A few years ago I wrote an article entitled Switching from Acceptance Sampling to Process Control. I listed 3 approaches that can drive defect rates down:
- Setting up a good quality system, with quick feedback to upstream processes and checkpoints at the right steps of the process
- Using statistical process control tools to assess a process’ capability to make good products the first time, and more importantly to guide improvements in the process
- Proper calibration, and more generally ensuring that the measurement system can be relied on.
I can’t believe I didn’t mention mistake proofing.
In China, most industrial operations are still done by hand. Some are purely manual (e.g. inserting laces on shoes before packing), and many are semi-automated (e.g. a worker places the end of a cable in a molding press).
And what is the best way to reduce the defect rate? Getting rid of the most common mistakes. It is amazing to see the same mistakes come again and again, and managers say “well this is done by hand, so we can’t get under a certain percentage of defects”. WRONG. In most cases it is perfectly possible.
At CMC we have put together an e-book about this.
Mistake proofing is a state of mind. Once you see a few examples, you will think up many ideas when walking on a production floor.
Unfortunately, Chinese engineers and managers tend to think it all has to be high technology, and all they need is the right budget. Again, WRONG. We show some very low-tech examples in this e-book, as well as a few that involve machine vision systems and a bit of programming.
Get the e-book. It is free and it will probably open your mind to what is possible.