Thursday, April 30, 2009

Zero Quality Control

I picked a book off the shelf this morning and browsed through it again. I'm always amazed at what I miss the first few times through a good read. This time, I actually read the preface!

The book was Shigeo Shingo - Zero Quality Control. In the publishers message, Norman Bodek talks about engineers and their approach toward quality. He says that according to Shigeo Shingo, there are three types of engineers - Table engineers - who spend their time in meetings arguing about problems on the shop floor, Catalogue engineers - who spend their time browsing for the latest gadget to solve these problems, and Nyet engineers - those who put the kibosh to any improvement suggestion.

He suggests that instead, we should strive to become Improvement engineers, by spending the majority of our time on the shop floor - observing problems, making suggestions and working with those who do the work to implement solutions to problems. Go to the Gemba!

His quote from Shingo really hit home - "My medicine works, but only if the patient takes it". How often have good suggestions been discarded, forgotten or ignored.

It’s tough to change the mindset when what we have done so far has brought us so far. Becoming a successful company was no accident.

Making the company the best that it can be means challenging your paradigm, looking at things differently, going to the gemba and working with your team to drive out waste. That's a lot of work - and not as comfy as the board room chair. I guarantee the result of this effort will not only open your eyes, but it will shock and amaze you. Because continuous improvement means just that - you can ALWAYS do better.


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