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

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.

Do you understand your process? Is is stable and in control? All of these activities you have named are tools (final inspections, TQC’s and checklists) but what is the process? Do you have control of the key factors. Do you know what key activators are creating your defects? When you can answer these questions you will be on your way to predicting your defects – and then eliminating them.

If your process is already stable and in control then you need a person with a Lean Six Sigma background to help you characterize the process. If your process is not stable and in control then you need to start with Lean and standardize the process first.

And then, if you really want to blow defects out of the water you can use Structured Innovation in conjunction to Lean Six Sigma and jump to a whole new level of productivity, quality, and process improvement.

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