Tag Archive: quality issue prevention

The Importance of What is NOT Happening

April 27th, 2015

supply chainQuality must be an assumption. The problem with assumptions such as service and quality is that people lose focus because there is little conversation about the topics when “all is well”. People are typically not rewarded for things that don’t happen. For example, if there is a crisis, people are rewarded for resolving the crisis and working long hours to work through the situation; however, if they avoid the crisis altogether, it might go unnoticed. Worse, they might get push back on working on the topic at all because it hasn’t proven to be an issue! As leaders, we must appreciate what is NOT happening.

It is not magic or luck. In working with clients of many industries and sizes, it is apparent that “working smart” is what avoids crises. And, most of these crises are well worth avoiding! I was just talking with one of my clients about this topic. They have done an impressive job and are in great shape from many perspectives – well ahead of their competition actually – however, they will not thrive if they continue to be plagued by quality issues. We must build quality, service, safety and these types of fundamentals into the culture as critical norms!

One tip to implement this week:

The first step in noticing what hasn’t occurred is to take a step back and observe. What is going on around you? Do you know why people are doing what they are doing? If not, ASK. You might find out it is to avoid a major pitfall. Showing interest is one way to ensure it becomes an assumption. Another idea is to make sure you are capturing the “right” metrics ­– which numbers are important to your business and results? Watch these trends carefully. You’ll be reminded of the importance even if the trend is continually “good”. Go talk with the team making that happen!

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Quality Tips for Manufacturers

September 11th, 2014
ensure quality

Manufacturers can no longer count on customer loyalty but they can expect customers’ continued demands for quality products and service.

Quality has seemingly fallen out of favor in terms of the number of articles and attention in industry circles; however, it remains a bedrock principle for customer service and profitability (and has arisen frequently in the negative aspect re: product quality from China manufacturers, etc.), so I thought I’d resurrect the topic and provide a few Quality Tips:

1. Focus on the customer – quality should exclusively relate to what the customer sees as quality (and what is valued by the customer in the expectation of pricing). It doesn’t matter what Manufacturing or anyone else thinks; the customer’s perception matters.

2. Focus on prevention vs. detection – There tends to be immense pressure when a quality issue arises, so it is easy to run down the path towards too much detection vs. prevention (as I learned by beginning to run down this path before my Director of Quality stopped me). Instead, take a step back and look at the big picture of how to build prevention into the process instead of making quality a separate element of the process.

3. Metrics – track your key metrics such as customer complaints and parts per million. Reviewing these trends can be enlightening and it will provide important data for decision-making.

4. Cost of quality – put some effort into understanding your cost of quality. It doesn’t have to be complex; however, understanding the cost of quality in combination with what customers’ value can provide critical information for eliminating waste and meeting/exceeding customer expectations.

5. Statistical process control – there is value in building appropriate levels of statistical process control into your quality systems. Do not go overboard; however, it is wise to do what will provide you with valuable decision-making data.

Did you like this article? Continue reading on this topic:

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Supply Chain Strategy – Formula for Success