“Where is engineering?” Sam repeated.
“They never come to this meeting,” Mary replied. “They said it wasn’t a good use of their time, that all we ever talk about is production schedules and complain about the status of our catch levers. They do send someone to this meeting about once a month, but they never say anything, except that they are working on the catch levers.”
Mark, from marketing spoke up. “I do remember them saying they had just about fixed the problem with the catch levers and wanted to talk to marketing about some new packaging, because the new catch levers are going to require a bigger box.”
Larry, from legal, piped in. Larry was always playing on his iPhone during these meetings. “I think I found the name of the company that is competing with our unit. They are located on the west coast, with a distribution hub about 50 miles from here. The Google map of their distribution hub looks like a warehouse with some trucks in the yard. Big trucks. No wonder we didn’t know about them. But, here’s the thing, they have a patent filing on…it looks like our unit, but without catch levers. Their patent is on a sealed unit that doesn’t open.”
Sam surveyed the room. “Thirty days ago, this company was hitting on all cylinders. Every department was spinning perfect. Our marketing click rates were up, sales were increasing, production throughput was stellar, inventory was moving, returns were normal. Every silo in this company was performing as designed. Except for the catch levers. How did we miss that? Where is engineering?”