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Corrective Action for Profit Growth - Do you truly solve operating problems or are you just spending money on band-aids?

Posted by admin on March 28, 2012

Corrective Action for Profit Growth - Do you truly solve operating problems or are you just spending money on band-aids?

"Things will get better--despite our efforts to improve them."  Will Rogers

Are you willing to chance it?  Waiting and hoping may have been the way humorist Will Rogers viewed the world, but today you can't afford to wait and see if things will turn out for the best.  If you do, it's likely that profits will evaporate, market share will erode, goodwill of customers will be destroyed and you'll have two chances of remaining in business--slim and none.

There is nothing new about the need to quickly and correctly resolve problems.  But what sets great companies apart from the herd (to use another of Rogers' favorite analogies) is their ability to resolve problems faster the first time and take actions to prevent recurrence, a must to stay in business.

It is still all about cause and effect.   When problems occur we take actions, either against the problem symptoms/effects or against the cause of the problem.  Unfortunately, out of expediency, too many are interim actions: temporary fixes or ban-aids are taken to live with the effects of the problem, such as installing a new drip pan to keep oil from running onto the shop floor or putting in a work-around to correct errors in a processing system.

Adaptive actions are even more insidious.  These "temporary" fixes too often become permanent solutions.  Typically, new processes or systems are implemented that do not work any better; new parts are continuously installed, driving up maintenance costs; or a new product is offered to customers replacing bad quality with more bad quality.  By the time someone gets around to asking "why are we doing this?" the causal facts of the original problem are so muddled that no one knows the real story.  Every temporary solution or fix adds more variation to a process that, as Dr. Demming reminds us, is already "fraught with variation."

It does not have to be this way.   Obviously, fixing a problem right the first time is the goal.  We're not talking about a massive Six Sigma project designed to produce dramatic improvements in process capability.  Skills for daily problem solving by individuals and problem-solving teams is the need.  But if the right problem symptom information is not being collected in a timely and consistent manner, it is nearly impossible to determine what to do next.  Relying on historical knowledge which resides in the memory banks of a few long-term employees is OK, until they are no longer there.  What is needed is a set of time-proven trouble shooting questions to get information needed to find cause, take corrective action and prevent recurrence.

Correct action for profit growth.  A serious quality, machine, process or customer problem  can cost millions of dollars to your operation.  That does not translate into success in today's economy.  Fixing problems right the first time contributes directly to your bottom line by getting product out the door on time and keeping customers happy; by keeping wear and tear to a minimum; and keeping employees satisfied and productive.

We can show you how to give your employees the skills they need and create a problem-solving system that will outlast the institutional memory of your best employee so you can put money in the bank, instead of spending it on band-aids.