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Farthingale Publications

A heartfelt plea sadly omitted from the newsletter of an organisation not very far from here (for obvious reasons). Apart from the Ravioli Room itself the content of this work is completely fictional and any resemblance to other places or people living or dead is purely coincidental, but just to make sure names have been changed to protect the innocent. "Silent Worship" would have been a more appropriate title for this sad tale of unrequited love, set in the early 1960's however George Frederick Handel and a score of others thought of it first so I must respect their copyright.

As youngsters setting out in the world, keen and highly motivated my generation had very modest ambitions, few expectations and were prone to tilting at the odd windmill in pursuit of the impossible dream (come to think of it I still do!). As one of several young trainees we all had our favourite job postings, amongst which were the local racecourse, a major mining engineering company and several large cotton spinning and weaving mills. Mine was the northern branch of the American food giant with the fifty seven varieties, it had several attractions including a wonderful subsidised restaurant, very attractive and friendly switchboard operators but best of all the Ravioli Room where on most working days you could hope to brush up against the gorgeous Miss Bradshaw from quality control. Can you see where this is going? Yes the inspiration for my subsequent obsession and attachment to all things quality, and my first introduction to the subject which was to make my fortune. The Ravioli Room’s systems were the envy of the other departments and pride of the factory, a shining example of quality and excellence among the merely ok. Mainly due to the efforts, influence and stunning good looks of the blond goddess the Ravioli Room regularly scooped the top prize at the annual awards evening at the Palais de Danse for targets exceeded, inspections free from defects, corrective actions avoided, fewest amputees, least number of complaints, highest customer satisfaction levels, lowest sticking plaster usage, and fewest foreign body contamination incidents. Perhaps not surprisingly as a result of their success additional benefits manifested themselves in increased morale, reduced absenteeism and sickness levels, reduced staff turnover, a waiting list of potential recruits, better teamwork and increased social activity. Food factories I know are special places and demand the highest quality, health safety and hygiene, and environmental standards, but I often wonder why we don’t demand these same standards in every industry. Several people within our organisation have expressed interest in an integrated management system and investigations are in hand to see if it is possible to upgrade to such a system which would encompass all the above and other aspects of the business. A little electronic wizardry as well would bring the necessary information, levers and controls to every workstation in the building. Could you be as excited as me about the prospect of such a system in our organisation? Will I be able to inspire and motivate like the lovely Margaret B? Could we create our own Ravioli Room? Watch this space. In case you are wondering, despite lurking in every nook and cranny hoping for the merest whiff of her exotic perfume or a fleeting glimpse of the white coated apparition as she rushed past rooting out failure and mediocrity, I was always in awe and when the opportunity for conversation presented itself I could only mumble about the weather. She married the son of a local pork butcher who had a Jaguar.

Palfreyman
8th October 2005  

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