I was talking with an auditor recently who had visited an organisation which did not hold process quality control as a primary concern, saying they had too many other things to worry about. When asked how much mistakes cost, the answer was ‘not a lot’. The auditor wanted to see if they could get the customer to re-evaluate their position.
They asked about a recent shipment of product, which was shipped to a customer but manufactured out of specification. The auditor was told it was only the cost of the material and freight charges that would be affected. What the customer failed to recognise was the labour charges for the original product, the cost of returning the product, remaking new items and shipping them again. In reality, these are not really the true costs.
Apart from the normal issues of the re-work costs for the labour and materials, the machines being used could not then make other profitable work. Assuming for a moment that the product costed £100 and the profit on top was £20 per unit and freight costs were £10 per unit , they would have to sell at least a further 7.5 units just to pay for the earlier mistake.
When put this way, the firm then looked at setting up a formal process quality control and inspection process.
I often hear that you need process to fulfil regulatory requirements such as ISO 9001/14001/18001 etc, but in truth process helps you run your business more consistently and effectively. Anyone that says process is just a tick in the auditor’s box is missing a real opportunity to get a hold of their business.
There is no real rocket science to process mapping, other than to pick a methodology, stick to it and make your processes useful, usable and ensure that they will be used.
Learning How to Perform Process Quality Control
It is easy to get lost in the day-to-day of organisational management, but if quality is not front and center in an organisation's values than it's easy to miss just how much time and money you are wasting on ineffective production techniques and a lack of quality control...not to mention the price of gaining a bad reputation.
The best way to begin developing a blueprint for successful process improvement is to read case studies from other companies that have been through the same struggles with inefficiency and problems implementing business process improvement.
In the'Problem to Improvement' e-book, we take a look at 7 customers who implemented a continual improvement framework successfully and how they got there.
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