CAD Manager's Newsletter (#407)12 Jun, 2018 By: Robert Green
Quality Control for CAD Managers, Part 2
If you're ready to begin the journey toward a more efficient and error-free CAD work environment, equip yourself with these four tools for quality improvement.
In the previous issue of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, I shared concepts CAD managers can use to increase the quality of their CAD work products. Shortly thereafter, I received several responses asking for more specific information on how to implement these quality control measures.
In this edition, I'll present some practical action items you can use right away to move your quality control implementation forward. And the best news is, none of these techniques will cost you anything. All you need is the commitment to quality you're already trying to foster. Here goes.
What Were Those Concepts Again?
And if that is our definition of quality, it becomes apparent that we'll need a few tools to make sure we can deliver. At minimum, it's essential to have:
- Make everyone a quality auditor. Formalize the expectation that everyone in your production environment must be on the lookout for errors and quality problems.
- The Andon System. Encourage workers to halt the production of work, should a quality problem be discovered that can't be resolved on the spot — and provide a means for them to do so.
- Kaizen reviews. Analyze errors to determine the cause, and put a corrective action plan in place so the errors don't recur.
- The Deming Cycle. Continually strive to make production processes work better with this proactive thought process. (The Deming Cycle differs from Kaizen in that it is proactive, rather than reactive.)
Now that we've refamiliarized ourselves with the four tools of quality improvement, let's see how each can be implemented in the context of a CAD work group.
If everyone is to become a quality auditor, then it stands to reason you'll have some communicating and training to do as people take on that new role in their production jobs. Here's a very simple script you can use to convey key quality concepts via a brief training session:
Quality is everyone's responsibility. If you see a problem with the content of our CAD work, it's your job to make sure the problem gets resolved. While the solution may or may not be simple, we need to be sure that the problem is addressed. The only thing that is not acceptable is ignoring a problem "just to get the job done quicker."
Double-check yourself. Always ask yourself, "Have I found a problem, or is it possible I may have made an error myself?" While we absolutely do want to find errors and get them resolved, we do not want to create false alarms, so be sure to double-check before reporting an error. Always ask yourself, "Have I found a problem, or is it possible I may have made an error myself?" While we absolutely do want to find errors and get them resolved, we do not want to create false alarms, so be sure to double-check before reporting an error.
Fix the easy stuff informally. If an error was simply the result of improper data entry, such as a "fat-finger" keyboard error, simply fix the problem. If you know where the problem came from, go ahead and point out the error informally. No need to turn simple fixes into bigger problems than they are.
Gather all pertinent information. If an error is to be reported, it isn't enough to say, "this is wrong" or "this doesn't work." An error report needs to include a decent degree of specific detail, so anyone else investigating the problem knows what to look for.
Keep everything professional, not personal. Improving quality isn't about blaming or embarrassing others. Instead, it is about fixing our errors before the customer sees them, then coming to an understanding about why the error happened. This requires all of us to learn from our collective mistakes to better understand our entire work process. So strive to be positive and polite in all your dealings with others.
Feel free to adapt this script to fit your unique environment, but be sure to preserve the tone. The goal of this training is for everyone to come away with a positive attitude about reducing errors to improve quality. Read more »
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About the Author: Robert Green
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