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Who Is To Blame When a Custom Designed Product Doesn't Turn Out As Envisioned?

It’s everybody’s favorite question and no one’s favorite game. Too many times we are expected to do something and if it’s done incorrectly, whether it be the front lines, side lines, or behind the lines, everyone finds someone to blame.

Recently, Fortis was asked to design a lifting device and as with nearly every product that gets designed there are many different stakeholders involved. There are people who request the products, who design the products, and who purchase and fabricate the products. As a designer, it is important that I properly communicate with all of the people involved. Sometimes, this involves asking questions that I don’t even know exist; this can make it very difficult to receive proper information. If I don’t know what questions to ask, how can I ask them?


If I design something and it is not what someone else envisioned, am I to blame? What about the person who requested the product and when they received it, it looked completely different than what they saw in their mind? Or the person who designed it on paper when they quoted it? All of these people knew the product that was being ordered and saw different versions of it being designed. Does this make it wrong? Absolutely not. The best example of this is an optical illusion - is it a young woman looking away, or the face of an older woman? Everyone sees things differently.


Since the beginning of time, people have been communicating. When it isn’t with words, it is with gestures and body language. Now communication is becoming more popular through email and technology where we can receive important information that can be properly tracked. This makes it easier to blame others because now we have proof of communication (or lack of). However, if no one is wrong, how can you place blame?


In the end, the importance of an issue should not be blaming someone for a “mistake” or seeing something differently – it should be determining how to resolve these issues so they don’t happen again. The only way to minimize issues is by providing any and all information on a specific vision for a product. Fortis Mining, Engineering, and Manufacturing excels at providing custom products for many different aspects of mining, manufacturing, and industrial solutions. We are always striving to improve communication internally (between Fortis Employees and Employers) and externally (between Fortis and its Customers). If you have a design in mind, it can be achieved at Fortis Mining, Engineering, and Manufacturing.

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  • Saskatoon, SK S7K 5Z1
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