The first thing many of us think about when we hear the term "defect" is material in nature. Phrases like "Parts per million" further emphasize that defects are physical in nature. It is also easy to identify solutions when there is a physical defect.
Some of the most surprising defects that exist are those that are in a process or procedure. Whether a company is new and is developing or has been around for years they are both at risk.
Examples of Process or Procedural Defects:
Training is incorrect or not complete.
Steps are out of order.
Processes or Procedures have not been updated.
Are the right tools in place to follow the procedure?
Does documentation exist.
So how do you find these?
Here are some simple steps to identify if a process or procedural defect exits:
Ask you staff if the process or procedure has waste. Engagement from staff and communication with them reaps rewards. Be specific and ask for examples.
"John, what challenges are you having when you pick product or is there an easier way?"
SHADOW the Process from beginning to end. Physically shadow your staff through the entire process or an entire shift (don't forget about all shifts). This simple exercise not only will identify defects but keeps managers and supervisors connected with their staff as well as developing the all important working knowledge for each area of their responsibility.
Find benchmarks. Industry Associations, User Groups, professional contacts and Case Studies are easy cost effective forums to get information.