I have heard the items below before but have recently contemplated ‘what does it really mean?’
First off, continuous improvement is a journey… not a destination. Utopian views with no scrap, and no errors are more improbable than probable. Yet what if…
If 99.9% Is Good Enough, Then . . .
- 12 newborns will be given to the wrong parents daily.
- 114,500 mismatched pairs of shoes will be shipped/year.
- 18,322 pieces of mail will be mishandled/hour.
- 2,000,000 documents will be lost by the IRS this year.
- 2.5 million books will be shipped with the wrong covers.
- Two planes landing at Chicago’s O’Hare airport will be unsafe every day.
- 315 entries in Webster’s dictionary will be misspelled.
- 20,000 incorrect drug prescriptions will be written this year.
- 880,000 credit cards in circulation will turn out to have incorrect cardholder information on their magnetic strips.
- 103,260 income tax returns will be processed incorrectly during the year.
- 5.5 million cases of soft drinks produced will be flat.
- 291 pacemaker operations will be performed incorrectly.
- 3,056 copies of tomorrow’s Wall Street Journal will be missing one of the three sections.
I think that the takeaway is much like having a hope – or a dream. It is there to motivate us towards something. Without a denominator – the fraction is meaningless. We must have something to compare to or register with for true understanding. The need for solutions is a constant cycle: Plan, Do, Check and Act. We continue to revise, and if smart, add poka yoke or other systems and tools to catch plus correct items that recur.
The idea of continuous improvement is a directional one. That is, it is a relentless pursuit of waste, which can manifest in every industry at every position or task. Of the eight wastes – not knowing what is in need of attention is actually part of the intellect we so desperately need to facilitate change. The trick is to be better at what you do – each day. If one problem was solved a week – that is 52 each year… in an operation that had 100 employees the number compounds to 520.
So, I encourage you to think really hard about the truth. The cold, bitter, honest truth; how are we doing? If you are running low on ideas to take – raise the bar. I would also combine the previous statement with “if there are no items to work on” – your goals are not stretch goals (ones which push the operation to new levels creating a gap and room for opportunity.
Originally posted via LinkedIn here.
99.99%, Business, Poka-yoke
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Categories: Business: General