Defects Create More Waste Than Meets The Eye!

Posted by on Apr 29, 2019 in Continuous Improvement, Customer Satisfaction, Lean Six Sigma, Problem Solving, Product Quality | 0 comments

Defects, mistakes, and errors are a major source of frustration for customers and cause them to look for other providers for the products and services they purchase.  But in addition to customer dissatisfaction, these defects, mistakes, and errors create waste that suck up our precious resources of time and money.  Employees are forced to rework and repair products and provide services all over again.  It’s been estimated (and a good rule of thumb) that the true cost of defects, errors, and mistakes is at least a factor of ten when you take account of the following:

  • Additional material required to correct the defects
  • All the time it takes reworking or repairing the product and the effort it takes
  • Procuring and scheduling materials
  • Time and setup for equipment
  • Additional transportation and handling
  • Increased lead times and the affect on on-time-delivery (OTD)
  • Time to sort products
  • All the additional paperwork, training, special tools, etc. to facilitate the repair or rework
  • Problem solving time required to determine the root cause of the problem and correct it

Causes of Defects, Mistakes, and Errors

Defects, mistakes, and errors are created by a variety of situations:

  • Insufficient training
  • Inadequate communication
  • Inexperience
  • Incapable processes
  • Incapable suppliers
  • Employee error
  • Transportation and handling damage
  • Poor design

How to Prevent Defects, Mistakes, and Errors

There are many tools and techniques that can be used to prevent defects, mistakes, and errors.  Some of the more common ones are:

  • Error / Mistake proofing to prevent the problem or alert the employee when the problem occurs.
  • Use of standard work and SOPs.  Document exactly what an employee must do and the order in which to do it.
  • Use of checklists to ensure important tasks are not overlooked (think of the checklist used by pilots prior to take-off!).
  • Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) can be used to reduce the risk of potential failure modes in both design and process.
  • Layered Process Audits where employees are audited to ensure they are performing the work correctly.

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