Posted by Harry Hertz, the Baldrige Cheermudgeon
Okay, I have spent several weeks being a cheerleader, so now I have to display my other side. My state has a biennial vehicle emissions testing requirement, which I wholeheartedly support as a citizen committed to a cleaner environment. In our state this testing is conducted at state-owned testing facilities. We have two cars that require inspection at the same time. The hours that our testing facilities are open are clearly printed on the inspection notice. With our current notice there also was bold print across the listing of inspection stations and addresses that the station closest to us had been permanently closed.
So, this past Saturday morning my wife and I headed out to the next closest station, about 30 minutes from our home. As we approached the station there appeared to be an unusually long line of cars not only inside the station, but out into the street and around the corner. State inspection stations have multiple lanes where you line up inside the station, so I had never witnessed this kind of line before. For the next ten minutes we inched our way forward, until we arrived at the closed gate for the inspection facility. The line was from cars turning around in tight quarters at the entrance gate (inside the facility entrance ramp).
We drove back home, two cars, one-half hour each. I looked on the vehicle emissions testing website and found that state budget reductions have resulted in “service reduction days and some Saturday closures.” The first instance of this (at least in 2010) was January 2nd. Do you think between then and now, a notice of closures could have been added to the inspection mailing? Do you think they calculated how much exhaust is being added to the environment by the many drivers who travel to their inspection station on a service reduction day, not knowing it is a service reduction day? Do you think they care? Do you think I was frustrated (polite word)?
Do you think they could benefit from the Baldrige Criteria? How do you think they would answer questions like: “What are your key means of customer support, including your key communication mechanisms? How do you build and manage relationships with customers to meet their requirements and exceed their expectations?”
Are there any organizations you would like to ask these questions? As always, thanks for reading and responding!