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Is 'Operator Error' as Root Cause ever acceptable?

U

Umang Vidyarthi

Epicurus notwithstanding, there are limits, mainly fiscal ones. A technology (or idea) may exist that will prevent all mistakes and defects in a given process, but be too expensive to invoke. We still have to make money. This isn't to say that we shouldn't be on the lookout and be open to new ideas, but facts is facts.
Dear Jim,

Please permit me to disagree with your views on limitations. Imagination can do miracles. Did you get a chance to see the thread "Sixth Sense Device"? Pranav Mistry has come out with the 'Invention of the Century'!! He permitted a free flow of imagination and persistently worked on his idea and vow! with his invention we will totally change (for the better) the way we work today!

2. I smell your obsession with the notion, that 'Error-proofing' is always expensive (with due appology, if my assumption is wrong). In another thread also we have exchanged views on the subject, and I re-iterate, that one has to select a cost effective poke-a-yoke from the wide range of available options. The range widens, if you let your imagination flow without restriction.

Another important point is, how you compare the cost-of-poor quality/rejections/rework etcetra vis-a-vis the cost of error-proofing. Let me quote a recent example from my factory. One component 'X', for export has nine operations. Inadvertantly, one minor operation was missed and 75000 pcs were packed, and sent to the ship-yard. As a policy matter we always retain a few samples from every sent lot, and one sharp fellow chanced upon to check the samples, and noticed the missing operation. Immediately we asked the lot to be quarentined and brought backed to the factory, reworked, re-packed and re-sent to the ship-yard for export. I leave it to you to imagine the huge cost we have suffered due to one small mistake.

We immediately brainstormed to come up with the ideal (and cost effective) error-proofing. A couple of days ago we installed nine fixtures with sensors & dial gauges on the last machine. The operator has to pass the finished component through all the nine and the machine will not start untill nine green indicators flash on the panel. Besides error proofing, this also saves inspection time.

Hope this clarifies the reasons, as to why I strongly advocate for error-proofing.

Umang :D
 

Helmut Jilling

Auditor / Consultant
...and I really do not understand, how, this type of defect occurs once of eight million pieces and to decide to spend 40.000 euro to eliminate them…


I believe that sometimes must be use the "common sense", or I'm wrong in thinking this…
Marin
Yes, common sense should absolutely be considered as well. But there is a common expression in English..."Common Sense is uncommon..." meaning many people do not use common sense.
 

Helmut Jilling

Auditor / Consultant
...We immediately brainstormed to come up with the ideal (and cost effective) error-proofing. A couple of days ago we installed nine fixtures with sensors & dial gauges on the last machine. The operator has to pass the finished component through all the nine and the machine will not start untill nine green indicators flash on the panel. Besides error proofing, this also saves inspection time.

Hope this clarifies the reasons, as to why I strongly advocate for error-proofing.

Umang :D
I also am a big proponent of error-proofing. However, there must be a cost-benefit evaluation. In your example, obviously, the benefit was percieved to be worth the cost. It is as simple as that.
 
U

Umang Vidyarthi

Yes, common sense should absolutely be considered as well. But there is a common expression in English...[I]"Common Sense is uncommon..." [/I]meaning many people do not use common sense.
It is the famous quote by Mark Twain:'Unfortunately common sense is the least common of all the senses'.
I also am a big proponent of error-proofing. However, there must be a cost-benefit evaluation. In your example, obviously, the benefit was percieved to be worth the cost. It is as simple as that.
Yep, this goes without saying.

Umang :D
 
R

Romanel

My eldest son and his wife are in Japan for more than a decade, so I learn a lot about japanese work culture, their ethics and virtues. My additional source of information are the books on their management and systems.(BTW in stead of ISO, they have their own QMS)



It is really great that the 'feel' is from your heart. This is the major difference which seperates Japanese work culture from the rest. Whatever they do is with a 'feel' inside, nothing cosmetic. Many companies try to copy their methods but miserably fail, because they lack the 'feel' and devotion towads the system.



There is nothing wrong with the friendly gesture towards colleagues, as long as it does not turn you soft and effect your decision making. MBWA (Management by walking around) is considered a very good practice.



Do not have to feel sorry Romanel, it is perfectly allright to vent your feelings, this separates humans from robots. Besides, whatever you have said is very much a part of the technical argument.

Umang :D
Thanks Umang,

I appreciate very much what you said in your message

Thanks again
Romanel :)
 

Helmut Jilling

Auditor / Consultant
Is not error-proofing costly?
Not always. Sometimes error-proofing can be done with almost no cost. Sometimes it has a cost, but the error would cost more, so the cost of preventing may still be worth it. And, sometimes there is a significant cost, and management must decide if it is justifiable. If not, then an alternate solution must be found.
 
J

Jjoed

Laura- is correct operator error is way to vague. What caused the error? was the operator trained in the proper use of the equipement? Was the operator aware of the problem? Has this happend before to any other operators or is it isolated to this one.
 
R

Romanel

Welcome to the Cove. :D The question should be "Is error-proofing cost-effective?" If it is, do it. If it's not, don't.
Hi Jim,

is what I told my management - it is worth the cost? (I'm talking about one missing label over 8 million units sold).

Whether we will produce enough to recoup the cost as soon as possible, then it will be done, and in my case (missing label) part of the cost of the new automatic system label application will be recovered by increasing the cost of the transformer.
The customer has been informed of this and is apparently in agreement, so, I can say that this problem is almost solved.

Romanel
 
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