What are some of the most effective tools that you have used to prevent repeatable defects in a manufacturing plant?

blog_production-quality

A Quality, Safety and CIP  Manager asked, “What are some of the most effective tools that you have used to prevent repeatable defects in a manufacturing plant? We are trying to improve our FPY but continue with inconsistent results.” Scott’s and my response was:

Great leaps in quality come when you can characterize the process and understand what key factors lead to successful quality outcomes. It’s all about the process.
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Innovation can be mapped to any culture

Innovation can happen anywhere

I just read a blog by Pearl Zhu at at her blog . She says

Maintaining a culture of innovation in an ongoing and sustainable way requires: Openness because innovation comes from a combination of need and culture of being open to new things; and Playfulness  because innovation comes from the environment in which thinking & experimenting is stimulated, and Adaptability because innovation is the collective capability to adapt to changes and Adaptability is key; and Flexibility because healthy process for innovation goes between flexibility and hard process; and finally, Agility because innovation efforts work best when focused through fast, rapid cycles to shape and test solutions.

Here is my response to this list:

I like what Ms. Zhu says about “innovation involves the collective capability to adapt to changes – adaptability is key.” The ability to continuously assess the situation is vital. Persistence, resilience, courage: these are all important characteristics. Also, cross-pollination is critical.

But I have to argue quite strenuously with several ideas.
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How do you balance quality and profitability?

zen rocks balanced and harmonious

Recently a continuous improvement professional asked, “How do you balance quality and profitability? If you maximize one, do you trade off the other?” My answer was:

My partner and I just finished writing a book on  safety, quality and productivity in the construction industry from an inventive point-of-view. What we found was really amazing. In the fewest possible words here’s the bottom line. Where ever you have a safety issue (or quality issue) you also have a hidden productivity issue. Solve for safety (and/or quality) and productivity efficiencies usually come along for free.
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How to handle situations when employees resist to improve a process

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Recently a Quality Analyst asked what method or tool could she use during a team project to handle resistance to change. “Some team members will oppose the changes and some will embrace the changes. How to can you get those oppose on board?” She asked.

There were some thoughtful, powerful, and insightful responses. My answer was as follows:

First: It sounds like you know there is going to be resistance and who those people will be. That means you have not solved the whole problem yet. Put in a little more time, find out why they won’t like the change and incorporate that important information into the final solution. Resistance is vital information
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Structured Innovation – Inventiveness as a methodology

fantasy representation of enzyme in channel

A computer has invented! And it wasn’t just blindly following an algorithm. As I understand it, a computer called “Adam”* was programmed to carry out the entire scientific innovation process on its own. It formulated hypotheses. It designed and ran experiments. It analyzed the resulting data and then decided which experiments to run next. The computer incorporates artificial intelligence. This robotic system made a novel scientific discovery with virtually no human intellectual input (2009) and can utilize the scientific method.

Most of us who are serial inventors go through the innovation process so quickly, it seems like a single stroke of brilliance (I say with a modest tuck of my chin). But in fact, if we break down what is happening, there is a step-by-step process and this process has been studied for over 60 years.
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Serial Innovators – what type of person are they?

Rear Admiral "Amazing" Grace Hopper

Contrary to popular belief, genius innovators are not one particular type of personality. If you want a clear example of this, compare Thomas Alva Edison and Nickola Tesla!  In fact, innovative people come in all personality types. And I’ll even go one step further.

Innovation can happen within any environment. You don’t need to have a specific type of culture, space, support, management, local, proximity to, or anything outside of yourself to invent repeatedly.
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Other Good Answers to the Quality Question

blog_Quality and CPI

Once again, the question Christopher posed on LinkedIn was: When does continual improvement actually begin?

A woman named, Uttia, said the following and I thought her answer was good:

First you need a process. Then you determine what you need to achieve in that process, then you need to set objectives in that process to achieve that. Then you need to set your objective and a proposed course of action to achieve that objective.
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