[TowerTalk] My Final On MFJ

David Gilbert xdavid at cis-broadband.com
Mon Apr 2 22:26:00 EDT 2018

Sorry, but you don't get to post and then run off like that without a 
reply, because the impression you're trying to leave isn't at all what 
is meant by good manufacturing.

Good manufacturing doesn't mean clean room facilities.  Not all all.  
There are industries where clean rooms are important, but most ham radio 
products don't require anything like that.  Good manufacturing means 
streamlined process flows, well documented processes, organized work 
spaces, minimal inventory, monitoring and tracking of errors, proper 
discipline and a culture of eliminating discrepancies.  None of those 
cost more than the savings they typically produce.

There are a variety of rigorous improvement techniques that are used in 
modern manufacturing facilities, and none of them require anything 
special in the way of facilities.  What they do require is focus, 
understanding, and commitment on the part of management. Techniques such 
as Six Sigma, Total Productive Maintenance, Kaizen, Five Why's, Five 
S's, Lean Manufacturing, etc etc etc all involve simply a personal 
commitment to reduced waste and improved quality. They do not ... I 
repeat ... they do not require a clean room.  In fact, when done 
properly these techniques actually reduce facility cost by reducing the 
space and equipment required for rework, tangled manufacturing flows, 
and unnecessary piece part inventory.

MFJ could embrace these measures if they wanted, and it wouldn't cost 
them anything beyond the time commitment to learn how do do it.

Dave   AB7E

On 4/2/2018 4:18 PM, Kenneth D. Moak wrote:
> I never thought our first post would draw so much attention. So this will be
> my last. I didn't intend to offend anyone, I was expressing our opinion.
> Dave, AB7E - Regarding: "Poor manufacturing quality occurs through ignorance
> or indifference, period.?? What you don't understand is that how the
> manufacturing floor looks is key to how the product works. Disputing that
> simply shows ignorance.";  I'll be happy to fully discuss that offline,
> since that is in itself not appropriate for me to respond to here.  I didn't
> want a resume showdown, but I'll gladly oblige.  I'm sure everyone is well
> qualified.  I love discussing engineering, manufacturing and quality from
> mom and pop shops to multi-billion dollar enterprises.   I'm a retired
> military and civilian engineer with over 40 years working engineering and
> manufacturing with companies from Boeing, Northrop, GD, Ball Aerospace,
> AT&T, and many others.  If anyone would like to discuss the topic offline,
> especially with personal attacks, please feel free to contact me offline at
> <mailto:km8am at ctcn.net> km8am at ctcn.net.  There's no need to put everyone
> else through the unnecessary read.
> "Quality is not a cost issue," but if you actually have a heart to heart
> discussion with the senior leadership of major manufacturing companies, as I
> have, you will find that quality is a major cost issue.  It is analyzed and
> debated as deeply as any other design decision, and it's weighed against
> REAL SR&R (scrap, rework, and repair) rates - not anecdotal evidence.  Would
> I like to meet Martin Jue and ask him about engineering, manufacturing, and
> quality?  You bet - maybe this year at Hamvention.
> To the folks that believe that "quality" manufacturing facilities look like
> an Intel clean room, I propose that the sample size may be small or somewhat
> selective.   Yes, there are superb facilities out there, but if you think
> the majority of companies look like Intel, forget it.  For example, in the
> early 1980's I ran the USAF Engineering and Manufacturing office at Boeing
> for the B-2 program and had to cause the grounding of the aircraft during
> flight test because of comingled fasteners on the aircraft.  At the
> program's direction, I visited every other major contractor's site and found
> similar issues on every manufacturing floor.  These were not MFJ-sized
> companies, and they understood quality.  They also understood the "cost of
> quality."  Their people did care, and their managers were not trying to suck
> the last dollar out of the company.  Every process that includes people, or
> machines, has issues.
> I truly encourage you to swing a "non-factory tour" visit to as many Amateur
> Radio manufacturing facilities as possible because I think it will surprise
> you. It's fun to look behind the curtain when they don't expect visitors.
> I'm NOT saying these companies are not excellent companies.  I'm just
> suggesting they do not have clean room-level facilities all the time.  I
> also postulate they do not have Manufacturing Process Management (MPM)  and
> Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) in place for every product.
> Again, I'm not trying to cause issues, and everyone is entitled to their
> opinion.  I just put my experience with MFJ along side mine with Yaesu never
> fixing the software issue with my FT-847, Alpha's long delayed auto tuner,
> years waiting for Flex to deliver a noise blanker that works, my Comet 333
> antenna with bad matching coil, one of our two brand new SPE 2k-FA amps
> lasting exactly 2 seconds before the power supply exploded, numerous
> Heathkits with missing parts, my hours hanging around the StepIR booth at
> Hamvention listening to owners while researching the antenna, and finally
> our ARRL Handbook with one chapter missing and one other duplicated.  All
> these are/were great companies.  But who's keeping score?
> Thanks for being there; we've learned a lot over the years from the forum.
> The best part of Ham Radio is operating...
> Ken, km8am
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