QC Process Table. It is often mentioned as part of Total Quality Management, but there is little mention of the link to the Standardized Work.
I learned that it is an extremely weak condition if the QC Process Table isn’t reflected in the Standardized Work. Standardized work without a QC Process Table is fragile, too.
Here are my thoughts on how to link the QC Process Table and Standardized Work at Genba.
“QC Process Table.” It's not a popular theme or tool despite its importance.
A table to design and manage quality control at the process level. There are many formats and different names. But the importance is in the thinking behind the documents.
The critical thing about QC Process Table and Standardized Work is that they need to be utilized together. Definitely, not to be used separately. The two should be directly connected. Excellent standardized work requires a QC Process Table, while a good QC Process Table needs standardized work.
Here are some items we need the two to work together.
1️⃣ Both are more than just filling out the document.
The saddest attitude toward these two methods is that many think it is about filling out the forms. No, it is not. The documents are designed to follow a flow of philosophy. And, as we write or draw things on these papers, we should be thinking. We should consider a better way to build quality into the process.
And there should be teamwork to create the two. The primary responsibility exists. The QC Process Table by the quality and the team leader's standardized work. But that doesn’t mean those responsible people should be left alone in the creation. There was a case in which an engineer who had just graduated from college made a QC Process Table—obviously, it failed. But the engineer should not be blamed. It is the lack of teamwork that we should reconsider. The quality function and the frontline management should continuously work together to implement and improve the QC Process Table and standardized work.
2️⃣ Too many…
Another common problem I observe is that we define too many control points, which, in the end, we are controlling none. It may be human psychology, but some think more is better. But the more control points we have, the more likely we will forget or become hard to include inside the standardized work. At the same time, this doesn’t mean “compromising” on quality. We can’t simply take out or eliminate the control points. We need to Kaizen.
At one place, a control point was to check the cleanliness of a product. This check was included in many processes since they had many customer complaints. As we investigated this problem, we discovered that the process was cleaning liquid leaking from the product. And there were no standards on how much liquid to pour into the product. So, we defined the quantity of liquid and placed a flowmeter to control it. Since the leakage was under control, we didn’t need to check cleanliness at every station. We still need to control the flowmeter, which requires much less frequency. We were able to reduce the control points without sacrificing the quality. When we have too many control points, we must work to reduce them as a team.
Frequency is another area where we need consideration. Frequency without a policy is almost the same as chaos.
There was a process that was supposed to check quality at every 50, 75, 87, and 115 products they produced. Each check relates to the different tooling they use in the machine. And when these checks needed to happen at ongoing operations, it was a disaster. The program that controls these checks will stop the machine, and the machine keeps stopping. We had to create some divisor or multiple relationships among the checks.
Another example is the mixing of frequency with time and quantity. Some checks happen every hour. Some checks happen based on the amount produced. Therefore, in ongoing operations, there are situations in which both happen simultaneously. Many will say, let the shop floor “figure it out.” So they don’t check on exact timing or quantity. But then, is there a guarantee of the quality? When we did not conduct the check at the precise moment, the QC Process Table died logically. The freedom to adjust the frequency will lead to assumptions that it is okay to skip the check at the moment defined by the QC Process Table. And, many plans are dead since such frequencies are not planned carefully. What frustrates the shop floor is that the plan has many such pitfalls, yet they get blamed for not following it.
Another example is the respect of those who follow these QC Process Tables and standardized work. One example was when a team leader was summoned to attend a meeting and left the shop floor. It did not return for the control points. What is contradicting is that the quality, the designer of the QC Process Table, summoned the team leader.
There are jokes among many plants that the night shift performs better than the day shift. Why? Because they are less interrupted. People can focus on their work. Respect for people starts with respecting the focus of the work. Nobody should interrupt. Yes, there are many situations which we have to interrupt. If so, ensure we follow their standards before interrupting. It is very hard to problem-solve, “Hide Oba interrupted the team leader from executing the QC Process Table” after it happened.
Last but not least, these QC Process Tables and standardized works are the subject of Kaizen. I made a similar post in the past. If any defects are produced, both should become the subject of Kaizen.
QC Process Table and standardized work are potent tools to Build-in quality if adequately used together. Those tools are part of a system, not an independent stand-alone tool.
Those of you who follow my post will see that these tools have the “structure” that I always mention.
Points: Control points
Lines: Check methods, frequency
Area: Standardized work
Body: Mechanism of executing the control plan at multiple levels of organization, System of help, and Kaizen
Independent items will not function correctly unless we have the entire structure.