Non-conformance tools and problem solving - Customer complaints

A

achorste

#1
Eh up all,

We currently get an unfortunately large number of customer complaints and one of the concerns the management have is that production don't take ownership of the the issues we are facing (ranging from dimensional, metallurgical and documentation issues).:applause:

Currently all the investigation is done by the quality department (myself included) mainly using the 8D, 5Y and Ishikawa diagram tools. Because it is the quality dept that do all the investigation, customer returns / complaints are seen as "Quality's Problem" :mad: and we get little help from production.

The idea is for the various production departments to investigate the issues for their own areas and feed this back through the quality department to the customer. A nice idea, however we have concerns that the production departments will not complete this adequately using our current methods, or will plump for the easy options, which will result in us going back & forth chasing further investigation and generally pratting about whilst not immediately solving the problem. It will take a lot of training & coaxing to get them to the standard that is required. (I'm not saying it won't be done - just that it's difficult).

Anyhoo - after all that pre-amble - my question is - Does anyone have any problem solving approaches apart from 8D, 5Y, Ishikawa etc that could be adapted for 'non-quality orientated' personnel to ensure they reach true root cause & systemic corrective actions?

Many thanks for any ideas you could give.....
 
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Jen Kirley

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#2
Re: Non-conformance tools - customer complaints

You are in good company!

These same challenges are everywhere. The fact is, people don't spring from the egg knowing how to use these quality tools - the tools can look very intimidating and burdensome.

But the object is to make more money by making fewer mistakes, and everyone benefits from that. If they don't, top management must be your first target: people need to have some part of the benefit when they make this extra effort to lift the system's effectiveness onto their shoulders. Money gained could be distributed as a year-end bonus, all or part of it. If you don't measure quality costs now, The Cove has quality cost calculators (check the Post Attachments, green button in the header) that can help pin down the value of gains.

Once top management commits to an incentive, and I hope they do, your people will need training. Right now I am working on a training module for problem solving, but it's a ways off from completion. I can tell you, however, that it is based on the Problem Solving Memory Jogger - that unintimidating pocket-sized book that gets right to the chase and demystifies the Seven Management Tools. (I am not affiliated with Goal PQC or Amazon.com)

You could start by forming a team to go through a problem solving process instead of doing it yourself. Use the little book to guide the process, make some forms/tools if The Cove's Attachments database doesn't include them, and facilitate the process. I say this because even a class or slide show isn't the solution. People need to practice this skill to really learn it, and adults tend to prefer learning about something we know we need...and we learn more when we are learning in the preferred way.

So this evolution, if you choose to take it on (in the beginning it promises to be even more effort on your part than just doing it yourself) really is going to become evolution. Your employees are going to be expected to take on new roles, stand taller, and top management will be expected to support them. Growth isn't easy, but get the right players for the first round and spreading the effort will be easier than just picking a random bunch or a group of sourheads.

I hope this helps!
 
D

David DeLong

#3
Re: Non-conformance tools - customer complaints

The only way that the Corrective Actions will be taken seriously by the departments responsible is to change your culture in the plant and that is most difficult.

Each responsible department must be a cost centre and is responsible for non-conforming product coming to their respective department. This includes all internal as well as external nonconformities. A Qualty Cost system MUST be developed for your plant.

The Quality department is a service sector supporting each department but not taking responsibility of quality only reflecting it to the offending department. Once a customer complaint is received, the Quality department must discuss this with the respective department head to come up with an interim solution such as sorting at the Customer's plant, etc.

Complaint investigation is a responsibility of the offending department with assistance from service sectors such as Quality or Processing Engineering. All improvements to the process are only suggested by the service sectors and it is the respective department head that approves and is responsible for the improvement implementation.

This concept MUST be mandated by the CEO of the company. It will not happen if it does not get the CEO's blessing.

I was very involved as a Quality consultant for many years and would not even think of developing an Inspection system in a company. I would discuss this concept with the CEO and had to have his/her approval to begin implementing it. Does it work? Absolutely, but it was not easy.

I always remember after the implementation in a plant, the stamping Manager would not even talk to me. He was that p*ssed. Eventually, he came around and then said it was the only system to have in manufacturing. This individual certainly watched the quality costs of poor quality coming from the stamping operation after implementing this system. He was concerned.

Good Luck!!!
 
M

MIREGMGR

#4
How does top management "score" the top production manager?

If it's by units cranked out irrespective of whether they go to scrap or rework or are delivered to the customer and then come back, and/or create more work for the Sales Department in smoothing over damage to customer relationships caused by late deliveries, low acceptability, customer production disruptions, rejects and recalls, etc.--there's your problem.

If on the other hand the top production manager is scored according to units delivered and customer-quality-accepted, and no problems or complaints at the customer end...well, then Quality is suddenly the production manager's best friend. :D
 
T

Tom W

#5
Good comments by all and I will echo some of them. You should look at the AIAG guidebook CQI-10 - Effective Problem Solving. This guide is different than most problem solving books; most just give you the tools, tell you how to use them, then say go do it. CQI-10 talks first about changing the culture.

We had a culture of many problem identifiers but only a few problem solvers. What you need is to make more people feel like problem solvers. Production is instinctively reluctant to solving what they perceive as quality problems. They fill out the form that they need to and POOF they are done....let quality fix it. They key is to involve them on the root cause and the solution. It will take time but you have to ease them off the old culture and on to the new one. You can’t just demand it and try to force it because it will go bad. Work with them to educate them to the costs, time and effort it takes to fix the issues; most of these they might have control over. Once they feel the pain and see the effort then they will take a more proactive role in prevention; but only if they learn what is at stake.

Lessons learned are valuable but only if you really learn something; when an operator makes a mistake and they are not involved in the root cause or the solution what have they really learned? They learned how to make the mistake… but not how to prevent it or to solve it. Changing the culture is very difficult if the quality department has been the fix all for a long time; its important to make sure that its seen as a team approach. Most people want to participate and feel like they make a difference, one of the biggest ways is to recognize them once they do join in and solve problems. Motivation to be a problem solver…
 
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