Earlier today, facilities management at work sent an email stating that the parking lot lights near one building were inoperable and couldn’t be fixed today due to the rain. To alleviate our suffering, the security vehicle would be stationed there to provide additional light.
Sure enough, as I was leaving, there was the security vehicle, emergency lights flashing, and high beams on aimed directly at everyone walking out to the parking lot-blinding them most effectively.
I muttered to myself about the stupidity, and drove home. But there’s a lesson here. Joseph Juran defined quality as “fitness for use”, a definition that applies to the task of providing emergency illumination in a parking lot. The lighting’s purpose is to light the way for the people exiting the building-they’re the customer. Once we identify the customer, it becomes easier to see viable solutions. In this case, it becomes clear that the security vehicle would be better positioned if it faced away from the building, illuminating people from behind-lighting their way much the same as if the people were holding a flashlight.