Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Inspection is never a Root Cause

As I wrap up my monthly quality reports for corporate, I had the opportunity to review a quality report from another division. Everything looked in good order except for one section.

In this section, the quality report listed two units found with defects in their finished goods audit. The resulting corrective action was to show the defects to the inspectors and they were "told to be on the lookout". No other actions were listed.

Statistically, I estimate the probability that these defects will be found again in a future audit or found by the customer is 100%. I agree that training and quality awareness are important. However, this action does not solve the problem. The root cause of any defect is never the inspection process.

To improve your process, look for the root causes that created the defects in the first place. Focus efforts on preventing the problem, not improving your ability to catch the problems through inspection.


Anonymous said...

Writing reports doesn't really fix quality either, does it?

Mike Wroblewski said...

Correctly pointed out and noted. Reports do not fix things and I also could include meetings, emails, blogs, books, seminars, consultants, etc. However, add action to any of these items and you CAN make improvements.

Internet Marketing Tips said...

That is funny! We just recently hired a Quality Manager, and all his known action for defects was to post a "Quality Alert" at the inspection tables.

Very nice blog!

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