Evolving Quality Levels - Expectations for Lowered Defect Levels

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PaulJSmith

#1
I saw this come up in another discussion, and it seemed like it could support it's own discussion.

This is an issue many of us are facing today. Increasing quality expectations bring us to defect levels that are too low for reasonable sampling plans to detect and now we use 100% inspection and/or capturing failures on the line. The concept of an acceptable defect rate is becoming extinct. Unfortunately the processes that govern how we handle this have not kept up.
So, how are you keeping up with these ever tightening demands?
 
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bigqman

#2
I was struck by Bev's comment also. The answer: it depends!. I'm thinking of Juran's break-even chart which shows the intersection of sales increase (increase assumed), profits, and total costs. (And by the way you can see this chart on-line at ASQ - 7th edition of Handbook recently out - sample chapter page 8). Given sales and profits - are quality related costs acceptable with current sampling plan and resources AND do we know the customer's perceived level of satisfaction?
 

Golfman25

Trusted Information Resource
#3
It's a challenge. Many processes aren't designed to get 100% perfection. The cost to get that last little bit, 95 to 100, is exponential. You need to pick you process in line with the capabilities you require, or can afford.
 
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PaulJSmith

#4
I agree, Golfman25 ... when it's your company's decision. But, what about when it's customer driven?
 

normzone

Trusted Information Resource
#5
It's a challenge. Many processes aren't designed to get 100% perfection. The cost to get that last little bit, 95 to 100, is exponential. You need to pick you process in line with the capabilities you require, or can afford.
My wife manages in a retail situation where the business model consists of giving away a significant volume of the product as free samples, and the resources plan is maintain a skeleton staff year round and staff up with seasonal minions through the holiday season - I'll let you name the organization. Clue: Warren Buffet thought that the model works so well he bought the place.

She gets frustrated with the level of efficiency, which is further impeded by corporate policies and practices. I have to remind her not to stress out over that - the model is designed to be adequately profitable with a lot of slop in the system, and Warren is happy with it.

:popcorn:
 

Golfman25

Trusted Information Resource
#7
I agree, Golfman25 ... when it's your company's decision. But, what about when it's customer driven?
That's the problem. Many are clueless when it comes to processes. So they pick the least expensive process and then complain about "defects." Customers need to know what they are buying. You need to manage expectations.

I have a customer who gave new parts for a large OEM. "Zero defects" and cpk is the mantra. We took a look and told them they where crazy. They made a few changes and went with the cheap guy down the street. A few years later, they came back and paid up for tooling with a lot of "just in case" designed into it. So that's all fine and dandy. But all of the sudden we got a lot of "rejections." One or two pcs. at a time for dings and dents. After a few years of this, we find out the parts are being sent out for additional processing and sometimes the boxes are damaged during shipping. Well duh. It isn't us. At the end of the day, even without the damaged boxes the part is too thin to withstand the shipping process -- its a design issue. We still get the "rejections."
 

RoxaneB

Change Agent and Data Storyteller
Super Moderator
#8
When it's customer-driven, I wish I could say it was a simple as firing the customer. :cool: Now that I'm in a not-for-profit healthcare organization with one key funder for the bulk of our business, we do not have the luxury of distancing ourselves from their business.

What we can do is attempt to educate them on the lack of alignment between their targets and the amount of business that comes our way.

For example, we have a contractual target of 0.05% for a particular aspect of our business, Missed Care. This is essential when we agree to do the visit in the Client's home, however we fail to arrive to provide care - with some exceptions - and fail to reschedule the visit per the service plan. I'd share the exact definition with you, but it would make many of you go cross-eyed. :bonk:

Now some of our market areas are low in volume while being large in geographic coverage, yet the target is the same across the board. If this area has 300 scheduled visits per week, we are allowed to miss 0.15 visit...essentially 0. No one is allowed to get sick or have a car breakdown or get lost. No one is allowed to be...well...human. These low volume, large geography areas also pose a struggle in finding qualified and competent staff (especially as hospitals pay better and have better working conditions than working out in the community).

When we receiving a nonconformance regarding failure to meet the contractual target, there are often things we can do on our end, but part of our response includes re-communicating the concerns with the mandated target.

We have not lost business...they give us the nonconformance, we address it to the best of our ability, the eventually close it and the cycle repeats. They'd be able to do their job more effectively if they would understand the merits of capacity and capability and smart statistics, but until then... :frust:
 
P

PaulJSmith

#9
We have not lost business...they give us the nonconformance, we address it to the best of our ability, the eventually close it and the cycle repeats. They'd be able to do their job more effectively if they would understand the merits of capacity and capability and smart statistics, but until then... :frust:
Wow. :nope: The very definition of "going through the motions" right there. It is regrettable that you have to deal with that. Nothing will ever get fixed as long as bureaucrats are only interested in making sure the paperwork is complete. Definitely a good example of unrealistic expectations.
 

Mike S.

Happy to be Alive
Trusted Information Resource
#10
99.8% has been the required quality target for our biggest customer for years. Below that, you get lots of “help” from the customer and less new business. It is darn hard to meet, and it has taken lots of different tools for us to get there.

Part of the answer is forming good relationships with the customer’s QE’s that I have to deal with. With targets like this, every little bit helps, and if you are able to form a good relationship and are proven to be an honest and trustworthy person, sometimes you get the benefit of the doubt when the cause is in that grey area between “their fault” or “our fault” or “purge stock” or “no need”.

Also, just like your sampling plan, the customer will usually not detect every nonconforming part. If it is something minor like the flange on a part is .003” OOT but it still fits when the mechanic grabs the part to bolt it on, no one knows. Does that mean you can or should “slip in” those bad parts and try to sneek them past your customer? No! But in reality, no matter what way you measure quality, you are not likely catching every defect, and neither are the customers. What you measure is best-case.

And of course it takes good old fashioned, best-effort based on what you can afford to do and still stay in business, QA and QC practices. Take PA and CA seriously. Hire good people. Treat them well. Walk the talk.
 
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