Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Point Kaizen #2 Designated Deadline

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!

1 comment:

Mark Graban said...

Of that 30 day response time, how much of that would be "value added" anyway? I bet it would be almost all "queue" time. Get rid of the backlog of items that need responding to, then I bet the response time could easily be a day or 3 days.