November 9, 2018

Ensure 100% Quality at the Beginning of a Process

IT folks know this expression very well: “Garbage in, garbage out.” Same holds true for a process. If you allow errors, mistakes, and missing information at the beginning of the process, the cost of fixing it grows exponentially as the item moves downstream.

How can we apply this principle? One method is to install a gate at the beginning of the process. The gate can take the form of a review where the item is checked for completeness and accuracy. If it is not complete nor accurate, then it can not pass to the next step. The person reviewing can work with the supplier to fix the problem so it can then be accepted. How often do things get accepted in your organization, only to find out later there was something wrong with them? Then how much time, effort, and expense is consumed by trying to fix the problem? If we only spent the time up front, then the downstream issues would disappear. There are some places in a process where it makes lots of sense to invest time, resources and money. One of these places is the front end of a process.

Another option is with dedicated fields in software programs. If a particular data field has incomplete or wrong information, the field is flagged. Shoppers know this first hand by going to Amazon or other web merchants. Your order does not get accepted unless all of the information is complete and accurate.

If the quality problem is extensive, you should gather data on the frequency of occurrences by category. This data can be illustrated by a Pareto Diagram, which shows which item is most frequent in a descending order. See the example below.

Lastly, you will want to track how often the incoming information is correct. The graph below is a run chart of information coming from the sales force. This graph shows the percentage of correct information on a monthy basis.

 

 Fix the front end of the process first. Everyone downstream will be ecstatic. And your quality costs will plummet.

Contact us at Value Creation Partners to learn more.