Assembly Line TV Shows?
I’m not a fan of “The O.C.” but this caught my eye in the WSJ today:
“What went wrong at ‘The O.C.’? It’s impossible to pinpoint an exact reason, since TV series aren’t assembly-line products that can be scrutinized by a quality-review board for flaws. But with ‘The O.C.,’ a series of decisions — involving story lines, scheduling and casting — appears to have hobbled the program further as it slid.”
This reminds me of the phrase “assembly line medicine” that I blogged about this week. Again, another inaccurate and simplified view of production. Lean assembly lines don’t rely on inspectors to scrutinize products at the end of the line. That’s what GM used to with the infamous “final inspection” at the Hamtramack plant, where the joke was cars went one of two places — minor repair or major repair. I think there was some truth to that joke.
Either way, lean producers build quality into the process. That’s what Toyota does. Error proofing and robust processes are how you get quality — that along with empowered employees leading continuous improvement efforts. I toured the BMW plant in South Carolina and they bragged about how many inspections they did. That impresses the general public, but not a lean thinker.
I could care less about The O.C. but it sounds like they have some inherent quality flaws in the show that are the responsibility of top management (producers) rather than the actors or individual writers.