A fireside story from my wheelbuilding career:

A customer brought in a brand new set of wheels. He purchased them online, a nice deal, but they arrived with insufficient spoke tension including one slack spoke. He didn’t feel safe riding them, which was the right instinct. The job was simple — finishing an incomplete wheelbuild. I provided before-and-after tension graphs and the online seller sheepishly reimbursed the customer.

What changes for your shop when you become a team of wheelbuilders? Does quality depend on who pulls the ticket? Do you talk about quality out loud? Write it down? Do you enforce quality standards? How do you keep quality high when there are changes in the team?

Leadership can influence quality and consistency, which has a lot to do with setting standards. It helps if shop standards are reasonable. It works best if they’re measurable. If validating wheels to shop standards is fast and frictionless, staff wheelbuilders are likely to co-operate.

Wheel Analytics can help. Decide what constitutes a properly true wheel in your shop. Configure it in Wheel Analytics and your benchmark will be visible to staff as they work. The line between in-progress and complete is clearly defined. Tension too — for the low price of visiting each spoke with a connected tensiometer, Wheel Analytics calculates average tension and tension variance. Use this information to prevent spoke breakage from undertension, rim damage from overtension and re-truing comebacks from unbalanced tension.

It’s just as likely you have the opposite problem since most wheels can be made better with more effort. Some team members need to be told when to stop and defining standards puts a ceiling on how much to invest in one wheel. The solution is the same as before — consider standards ahead of time and measure progress. Move to the next ticket efficiently without second guessing.