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    « February 2008 | Main | April 2008 »

    March 06, 2008

    Quality Accountability

    In my previous post I talked about the impact quality was having on businesses.  A production manager recent told me they put incentives in place to reduce mistakes.  Employees were rewarded on a reduction in mistakes.  Something strange happened.  The mistakes increased.  Employees tried for a period of time to reduce the mistakes, but when they found they couldn't reduce the mistakes they lost their motivation.  The more upset management became with the mistakes the more the teams morale declined.  Obviously this was not the results they were looking for.

    When this company took a deep look at what was really happening, they found the root problems were with the process not the people.  The work orders were confusing.  Often customers were not providing a clear description of what they wanted, and there were not documented procedures for delivering the work.  Because there were no documented procedures the training of new employees was ad-hoc and inconsistent between shifts and between locations.  New employees learned through osmosis and trial and error.

    Before employees are held accountable to deliver quality work it must be made clear what the process is and who is held accountable for each step in the process.

    March 04, 2008

    Without Consistent Quality Nothing Else Matters

    I've been working with some customers to find new and different ways to measure their business.  Some would call this business intelligence.  With the right tools to gather information and right analytical methods interesting trends can be tracked and key performance indicators (KPI's) developed to measure the pulse of your business.  These analytical tools can help you make more informed decisions to become more profitable, competitive and to weather the storm of the changes affecting the industry.

    One thing that has caught me off guard is the impact that poor quality is having on reprographers businesses.  If you are loosing face with your customers because of poor quality there is nothing more important to measure.  This impacts your profitability.  It affects your ability to retain customers, and your ability to attract new customers.

    Advances in design technology are only increase the probability of errors.  To get out of this vicious cycle companies must document their workflows, set up systems to track errors, engage employees to find the root cause of the errors, and make adjustments to the workflow to ensure these errors are eliminated or minimized in the future.