How Do You Handle Work Which Is Not Well Done – The Manufacturing Manager Asked

If you run a company especially in the field of manufacturing or service, you know the work must be done right, on time, and done well. If not, you get zero referrals and upset clients – you lose business. The other day, I was discussing this with an acquaintance in the manufacturing sector. He asked me how I handled work done half-butted. Let’s talk shall we?

Well, work not done well is a problem. Sloppy work – measuring once and realizing you already cut it wrong, wasted material, then a cover up to hide the mistake, not cool. There is no Six Sigma black-belt, ISO 9000, or TQM awards for that. Harsh reprimands perhaps, but too much and you put fear into everyone else who might make an accidental mistake sometimes due to the customer’s miss explanation. Get to the bottom of it – make sure it doesn’t happen again. Don’t degrade the person, challenge the decision making process that caused the error.

In manufacturing I’ve seen this scenario when coming up with a deadline, the floor manager moved a limited or small operation in between a run, when the machines were set up already on a finite capacity scheduling plan – then finding the miss adjustment due to rushing, or re-adjusting back to the run, without regard for an automatic change on that line. Next thing you know that rush order in the middle, a favor to get something out on time or rushed, causes a really bad mistake.

To remedy this problem; keep track of “no error” runs or units, just like they do, “Days Without Accidents” and then give a team bonus for mile-markers – 3-hour Friday early off picnics. Give praise there, review the last mistake and reason why there was no BBQ in August, and to remind everyone to stay alert, pay attention and “measure once, cut twice” and run a ghost material through to test.

We did this at our truck washes, ran a ghost wash test, to make sure the sonar, electronic eye, and optic flow sensors and soap injection lines were all properly calibrated before running the customer’s car, truck or piece of equipment through our mechanized robotic tunnel wash system. On a busy Saturday, washing 450 cars, we sure as hell couldn’t afford a mistake in our production lines or a car turned and caught sideways in the tunnel mechanism – repair costs, reputation, loss of time. Ouch, significant for a small car wash location facility.

Rely on you commanders in the field! Let them make decisions, they know best – give them the mission and assignment – let them carry it out. This is the managers and engineering team and set-up people. Yes, titanium and 505 stainless, and specialized materials are expensive, I mean “tell them something they don’t know,” and never tell a little leaguer not to strike out, tell them to hit a home run instead. Precision, excellence, production = wining. “we don’t do excuses here, I used to tell my workers prior to retirement. Those were the good old days. Please consider all this and think on it.

Auto Novice

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