Project 2 – M K Rajan

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Strength of a chain is decided by its weakest link.

Toast master of the day, Mr. JKNair, Other Toastmasters, Dear friends Good Evening.

$5 Billion USA is spending every year since 1970, towards their Space Shuttle Programme. One of the five space shuttles they have used was Challenger

Can anybody tell what happened to SS Challenger? Yes, it exploded in space. 73.2 seconds after its lift off from Kennedy Space Centre, on the morning of 28th of January 1986 it exploded in space. America lost seven astronauts, billions of $, precious time and prestige. The reason for the explosion was the fire caused by fuel leakage through a faulty O-ring or seal at the rocket booster. The bad quality of the seal was the culprit. I mentioned this incident to emphasise the importance of quality. L&GM, today, I would like to discuss with you about Quality.

What is quality? It is simply the degree of excellence of something. It is the distinctive or distinguishing property or character of something. We say, quality of sound, quality of air, quality of food, quality of a person etc.As I mentioned before the weakest link decides the strength of a chain which means the attention given at the macro level or grass root level decides the quality. Rolls Royce and Ambassador cars have the same basic structure- 4 wheels, steering column, engine, body, seats etc. But every part of RR has something distinctive-wheels are big, broad; steering motorised, engine smooth, noiseless and powerful, seats are comfortable etc. It is said that when we travel in RR, the only noise we hear is that of its clock. Where us in Ambassador, every thing except the Horn makes noise. RR is of different quality. Similarly diamond and carbon are basically same but they are poles apart in quality.

How can we achieve Quality? Suppose we want to make a simple toy for children, we have to take into consideration many factors. It should be functional, which is the basic requirement, it should be handy, easy to use, should have educational value, aesthetically pleasing, safe, no sharp edges, no toxicity, should not break while falling or throwing, should not cause injuries etc. If all these factors are taken care of then a quality toy will be born.

To maintain quality, there are quality control methods and quality assurance certifications like ISO 9000,9001,9002 etc. where the product and process are monitored continuously at every stage to make sure that set procedures are followed so that the overall quality is assured.

What is the importance of quality? I have been using this pair of shoe for the last 5 years. Before that I was buying at least one pair every year. In addition to the extra comfort, I am confident that the sole will not tear apart, in the middle of the road and cause embarrassment and inconvenience to me. It gives me peace of mind. Imagine the scenario when the expensive silk Saree you have given as wedding gift to your better half shrinks at the first wash, there is every chance that your marriage will be on the rocks or you will be nagged for the rest of your life. On the other hand if your gift shines more with every wash, her face will glow, you will be appreciated and remembered. MG is remembered for the qualitative change he could make in the society.

In short, Quality saves life, saves time and money, boosts prestige and helps progress. The disaster of SS Challenger is a classic example of this. We have also seen that quality increases your confidence, avoids embarrassment & inconveniences, gives comfort & peace of mind, save relationships and commands appreciation. Scientists are remembered by their great inventions.

Friends, as practising engineers, your decisions and actions will be affecting scores of people. So, from now on, make it a point to put in some more degree of excellence, add some more Quality on whatever you do.

I will change the saying, ‘Honesty is the best policy’ to ‘ Quality is the best policy!’

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