How to create built-in quality for your product

Step 1: Identify customer or regulatory institutions quality requirements

When I saw the finished product in “Kasaana beads factory”, I immediately knew it will be difficult to sell in European and even local market. Why? The product quality is below par. Some beads were dirty, others contained too much varnish, the bracelet finishing knot was visible and other beads were just rolled in a weird shape. I realised that my first task should be to identify customer requirements and make the team aware of it.

In the midst of a quality training on what is a good bead in the eyes of our customers

Step 2: Identify abnormalities during a production process (Jidoka)

Jidoka is a Japanese word coming from Toyota manufacturing system, which means the ability to automatically detect abnormalities. If a bad part or condition is detected, the production process stops. This means bad parts are removed, because otherwise you continue to make poor quality parts. In the end jidoka is great to highlight problems and enable continuous improvement for your processes.

Most of the storage containers were dirty thus we did a clean up exercise for all of them.

Step 3: Build an environment to avoid errors (poka-yoke)

Another Japanese word “Poka-yoke”, which translates to mistake proofing. In other words; you help a production operator to avoid errors during their work. Humans are not machines and mistakes can happen, so managers need to create an environment which prevents errors as much as possible.

It’s so nice to see a high quality clutch which is named “Ugandan News”.

Step 4: Continuously improve!

Even though it might sound very difficult to have 100% quality production, I would say never give up. Every small kaizen/ improvement can lead to huge results, as long as you don’t stop looking for opportunities to do things better.

Wet beads were often touching each other thus resulting in a bad part.

Step 5: Last but not least, don’t underestimate new joiner on-boarding

You have done all this great work, you are celebrating your success and business life is going great. Now it is important to stay sharp! If not, you might fall back to your old habits and results will follow the same route; back to poor. Therefore sustainability of your improvements is crucial here more than ever. How? A good poke-yoke will help a lot, but also constant attention to your people.

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Agne Nainyte

Agne Nainyte

Digital Transformation Consultant at Schuberg Philis and blogger at https://nainyte.com/