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Sensors & Instrumentation Live

NEC Birmingham(B40 1NT)

25/09/2019 - 26/09/2019

Sensors & Instrumentation Live will celebrate its 10 year anniversary in 2019 and the UK’s (more)

PPMA Show 2019

NEC, Birmingham(B40 1NT)

01/10/2019 - 03/10/2019

The UK’s largest ever event in the processing and packaging sector calendar. With over 350 exhibitors (more)

Advanced Engineering 2019

NEC, Birmingham(B40 1NT)

30/10/2019 - 31/10/2019

The UK's largest annual advanced manufacturing trade show, Advanced Engineering is your opportunity to (more)

You've made your bed, now you have to lay in it...

Staying away from home for a couple of days this week, first overnight in a hotel and then a stopover with friends to break up the drive home, I had two of the worst nights' sleep I can ever remember. I should have realised something was amiss in the hotel when I sat on the bed and it scrunched audibly underneath me. But it had been a long day and I was tired, so I ignored those alarm bells ringing in my head and settled down for the night. I awoke several hours later, having barely entered any sort of satisfying deep sleep, to find myself lying in a pool of sweat, which I put down to the sudden onset of some horrible fever and did my best to ignore. That worked for maybe an hour before I was finally awake enough to realise I had no health problems whatsoever, and that the issue was the bed. So at three o'clock in the morning, I was ripping off bedsheets to find a very plastic feeling mattress protector at the lowest level of bed linen.

In what universe could a plastic mattress protector ever have been conceived as a good idea? Of course having then had to remake the bed without said mattress protector there was absolutely no chance of getting back to sleep again, until about ten minutes before the alarm went off, at which point I could have slept for Britain.
All I could think of through most of the day was how well I was going to sleep at my friends' house. And their spare bed was the most welcoming sight I can remember, with its cute wooden construction and expensive-looking pillow cases. As it turned out, though, it was a horrible spare bed - far too soft, and at the same time lumpy, and clearly straight out of the 'Goldilocks and the Three Bears At Home' catalogue. Unlike Goldilocks, though, I was far too polite to verbalise any discomfort, and when my friends asked at breakfast how I'd slept, I told them I'd had a wonderfully peaceful night.

There should be some sort of law that requires people to sleep in their spare beds for at least a week before declaring them fit for use by others. Perhaps then nobody would risk a cost-down solution, and it would end the "that'll probably do" attitude. Of course, I accept that I am part of the problem; when asked, I should have told them no, I had a terrible night's sleep, that is probably the worst bed on which I had ever had the misfortune to lay my poor aching body. But they never got that feedback, so they'll probably never know.

And I wonder if that lack of feedback is a problem more generally. There have been occasions where I have bought products that didn't function as anticipated or didn't live up to expectations, and rather than complain I simply threw the products away and resolved never to buy from those companies again. The companies never knew; they simply lost custom. Surely that should be all the argument that is required for more thorough product testing. I know companies in our sector who test products through millions of cycles, and I know of companies who barely test at all. I know of other companies who monitor production trends continuously through a batch, and I know of other companies who wait for a failure before taking any action. Which do you think has the most reliable products, the best sales and the highest levels of customer loyalty and retention. It doesn't take a genius to work out the answer pretty quickly; which is just as well because what I really need now is a good night's sleep.
 
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