Quality tool books are full of terms, acronyms and charts that can make a non-quality professional faint of heart (some quality professionals as well). Here is how to change the “policing” perception to one of “a-gift” giver to your bottom line.


A ccept
G ather
I mplement
F ollow-up
T 3 (track, transfer and train).

ACCEPTANCE. When presented a gift, one has to be willing to accept that gift. Quality is no different. The first step towards improvement is the desire to improve. Business units must accept that there exists poorly performing processes, missed deliveries, customer apathy and dissatisfaction, etc. Acceptance requires a commitment to the core quality principles of proactive solutions, continuous improvement, customer first, design for manufacturability/assembly, delivery and teamwork, teamwork, and more teamwork by each business unit of an organization.

GATHER data, gain understanding. Beyond acceptance, the next step is to gather reliable data. Performance metrics, results of prior F/A’s, yield analysis reports, equipment capability studies, personnel skill reports, and competitive analysis data are but a few sources of information. The goal is to determine where targeted improvement projects can be implemented and where “hidden strengths” lie waiting undiscovered.

IMPLEMENT. Upon identification of target improvement projects, form cross-functional teams capable of solving issues that may surface as the project matures. FMEA’s can be used to identify roadblocks and select appropriate team members. Brief the team on the specific area targeted for improvement. Data gathered in the previous stage not only provides areas to select for improvement but also the necessary historical data. This data should provide the team with information on the strengths and weaknesses of man, machine, or method. Use the various QA tools, experts or models that are at your disposal.

FOLLOW-UP. Monitoring, reviewing and summarizing data while continuing to perform regular work schedules can seem overwhelming. Don’t become discouraged. In the near future, successful improvement efforts should reduce unscheduled work and down time. While positive solutions are the goal, Process Improvement Projects (PIPs) demonstrate much can be learned from negative results. Regardless if the results or negative or positive towards the current issue, complete and accurate reports are critical.

T3 (T-three). TRACK the results. TRANSFER the knowledge. TRAIN the teams. The goal in this stage is to ensure that knowledge is shared.

TRACK. Follow-up requires tracking the complimentary upstream and downstream operations as well as the implemented change. Tracking assures that implemented solutions target assignable root causes. Tracking provides a “factual” measure of improvement in addition to possibly identifying additional areas for review.

TRANSFER the knowledge. The results of a negative study may itself provide useful information elsewhere within a business unit. Positive results should always be outlined, detailed and transferred to other teams. Not sharing success stories often leads to reduced competitiveness, and reduces the likelihood for support with future quality initiatives. An integrated “knowledge share” database is important.

TRAIN others in lessons learned and new solutions. Transferring lessons learned may introduce variation and reduced performance if not accompanied by suitable training. TRAIN, TRAIN, and continue to TRAIN.

SUMMARY: The first part of A-GIFT is acceptance. Improvement comes with acceptance. Conclude improvement projects by sharing the knowledge (train and transfer). Beyond ACCEPTANCE, begin delivering GIFT’s to your organization.

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