Rework Galore

Is there a day you went out of your house and didn’t see any repair or rework being carried out or something waiting to being mended or repaired?

The Repair Mindset

Isn’t it sad to see things always falling apart and reworking becoming an acceptable practice; may be  in the city you live or the place you work?  A mason or carpenter or any worker knows for sure that if things go wrong, there is a way to fix it.  He also knows that it would be tolerated and accepted by the user or the customer, as long as the defect is fixed. “First time Right” apparently is not a term known to many, though we see many organizations using this term in their Quality Policy.

Most of us have the experience of supervising the construction of our home or the new flat we intend to buy; rework I think is rampant here.  The carpenter or electrician or the mason would without the slightest concern, mess up the newly laid flooring. However getting upset about it is considered absurd, because everyone knows that at the end, they would do a ceremonial “Acid Wash” on the floor.  

People who supervise and carryout rework are rarely concerned about the harm that rework does to the environment and the surroundings.  An acid wash could actually cause damage to the cementing of the tiles in the long run. The repair on the roads cause damage to the pavements or the repair on the median can cause obstruction to traffic and also lead to accidents.  A product which is repaired can never be considered original or brand new; like a repainted car looses its market value.  So I think in the first instance, as customers of products and services we must demand products to be done right first time and prevent rework. Recently I had the bad experience of buying a high end business laptop which was defective and I insisted that the product be taken back and not repaired, as reworking would be like buying a refurbished laptop.  Unfortunately the second laptop, which had the next generation processor, had the same problem and I promptly returned it.  

Rework impacts Productivity

The option of rework is what makes the entire system inefficient; though the irony is that things are done fast to meet schedules, with the intention that in case anything goes wrong, it can always be reworked.

 To the question, “Why productivity increases as quality improves?” Dr. Deming’s answer is simple and straight forward, “Less rework”.  So if we have to improve both quality and productivity, our society must get tough on people who live on the philosophy of rework. It’s a big change that has to take place in our country. All of us have to change- starting from the mason, the carpenter, the gold smith, the tailor, the road building laborer, the machine operator and the concerned supervisors and engineers.  

First Pass Yield 

Though, the change is expected to happen at the bottom of the heap i.e.  the people who actually carry out the operations;  the change in mind set and thinking has to happen at the management level of the enterprise, and this is applicable to both, private companies or  government bodies.

For organizations to really start focusing on this issue, the first step, probably, would be to start capturing the right data.  Like in companies that practice Operational Excellence, when they talk of defects, they are actually looking at parts that did not come okay at the first pass.  If we say a product has a 500 ppm defective, it doesn’t mean that 500 parts in a million are scrapped, it could mean that 500 parts (or equivalent proportion) was accepted under deviation or after rework.  This metric, with a focus on ppm reduction, brings continuous pressure on reducing not just defects, but also rework.

Rolled Throughput Yield

Well, looking at the yield only at the final inspection stage hides the true process yield.  The true yield, called the rolled through put yield is the product of the yield at each stage of the process.

In the figure above it would be wrong to just look at the yield at the final stage. We will have to look at the yield at each stage and take the product of all stages; so the rolled through put yield would be 65% and not 95%. (90%x90%x85%x95%)  This is a clear indication of the reduction of productivity due to quality issues. 

One of the principles of Toyota Production System is “Build a Culture of Stopping to Fix Problems, to Get Quality Right the First Time”.  Taiichi Ohno , who developed the Toyota Production System said, “No problem discovered when stopping the line should wait longer than tomorrow morning to be fixed”.  Not fixing it will cause defectives to be passed down the production line to the other stages, creating pile of rework and inventory and also they know for sure that they will have the same problem again tomorrow.  

The first task though is to prevent problems from occurring, but if a problem still occurs, we must make sure that the root cause is addressed so that it doesn’t recur. This will ensure that rework quantities do not pile up and affect process flow, inventory, quality and productivity. So it’s just not “Wage war on Waste”, its “Wage war on the philosophy of rework”.

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PRADEEP KUMAR

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ABRAHAM MATHEWS, SENIOR CONSULTANT

Abraham has more than two decades of experience in Quality Management and Operations, including designing quality, environmental and health & safety management systems, managing industrial engineering activities and heading a Plant.  He is an expert auditor of quality systems and in working with teams to implement robust processes that is sustainable.  Having worked in Aerospace and Automotive industry he understands the Industry requirements and is very meticulous in his approach in implementing the required standards.  He is also a trained Lean practitioner and support training and implementing Lean Manufacturing Systems. He also conducts Yellow belt Six Sigma training and supports Green belt training.

M.BALAJI, Principal Consultant, Management Systems

Balaji is a Mechanical Engineer with four decades of experience with the last thirteen years in Management consultancy.  His expertise is in Management Systems, with extensive experience in training, auditing and supporting implementation of Quality and Environmental Management systems.  He is also a qualified tool designer from NTTF and GTTC.

Balaji keeps abreast of the latest changes in international standards for implementing quality management systems and is a Lead Auditor for ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 9001, ISO 45001, ISO 22163. Also auditor for  IATF 16949.  He is a  Lead Assessor for EXIM Bank award for Business Excellence model .  With more than a decade of experience in management consulting, he has conducted 600 man-days of training and 250 man-days of audits; working with more than 35 clients.

Pradeep Kumar, Chief Executive

Pradeep Kumar has about three decades of professional experience against his name.  With multi-location and multi-cultural exposure paired with a Master Black Belt in Six Sigma & Lean, Pradeep’s core expertise comes from over a decade of specialization in a large multinational manufacturing company. He is a Certified MBB in Lean and Six Sigma by SBTI, Texas and trained by Mckinsey Consultants as a Lean Practitioner in Rock Hill-USA.

He currently works with large multinational companies, helping them drive Operational Excellence and implement lean strategies. Pradeep also guides senior leadership towards excellence in execution. He has trained candidates in Lean & Six Sigma in India, China, Japan, Thailand, Europe, Middle East, Sri Lanka and the USA; and mentored more than 500 Engineers and Managers in Lean & Six Sigma in India and overseas.  His expertise lies in understanding gaps in current systems, designing more effective processes and mentoring teams to swiftly achieve organizational goals