Control Systems to Feedback Loops

Overheard at the water cooler: “I am sick and tired of Al coming in every morning and chewing our butts out for something we did yesterday. Where was he yesterday? Now, when he finds a problem, we have take unit out of the staging area and move it back into production. That stops everything. And there is never enough room because we have units doubling up waiting for the rework to be done. Starting tomorrow, we are going to pile up the units in the staging area so he can’t do the inspections. That way he won’t find the problems and we won’t have to pull the defective units back into production. That will fix him.”

Scary, eh?

Here’s the thing. Al was making his inspections based on a checklist. We simply made a change by giving a copy of that checklist to the floor supervisor who inspects the unit before it moves to the staging area. We went one step further and distributed sections of the checklist to each work station so inspection can be completed before each piece is moved to the next workstation.

Now, Al still comes out and inspects in the staging area, but he has found zero defects in the past three weeks. The quality program has changed from a delayed control system (done one day after production) to a real-time feedback loop where corrections can be made immediately. -TF

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