Quality Control

The Folbot crew is a dedicated bunch. Some have worked here for over 25 years. They care about the product, work hard to do a great job and are proud of the jobs they do.

In every order for a new kayak we include this sheet, which we hope reflects the care we have for our product and our customer.

We want to create the best folding kayak we can. We use patterns to help make sure every deck and its components are cut properly…

We use jigs to ensure that the frame parts are the right lengths and will fit together the right way…

We have special forms that make sure that the aircraft grade aluminum tubing for cross frames is bent at the right spot and that the bends are accurate…

We even have illustrated handbooks detailing how certain components are made…

But even with all that, sometimes things go wrong. Which is why we have a quality control meeting every week. During that meeting we randomly select a kayak to assemble from that week’s production.

Usually, everything goes together perfectly. In fact, the kayaks look so good that there are sometimes grumblings about why we have to interrupt the normal work day to take the time to assemble the kayak. But catching just one mistake makes it all worthwhile.

This past week we checked out a Citibot. Everything was looking good until we tried to zip up the deck. No go — it just wouldn’t zip up, which is not a good thing.

The team leaped into action. We took the skin off and tried again. It still didn’t work. We measured the deck — all was exactly as it should be. We turned the skin inside out to make sure that the stern end of the hull was sewn to the stern end of the deck — sure enough the hull was labeled “stern.” We checked the cross frames — all matched the jigs perfectly. Everything was exactly right… so what was wrong??

Step by step we went though what it takes to create a Folbot. And sure enough we finally nailed the reason why the zipper would not zip. It turned out that the deck was sewn backwards on the hull (stern end on the bow), but it was not a sewing problem. When the hull was cut the bow was accidentally labeled the stern — so when we initially checked that possibility, the labeling seemed correct.

A little while later, all was corrected and a beautiful Citibot was ready to ship.

A lot of effort goes in to making sure that our customers are happy. Mistakes happen — we try really hard to catch them before our customers do.

David A.

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6 thoughts on “Quality Control

  1. The QC meeting where my Folbot Cooper, Prince, was assembled was great to watch. It was wonderful to see my boat “come to life.”

    The first time I assembled Prince I ran into a problem – completely of my own making – knowing that it had been assembled once before, and would work, calmed me down so that I could back trace my steps to find the error.

    Thanks again for a fine, quality and FUN product

  2. I’m a firm believer in “random sampling”. It gives you a good indicator what is going on. You must have been quite surprised to find that a simple labeling could screw up a perfectly good watercraft that way. I bet that won’t happen again for a few years. Training is the key.
    Note that I have never found a factory problem in any of the five Folbots I have owned. Still own three, love em all.

  3. Not only will the person who cut the hulls never make that mistake again, we immediately instituted a check (by taking a specific measurement) at another point in the manufacturing to confirm the proper labeling of the cut hulls. It’s important to always learn from your mistakes.

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