Scott M. Paton’s First
Word in the March 2004 issue is right on the money. If organizations
can be honest and use ethics, perhaps the employees could
turn around too. Many employees feel the only way to get
their voice heard is through a union. I believe that employees
seeking a union should realize what it means to their business
and country. Employers also need to become more resourceful
and open about the policies they want to enforce. If the
organization wants trust from the employees, it must give
the employees reason to trust them.
I mostly agree with Paton’s
First Word comments. As Americans, we should be able to
adapt to the new global economy. However, you did not address
the issue of second- and third-tier suppliers to large conglomerates
that are doing business with China, Mexico, Taiwan and so
on. As you know, we provide a great amount of money to the
economy of the United States.
How are we going to compete against the Chinese or anyone
else who works for a fraction of what we do?
Thank you, Dan Nelson, for
your Last Word editorial in the March 2004 issue. I got
into a heated debate with a customer about this same issue
two years ago. The customer was asking for a preventive
action after the corrective action was complete. I asked,
“How can you prevent something from happening if it
has already happened?”
I like to look at preventive
action a little differently. The point of Nelson’s
article is the difference between corrective action and
what I call “impact in other areas.” I use “prevention”
as the tool used to prevent or keep it from happening again
within the system. I have found that leading corrective
action needs to be broken down into basic steps, like a
checksheet in order to maintain a systematic approach to
problem solving. Taking one or two steps of problem solving
out of context can cause more confusion of the entire process,
so I will list all eight from my approach.
Document the problem, list dates, location, who reported,
quantities and the nonconformance tracking number related
to the concern. First express the problem in the customer’s
terms. Add some explanation or translation of the concern
to the supplier’s vernacular if required.
Containment needs to be established quickly. Sorting at
the customer is only the first step (if requested). What
will you be doing to isolate the customer from this concern
before the corrective action is proved and documented as
verified? How much stock was reviewed for this concern at
your facility and how much was found with the concern? You
need to concentrate on your internal reject rate.
If you find some, so will the customer.
A root cause will almost always have two types of causes.
The first is the obvious: missed operation, machine broke,
etc., causing concern on the physical part. The second is
the system failure that allowed that part to be processed
and shipped to the customer. Both of these need to be addressed.
Corrective action needs to be done immediately. Document
what areas, the date finished and the corrective action
completed. If process documentation is updated, include
those in the corrective action report. If the corrective
action is more inspection, that increased inspection must
not be eliminated at a later date. All corrective action
must be written in past tense and dated before it can be
Verify that the corrective action is effectively eliminating
the concern as defined in the problem description. Do not
use the customer’s complaint system for verification.
Verification must be accomplished within your facility.
Effective verification will always involve the review of
production run parts after corrective action has been in
Prevention of reoccurrence needs to be addressed by updating
documentation that controls the process or operation where
corrective action took place. Procedures, operator instruction
sheets, work instructions, flowcharts, FMEA, control plans,
etc. must be updated.
List the part numbers involved, the production lines and
the processes that were changed. Is there an opposite-hand
part or similar production line in which this defect could
occur? If there are no other areas affected, state so and
give a brief explanation of why.
Evidence of analysis of mistake proofing needs to include
a true poka-yoke, or the reasons for the actions taken if
no mistake proofing is implemented. A person manually doing
an operation is not mistake proofing. If a true poka-yoke
cannot be implemented, the method used for evaluation of
mistake proofing needs to be documented.
I enjoyed your article on
the distinction between corrective and preventive action.
Reading from ISO 9001:2000, sections 8.5.2 and 8.5.3, corrective
action works to eliminate the cause of nonconformities,
and preventive action works to eliminate the cause of potential
nonconformities. In your example, the future parts to be
made for the jig are potential nonconformities, not actual
ones, because they have not yet been manufactured. This
seems to argue for your solution being preventive action,
not corrective action.