Don’t Skip the Good Stuff Part 4

            Let’s jump to the next page and Figure 1, don’t worry, we’re not skipping the good stuff, just getting a visual. We need to talk about how to obtain results of a process performance and effectiveness.

            We have to start with the customer requirements. Not just the in-house print but the specifications, prints and input of the customer. We need to know how they are using our product and what the method of installation is.

            The example of the reversed angle explains how the transfer of information from one document form to another can be a problem, but we also need to understand how the customer is installing the product.

            I remember being called to an automotive company to explain our excessive defect rate on a part. both shifts were reporting huge problems. The threats were long and loud. Until I pointed out that the two different shifts were installing the part in very different ways. In one case the nut had to be run almost completely down. In the other it needed to be so close to the tip of the bolt as to be in danger of falling off. Our specification from the customer was to have the nut run on “no less than 8 mm”. Of the 100 “defective” parts they had tossed on the table all 100 were at 8 mm. We than helped them do a study to find out which method of installation was most effective for their process. We left the retraining of the shifts to them.

            We could have left the customer embarrassed at their actions and gone away slapping ourselves on the back and talking about how smart we were. However, the problem was not solved and would have come back sooner or later. We would have ended up with a reputation as a poor quality supplier even though we were not at fault.

            Many times the customer’s requirements are not what they have written down. It is very possible the customer doesn’t even know what they require. When you are sure you are meeting the communicated customer requirements and they are having problems with your parts it is time to go find out how the parts are being used.

            This is the two bars in the figure labeled customers “requirements” and “satisfaction”. The circle directly relates to the standard. The continual improvement bar is for next time.

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