Lean Shop Defect Elimination

If you are serious about making process improvements in your shop, the best place to start is defect elimination.  For this discussion, a defect is anything that is not done right the first time.  Things like failed inspections, wrong parts, comebacks , etc. In this brief write up, let’s focus on comebacks.  The points we make here can be applied to any activity in your shop.

There is a method to the madness of defect elimination. Here are a few steps to take:

  • Define what a defect is. This should be from the perspective of the customer, bottom line business metrics, safety, or cost.
  • Document every occurrence of the impact, along with circumstances surrounding it. Things like who the tech was, time of day, day of week, weather, etc. can help you track the defect to its root cause.
  • Define the impact of the defect. This allows you to weight the impact of the defect and focus on the most important to your shop. For example, a defect that happens a lot, but has very little impact other than being a pain, may be less important than a rare defect with very large impact like a loss time accident.  Things to track are cycle time, labor time (labor time is not cycle time), cost, customer complaints, etc.
  • When you have documents all of the above, you can easily see how often a defect occurs, its impact, and root cause. This information will help you determine a fix to the problem and prevent the defect from reoccurring.

I have attached an example comeback log to under the “Free Stuf” tab.  It can be easily modified and applied to other activities in your shop.

Two things to remember about shop performance.  If you are not measuring it, you are not managing it. And, what you do not know can, and will, hurt your shop’s performance.