Don’t Let Operator Issues Be An Excuse Not To Do Your Job!

Posted by on Dec 18, 2013 in Continuous Improvement, Customer Satisfaction, Problem Solving, Process Improvement | 0 comments

Method 1cI recently visited a client that is experiencing a number of quality issues both internally and externally with their customers.  A large portion of their manufacturing process relies on operators doing their job properly.  In reviewing their process, it was evident that operators were not handling material properly, not using process fixtures, and not following the methods they were taught.  The comments I heard were “We really have a lot of people problems in our plant!”  As we toured the plant no one stopped and corrected the operators or made any effort to get someone to show them how to do it properly.  It was if they had blinders on and were oblivious to what was happening around them.

The problem here is not a people issue, it’s a management issue!  Management owns the processes, systems, and they hire the people.  As managers, engineers, and supervisors it is our obligation to ensure people are following the process and using the correct methods to perform their tasks.  If they aren’t, we show them again or take the appropriate action.  By ignoring the problem and not saying anything, operators get the impression that what they are doing is ok and acceptable.

Not only should each situation be addressed immediately, but in addition process audits must be done frequently.  This will help ensure that the systems, methods, and best practices are being followed.  Process audits are a good control measure that can uncover problems that are not easily detected visually.

If you’re having quality issues or experiencing high scrap levels, take a walk through your facility and see how people are doing their jobs.  Ask the following questions, “Do we have a documented method?”  “Are employees following the method?”  “Is the method adequate for the task?”  “What do we tell people to do when something isn’t right?”  “Do we do process audits to ensure our operators know what to do and are doing it correctly?”

 

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