As explained in Point Kaizen, a process improvement can be accomplished by one person quickly (usually within 1 day). This past week we had a material issue with our metal supplier, rejecting steel coils for nonconformance to standard.
After our Purchasing Manager made a phone call to our supplier, I formally sent them a Supplier Corrective Action Request (SCAR) per our quality procedures. When completing the form I noticed that it contained a deadline for returning it. The designated deadline for the SCAR was "to be returned in 30 days from issue date".
Here we have a material problem needing immediate correction yet our formal document states a 30 day wait to provide corrective action is OK. What mixed messages are we sending out? What "sense of urgency" is conveyed? This designated deadline created a 30 day muda.
Before sending the SCAR out, I changed the completion deadline on the form to "ASAP". Simple, urgent and to the point. For all future SCARs, we expect a quick response. (The form was officially changed in one afternoon).
Some of you may think that "ASAP" is not exact enough of a deadline (for example, making it 3 days would be better). Maybe not, by saying ASAP we expect quick action so it does not sit on a desk waiting for the deadline date for even 1 day. Remember - Sense of Urgency, then follow up!