Opportunity for Error Identification

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    Ricki Zebik

    Afternoon all,

    Having successfully performed a process mapping excerice to identify and reduce areas of waste in a manufacturing process, I now want to identify where I have opportunities of errors occuring.

    Does anyone have any suggestions or tools that will make this identification process effective. Ideally I would like to get a team of employees involved and make this process interactive

    Many thanks


    Joel Smith

    @rickizebik Use a Pareto Chart on data on scrap, rework, or warranty claims/returns (you or someone there should have a good idea of which of these is the biggest problem) to identify your biggest area of improvement. If costs differ significantly between categories of one of those, then it may be worth using the cost of that type instead of a count.

    For example, suppose you make pencils and it is well known that your processes result in a huge amount of scrap. Determine the types of that scrap (wood, graphite, rubber, metal) and how much scrap of each you produce per hour/day/week and use the Pareto Chart to visualize it and show why you should start with, say, graphite scrap. Then do the same to find out where the biggest area of opportunity is for reducing that scrap (the process step that produces the most of it).

    Project scoping is critical to project success…narrow it down to something manageable but with enough potential gain to be worthwhile. “Reduce scrap graphite” might be too broad if scrap graphite is produced in eight different process steps. “Reduce proportion of graphite inserts that arrive at machine X broken” may have better scope but be sure to do a reality check on your gains. If a 70% reduction is worth $5,000/year to the company then your resources are not worth it. But if a 5% reduction is worth $250,000/year, you have a good project (especially if you still get a 70% gain).

    Also, although I say use a Pareto Chart above, if you are in a program just starting out that does not have firm management commitment, then it may be worth tackling a smaller problem if it is seen as being critical by management. Demonstrating a big win on something that is perceived to be critical may result in much more investment to the program down the road.

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