McDermott, Robin; Lublin, Jeffrey G. (1993, ASQC) Resource Engineering, Inc.; Vernon, CT
Quality control tools, such as workflow diagrams, concentration diagrams, and flowcharts, help an organization find problems that often have obvious solutions. For Colonial Spring, a spring manufacturer, the problem was the time consumed by picking up production slips from factory machines. A workflow diagram of the path from machine to machine made it clear how to improve the process. By placing the slips in a central location in each department, the pick up time decreased from 3.5 hours to 30 minutes. At Quantum, a refurbisher of jet engine assemblies, small imperfections in a molding operation required a rework operation. This step added 20% to the total process time. To attack this problem, rework department employees marked on a diagram of each molded part the place where the imperfection occurred. By superimposing many of these diagrams onto one sheet, the defects were seen concentrated on the top of the part. A change in the molding process prevented these defects, and 90% of the rework department employees were freed to do more meaningful work. At Seton Name Plate Company, a direct mail marketer of signs, fax orders took 4.5 to 8 hours to move to the appropriate department. A flowchart of the fax process revealed that every operator processed faxes differently. A streamlined process added consistency and reduced fax delivery to 30 minutes. At these and other organizations, the continuous improvement toolbox also contains histograms, bar graphs, pie charts, trend charts, scatter diagrams, cause and effect diagrams, and Pareto diagrams. They all are simple to teach and learn.
Case study,Continuous improvement (CI),Flowcharts,Quality tools,Total Quality Management (TQM),Ergonomics