Joe LaMantia wrote:
Here we have a big company with a new design introduction, using an off-shore manufacturing facility and building this product in high volume (1000 orders) with very little field experience. That is a formula for disaster that I have seen occur more then once in my former career.
And it's happening right now, on a very large scale: Boeing 787. Company management decided it would be cheaper and more efficient to have major portions of the aircraft built over a wide range of locations and companies. To say it hasn't worked out is an understatement. Saw a press report this week that said Boeing is considering doing EXACTLY the opposite for the next airplane: Building at a central location, and making any subcontractors set up locally so they can be more-easily monitored.
There's no question cultural differences can make a difference in quality; coupled with an environment that a company may not have had experience in, this *can* cause problems. I don't see that as a natural bent towards bad workmanship, but it behooves the prime contractor (e.g., Cessna or Boeing) to ensure the proper education is performed and the quality assurance processes in place. This, I think, is one of the things that bit Boeing so bad with the 787. It may, for all we know, have bit Cessna, too...that might explain why it took so long to get production going.
Cessna has a huge investment in the Skycatcher... I'm sure they're hyper-sensitive to any allegations of poor quality control, and (hopefully!) are keeping a close watch.
I've got a personal example of the "cultural differences" and "environment a company may not have experience in." I contracted for a second edition of one of my aviation books a few years back, and the publisher (McGraw Hill) outsourced editing to India. The editor had an excellent grasp of the English language, but no knowledge of aviation, mechanics, or American idiom. I had to stop them from spelling out, "Federal Aviation Administration" every time I used the term "FAA." They changed all the references to wrench sizes from fractions to ratios (e.g, from "use a 9/16" wrench" to " use a 9:16 wrench"). They didn't understand my reference to "Old Home Week" (they changed it to "Old Home Work"). FORTUNATELY, they asked about my use of the acronym "GI" ("Government Issue"), as "Gastro-Intestinal" didn't seem to fit the context....
It wasn't that they were stupid, or poorly-educated...they were just outside their own cultural experience. It was submitted to me for checkover prior to publication, so we were able to get everything corrected. Or *most* everything. Something may have leaked through.
But then, errors happen over here, too. On the first edition of the book (produced right here in the good 'ol USA) they mis-spelled the title on the cover....