(Topic ID: 253249)

Stern Adds QA Director


By DaMoib

4 months ago



Topic Stats

  • 47 posts
  • 30 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 4 months ago by PtownPin
  • Topic is favorited by 2 Pinsiders

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    #3 4 months ago

    Good, they do need one. Pal of mine pulled these off from a new JP(Pro) purchased just a few weeks ago.
    pasted_image (resized).png

    #4 4 months ago

    Right move

    #5 4 months ago

    "Enhances" makes it sounds like QA is already being done; that's cute.

    #6 4 months ago
    Quoted from GravitaR:

    Good, they do need one. Pal of mine pulled these off from a new JP(Pro) purchased just a few weeks ago.
    [quoted image]

    My JP2 has the same issues

    F3E8285E-6029-4B25-B358-2ADF361BBE6E (resized).jpeg
    #7 4 months ago
    Quoted from TheLaw:

    "Enhances" makes it sounds like QA is already being done; that's cute.

    I'd guess they have well established QA processes, although their effectiveness is questionable. I wonder how many issues QA *IS* finding and how much rework is occurring.

    #8 4 months ago
    Quoted from DaMoib:

    I wonder how many issues QA *IS* finding and how much rework is occurring.

    Enough to support the creation of this position.

    #9 4 months ago

    Yeah your going to need one for an ISO certification if (and should) Stern pursue it. No more hand drilling and using hammers on the playfields!

    #10 4 months ago
    Quoted from DaMoib:

    I'd guess they have well established QA processes, although their effectiveness is questionable. I wonder how many issues QA *IS* finding and how much rework is occurring.

    I’m skeptical that they have well established quality processes across the business, particularly supplier quality flow down. The Quality Department can provide direction and tools, but senior management has to drive the necessary cultural change across every part of the company, not just the shop floor. Hopefully the Quality Director will be able to influence their mindset, starting with how to handle the playfield issues, but it will take time.

    #11 4 months ago
    Quoted from hool10:Yeah your going to need one for an ISO certification if (and should) Stern pursue it. No more hand drilling and using hammers on the playfields!

    Unless hammering and hand drilling is written written into the procedures and repeatable

    An iso cert for Stern is one thing but it would only be as good as the iso cert of the manufacturer of parts. The whole weak link thing.
    SPC would need to be applied at every level of manufacturing, clearly it isn't being done yet. All those broken coil stops are evidence of that. Damn.

    #12 4 months ago

    There are lots of buffoons in Quality Systems departments.

    For example; How does the Takata team measure up? Or the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phone battery team? What aboot Boeing's 737-MAX super software coders and testers and the final Quality director who gave a pass to the system that resulted in deadly crashes?

    #13 4 months ago

    I find it funny they waited this long, and even funnier they need to announce it....clearly the bad press is hurting their bottom line

    #14 4 months ago

    They announce every director appointment, I just don't think there's been a new one since Zach Sharpe

    #15 4 months ago

    ISO certification for a pinball company would be pointlessly expensive. This is just another layer between upper management and the working folks. This position will be the fall guy for when the next clearcoat disaster hits, saving someone above him.

    #16 4 months ago
    Quoted from PtownPin:

    I find it funny they waited this long, and even funnier they need to announce it....clearly the bad press is hurting their bottom line

    I know a few people waiting to get a Jurassic Park until the clear coat issues are fixed. Having a QA director maybe a good thing but until the product comes out good I don’t think too many people will be buying given someone has new role in the company.

    #17 4 months ago
    Quoted from Atari_Daze:

    An iso cert for Stern is one thing but it would only be as good as the iso cert of the manufacturer of parts. The whole weak link thing.
    SPC would need to be applied at every level of manufacturing, clearly it isn't being done yet. All those broken coil stops are evidence of that. Damn.

    Yup it's about consistency, documentation, improving quality, improving safety among many aspects.

    Quoted from JodyG:

    ISO certification for a pinball company would be pointlessly expensive. This is just another layer between upper management and the working folks. This position will be the fall guy for when the next clearcoat disaster hits, saving someone above him.

    It's not pointlessly expensive. You sound like my boss at the last welding shop I was at with numerous OSHA violations and a dirt floor hiring rapists and pedos who didn't know how to weld. You want quality you go to a union or a reputable company not Jacks welding shop down the street. Same thing with a pinball machine. It's obvious they are not taking samples and doing QA on the clearcoat. No documentation. Just a complete s show.

    #18 4 months ago

    What's the point of ISO certification if your product ships directly to the consumer? Sure ISO has it's benefits within the company, but its really all documentation and traceability for root cause analysis, which any good company can handle on their own. In my experience ISO certification is only good if you are selling components to a larger manufacturer/vendor. People are going to buy a pinball machine based on features and theme, maybe 3 guys are going to go "Stern is ISO certified, I'm going to buy from them."

    #19 4 months ago
    Quoted from TomGWI:

    I know a few people waiting to get a Jurassic Park until the clear coat issues are fixed. Having a QA director maybe a good thing but until the product comes out good I don’t think too many people will be buying given someone has new role in the company.

    I think there are a lot of buyers on the fence right now....I for one will never buy another NIB game from Stern until they demonstrate their going to stand behind their product....its ridiculous that someone doesn't get reasonable customer support when their new games start falling apart in 3 months....and yes that included a little chipping....when u market your high end product (LE's) to home owners like it or not expectations on warranty support get much higher.

    #20 4 months ago

    Price increase in 3, 2, 1...

    #21 4 months ago
    Quoted from Beemus:

    Price increase in 3, 2, 1...

    no doubt....

    #22 4 months ago
    Quoted from PtownPin:

    when u market your high end product (LE's) to home owners like it or not expectations on warranty support get much higher.

    This is the point that gets missed by some people. This is not an operator driven market.

    That said, it’s frustrating that the issues are so hit or miss. I picked up a used Deadpool with zero playfield issues, yet some older and newer titles, as well as a few DP’s, have frequent issues.

    #23 4 months ago
    Quoted from Wickerman2:

    This is the point that gets missed by some people. This is not an operator driven market.
    That said, it’s frustrating that the issues are so hit or miss. I picked up a used Deadpool with zero playfield issues, yet some older and newer titles, as well as a few DP’s, have frequent issues.

    Clearly its a market for the home collector....with that comes a completely different set of expectations that Stern is basically ignoring...u can't have your cake and eat it to....eventually that mentality bites u in the ass....I buy all my games on the secondary market...all u have to do is wait 6 months and u can pretty much pick up any title u want at a discount....plus u get to inspect prior to purchasing

    #24 4 months ago
    Quoted from herbertbsharp:

    ... Sure ISO has it's benefits within the company, but its really all documentation and traceability for root cause analysis, which any good company can handle on their own...."

    Which can be achieved by hiring a consultant... or a new QA director that has worked in an ISO environment! He can implement the key processes... skipping the whole ISO certification (and its associated costs).

    #25 4 months ago
    Quoted from DaMoib:

    Which can be achieved by hiring a consultant... or a new QA director that has worked in an ISO environment! He can implement the key processes... skipping the whole ISO certification (and its associated costs).

    As I said, lots of buffoons managing QA departments at so-called leading manufacturers.

    #26 4 months ago
    Quoted from GravitaR:

    Good, they do need one. Pal of mine pulled these off from a new JP(Pro) purchased just a few weeks ago.
    [quoted image]

    Probably an example of Stern trying to save $.50 cents a part with a cheaper version. Theres nothing like trying to save even more money on a $6k - $10k pin of all things after repeatedly raising prices.

    #27 4 months ago

    I have had to improve both Quality and Safety in several organizations in my past. Both issues are tied to corporate culture which can always be improved

    What needs to happen is Senior Management needs to recognize there is a problem and decide to take action to improve the situation.
    If the Senior leaders are not experts in the safety and quality areas, hiring an outside expert is not a bad start. The expert can help develop philosophy and simple to the point processes.
    My approach always was to identify the key work force individuals who are the recognized craftsman/women and recruit them to the cause. This usually means several face to face meeting with the work force leaders getting their input and making changes process wise with that input.
    Once the senior leaders have a handle on what they want to do, they need a roll out plan that means communicating the new expectations and processes. The leaders need to stay actively involved in the new processes to make sure they are followed and lessons learned are implemented. The process is never right at first and input from the work force needs to constantly be listened to for opportunities.
    In my experience it can take 18 months to two years to start seeing culture change that can stick. Once the quality process has “legs” , Sr management can back out to allow the work force to drive quality as they are the ones Who have their hands in the “gear”
    Stern hiring a Quality Director sounds like they want to improve ,but that person is only a resource to Sr management to help drive change.

    #28 4 months ago

    QA Director...

    "Hey thanks all-I can't wait to get on the job!"

    Quality Assurance.png
    #29 4 months ago

    Good thing, just hope he’s a pinhead. Not another bean counter. I don’t give a crap about experience at caterpillar, does he own a pinball machine at home? Does he have a pinside account? Does he go to shows on his own dime? THATS the experience I want to hear about. Will this guy come to expo and have a beer with us and LISTEN to us!?
    If he showed up in this thread introducing himself then, I would be impressed.

    #30 4 months ago
    Quoted from Phat_Jay:

    Good thing, just hope he’s a pinhead. Not another bean counter. I don’t give a crap about experience at caterpillar, does he own a pinball machine at home? Does he have a pinside account? Does he go to shows on his own dime? THATS the experience I want to hear about. Will this guy come to expo and have a beer with us and LISTEN to us!?
    If he showed up in this thread introducing himself then, I would be impressed.

    I would have been the perfect fit. 20 years as a quality engineer for a fortune 500 company with a degree in materials science and I been collecting pinball machines for over 25 years. Hey Jack, if you are looking for QA Director hit me up

    #31 4 months ago

    I love how angry everybody is about the playfield issues, then continue to post $hit when Stern announces they've hired a QA Director.
    They can't win in some peoples eyes no matter what they do.
    Or maybe some Pinsiders will never be happy is more the point?

    #32 4 months ago
    Quoted from Chambahz:

    I love how angry everybody is about the playfield issues, then continue to post $hit when Stern announces they've hired a QA Director.
    They can't win in some peoples eyes no matter what they do.
    Or maybe some Pinsiders will never be happy is more the point?

    How about this for logic and separating the argument properly into its different parts:

    1. It's a good move by Stern.

    2. It doesn't undo the past shitty playfields coming off the line the past 1+ years and those problems still need to be addressed. Let's see what they do about the existing problems.

    #33 4 months ago
    Quoted from Chambahz:

    I love how angry everybody is about the playfield issues, then continue to post $hit when Stern announces they've hired a QA Director.
    They can't win in some peoples eyes no matter what they do.
    Or maybe some Pinsiders will never be happy is more the point?

    This is a dilbert move. Playfield issues with the clear? Let’s add a new box on the org chart. Coil stops falling apart? Let’s establish a tiger team. These are supplier and schedule issues. Suppliers who have shown they know how to produce these parts. Difference now is everyone has to make these items faster. What happens when you ask clear to cure more quickly? Stern needs nail down their playfield designs and art sooner so their suppliers can produce their playfields using methods and curing times that we all know work.

    Again, pf suppliers have shown they can make pfs that don’t turn to sht. Just need to give them time to do it right. Telling your suppliers to “wait, wait, wait, wait, (while we finalize design and art), now hurry, hurry, hurry, hurry (make our playfields so we can throw parts on them!)” doesn’t serve the end product well.

    Struggles of a growing company. They’ll figure it out. I’d rather see that box on the org chart titled “Customer Services” until this mess is sorted out.

    #34 4 months ago
    Quoted from sulli10:

    I have had to improve both Quality and Safety in several organizations in my past. Both issues are tied to corporate culture which can always be improved
    What needs to happen is Senior Management needs to recognize there is a problem and decide to take action to improve the situation.
    If the Senior leaders are not experts in the safety and quality areas, hiring an outside expert is not a bad start. The expert can help develop philosophy and simple to the point processes.
    My approach always was to identify the key work force individuals who are the recognized craftsman/women and recruit them to the cause. This usually means several face to face meeting with the work force leaders getting their input and making changes process wise with that input.
    Once the senior leaders have a handle on what they want to do, they need a roll out plan that means communicating the new expectations and processes. The leaders need to stay actively involved in the new processes to make sure they are followed and lessons learned are implemented. The process is never right at first and input from the work force needs to constantly be listened to for opportunities.
    In my experience it can take 18 months to two years to start seeing culture change that can stick. Once the quality process has “legs” , Sr management can back out to allow the work force to drive quality as they are the ones Who have their hands in the “gear”
    Stern hiring a Quality Director sounds like they want to improve ,but that person is only a resource to Sr management to help drive change.

    ^ this. Just hiring a FTE with a title does squat. It needs to be championed by Senior Management, needs buy in by all levels of productions, goals set, etc. Processes can be changed in an hour, behavior and culture can't.

    #35 4 months ago
    Quoted from Methos:

    ^ this. Just hiring a FTE with a title does squat. It needs to be championed by Senior Management, needs buy in by all levels of productions, goals set, etc. Processes can be changed in an hour, behavior and culture can't.

    Seems like Design, Engineering and Marketing have equal roles to play along with Production at both JJP and Stern. They rush certain titles to market likely compressing time for testing and debugging, and some of the design and engineering decisions leave little or no room for variation in parts or assembly. I just got a JJP POTC and while I'm sure the design works perfect on paper, basically everything needs to be put together perfect. I was responsible for some pretty complicated manufacturing operations, and the tendency is to point the finger at the guy on the shop -floor. Gary says that Stern is a "manufacturing company" but from the outside it seems like the Commercial and Design Groups call the shots. Hopefully that's not the case, and the EVP of Operations has a big seat at the table.

    -1
    #36 4 months ago
    Quoted from PanzerFreak:

    Probably an example of Stern trying to save $.50 cents a part with a cheaper version. Theres nothing like trying to save even more money on a $6k - $10k pin of all things after repeatedly raising prices.

    I don't think it is Stern trying to save money as I doubt there is more than one manufacturer of these parts that manufacture may be trying to save money though

    #37 4 months ago

    I cannot see how another level position can affect change. Coil stops look good, pass the bite test, but fall apart later. Cabs split after legs installed and weight settles. Node boards are all very pretty when new but days later...

    Part suppliers are Sterns and JJP’s biggest issue if not made in house.

    As each generation of pin progresses, new cost savings are found, and the wrong folks get listened to. If this person will change things they’ve got to work hard for it. I cannot see that happening in this culture.

    #38 4 months ago

    Director of Quabitty Assurance

    220px-CreedBratton(TheOffice) (resized).jpg
    #39 4 months ago

    While I think this a great idea on Stern's end, I think the horse is out of the barn though...they've had quality issues for how long now? And they're just addressing it now? Again, good move, but kind of late in my opinion. I've passed on the last 3 titles from Stern because of their (very real) QC issues. Let's see how this plays out...

    #40 4 months ago
    Quoted from Chambahz:

    I love how angry everybody is about the playfield issues, then continue to post $hit when Stern announces they've hired a QA Director.

    What playfield issues...pretty sure they said they don't have any? I don't know what this chap/lass will do for 40 hours a week

    #41 4 months ago
    Quoted from TheLaw:

    What playfield issues...pretty sure they said they don't have any? I don't know what this chap/lass will do for 40 hours a week

    Never has Stern said they didn’t have any.
    Thanks for coming out.

    #42 4 months ago
    Quoted from Chambahz:

    Never has Stern said they didn’t have any.

    Or right, just not "widespread issues." My bad

    #43 4 months ago
    Quoted from TheLaw:

    What playfield issues...pretty sure they said they don't have any? I don't know what this chap/lass will do for 40 hours a week

    40 hours a week? This is a salaried director position. 32 hours a week tops in the Winter and 24 tops in the Summer.

    "Off-site meetings" galore on the golf cour, I mean with the vendors....

    Four weeks vacation from day one. Plus time off during plant shutdowns.

    #44 4 months ago
    Quoted from Chambahz:

    Never has Stern said they didn’t have any.
    Thanks for coming out.

    Sterns problem is they don't say anything, which screams of arrogance in my book....at some point it will bite them in the ass...the BS propaganda around this director is their way of marketing to the world that their now taking this serious....give me a break....

    #45 4 months ago
    Quoted from PtownPin:

    Sterns problem is they don't say anything, which screams of arrogance in my book....at some point it will bite them in the ass...the BS propaganda around this director is their way of marketing to the world that their now taking this serious....give me a break....

    You’re one of Stern’s loudest adversaries on here and you’re still not happy that they have announced hiring someone to help with issues? You have already decided for yourself that it’s all bull$hit, eh?
    Classic Pinside.

    #46 4 months ago

    The key point is will Stern upper management listen to and respect what the new director says even if it is news they don’t want to hear?
    i. e. Is the new guy being installed just so Stern say, “ We have a guy...”.

    The challenge for the new guy coming in is that he will need to hit the ground running. He will be forced to come up with some “improvements” in order to justify his being hired. That means he has to come up with some sort of change, something new but not necessarily improved.

    It happened where I work. By some chance of fate I found myself to our new director of QA. I worked in an airplane factory. We got to talking aircraft quality and flight safety. I brought up the Alaska Airlines crash where the airliner crashed off the coast of California, IIRC. Turns out he had worked for Alaska Airlines in QA. He told me exactly why that plane went down. I went back to work and he went on to his new D-QA position.

    Next thing I know I am seeing some new kiosks being placed in different shops all over the factory floor. Basically, the kiosks were suggestion boxes and bitch boxes and they were worthless. No one used them. They were the new D-QA’s idea that he brought him from some other company he worked for. It was his “Hey! I am the new guy here and here is my contribution to my new employer.

    He was gone in less than a year. Then, due to some other changes on the factory floor, we had a big field day clean up. Some of the first items to get tossed were the useless kiosks.

    Kudos to Stern for hiring a new director. I couldn’t care less if he came from Cat or P-H. It almost sounds too corporate for me.

    What I want to know is if the guy has some sort of contract protection to prevent him from being fired if he starts making the hard decisions that it appears no one currently at Stern wants to make. Or is he to be a convenient scape goat?

    And as one other poster alluded to, will he come out of the ivory tower and go meet the pinballers at the Expos.

    In short, will he have any power without having to watch his corporate back side and will he listen to the customers? Although with the prices being charged for new pins maybe we should be considered clients.

    #47 4 months ago
    Quoted from Chambahz:

    You’re one of Stern’s loudest adversaries on here and you’re still not happy that they have announced hiring someone to help with issues? You have already decided for yourself that it’s all bull$hit, eh?
    Classic Pinside.

    I love many of their games...MET, ACDC, LOTR, etc....have owned several, but their quality and customer service has gotten worse yet they continue to raise prices....I'm all good paying top dollar for a product, but not when it comes with the risk of buy NIB Stern games....my hope is that they take care of all their customers with these problems and make some sort of statement that they've addressed their poor quality play fields....pooling and chipping on new games is not normal

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