Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Toilet Paper Jam Passes Inspections

So let me tell you about the toilet paper in my Lago Mar room. The first time I tried to get some toilet paper, I found out that it didn't roll properly on the toilet paper holder. It's one of those upscale holders that has two independent decorative posts with a spring roll in the middle.

Whoever installed it placed the two posts so close that when you pull on the roll, it tears the toilet paper because the roll is jammed between the decorative posts. It makes for a roll of toilet paper that doesn't roll. The only way to get to the toilet paper was to unthread it. I didn't want to take a chance at ripping the holder off the wall by trying to remove the roll from the holder. Although it annoyed me for a moment, this isn't the sort of thing I (as their customer) would complain about--it wouldn't keep me up at night.

This is, however, an education and process issue that traces back to the person who hired the installer. The person who did the installation either didn't have instructions or if he did, he didn't follow them. And he may not have needed the instructions anyway if he had a lot of prior experience or training on proper installation of bathroom hardware. Even if the installer didn't have instructions, training or experience, the contractors final quality check, or punchlist should have included the mistake.

And that's not the end of it. If this happened in one hotel room, there's a good chance that it happened in ten, twenty, fifty, or maybe even in hundreds of rooms! People are quite predictable. If the installer used his good sense to do the install in my room, he probably used the same line of reasoning, right or wrong, to do others. If he was "on a roll" one day, he may have installed lots of these, which would only result in an equivalent or greater amount of rework, especially if the wallpaper had to be repaired.

The installer didn't catch the jam. The contractor didn't notice it. The resort facilities manager didn't require a change before offering the room to a customer and housekeeping didn't seem to do anything about it!

Although this is a small, seemingly irrelevant issue, it may be a symptom of a bigger problem:

  • the contractor may not have good hiring and/or training practices in place,
  • the manufacturer may not be providing adequate instructions or product design
  • the resort may not be listening to housekeeping staff, the ones most likely to catch the problem, or
  • the facilities manager may not have adequate vendor selection procedures in place.

If the contractor didn't have standards in place for something as simple as toilet paper rolls, could you trust him to work on your electric?

If you'd like to ensure that you have proper safeguards in place to ensure quality products and service, contact Dr. Lorraine for a consultation.

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