Total Quality in Industrial Order-Picking


Batson, Robert G.; Moats, Kenneth A.   (1993, ASQC)   University of Alabama; Tuscaloosa, AL

Annual Quality Congress, Boston MA    Vol. 47    No. 0
QICID: 9971    May 1993    pp. 301-307
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Article Abstract

To decrease order picking errors, two quality improvement teams used flowcharts and other visual tools to trace the root causes. American Cast Iron Pipe Company ships 65 daily truckloads of iron pipes, fittings, gaskets, and other items. During the first six months of 1991, shipping and order picking errors more than tripled compared to the previous two years. The first quality team used flowcharts of the product delivery process and records of customer complaints to show that fittings accounted for 35% to 50% of the errors. Gasket errors also were high. A matrix of errors made versus months employed indicated that it took at least a year for new employees to have acceptable error rates. Pareto analyses and fishbone charts identified specific problems in the shipping of fittings that could be used in preventative training sessions. The pre-training error rate of four per month decreased to one per month after training. The second quality team flowcharted the production and order picking of gaskets and did a Pareto analysis of gasket shipping errors. This identified so many wrong size and wrong rubber errors that the team recommended improvements in the printing of forms and in the procedures for stocking and picking the gaskets. Improvements suggested by both teams were people oriented and preventative.


Flowcharts,Problem solving,Total Quality Management (TQM),C chart (count chart)

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