the address of the address facility. I also then, devised the testing, which products we’d feed through the machine and how – and the results that should be recorded and even a little graph to show if they were in specification or not. If not, then why not and we could do some root cause analysis.
Malcolm and myself travelled over to Italy, Bologna. We got there, mid-afternoon and went to the facility.
We saw the machine, it looked awesome.
Right, Bal – let’s test it. Sure, Malcolm… and then I turn around to a local engineer, can we have our product I sent over to test please.
No. No product of yours arrived.
What? – you can imagine at this point, the heat had just been turned up a notch!
What do you mean? I sent it, with my own hands, from Harrow to Italy. To this address… it must be here. Could you please look for it.
After some time investigating, we tracked the shipping company and it was sat in a postal service warehouse, which was now closed and not open till the morning, and they required some paperwork.
I learnt a valuable lesson. Make sure, if you send something, confirm they receive it!
In this case – we managed to get the material late the next day, but lost a day of testing. A valuable lesson indeed.
I can assure you, anything I planned from that day on… and till this day, is like a military operation.
So, if you do fail or make a mistake. Learn from it…