To explain how effective and important mistake proofing can be, CMC have created a new eBook called: "14 Mistake Proofing Examples: Improve Quality at Virtually No Cost." Read more about this free eBook and get your own copy here...
Have you ever complained about a quality issue to a Chinese manufacturer, only to hear: “This is done by hand, so a certain number of mistakes are impossible to avoid”?
In fact, with a little creativity and sometimes engineering work, certain human errors can be made IMPOSSIBLE. That’s the whole idea behind mistake proofing.
Production Mistakes Don't Have To Be 'Inevitable'
It is quite frustrating to be told in a production facility that mistakes 'cannot be avoided.' There are ways to check quality along the production flow, either with QC inspectors or production operators. That’s the classic approach to improving the quality of products shipped to customers, but it doesn’t come without a cost!
Fortunately, there is a much better way: Mistake proofing.
In a poorly-designed manual process, there will always be mistakes
Imagine working for 8-12 hours a day – it is a high performance if you make a mistake on less than 1% of the parts you touch.
And then, how about manual inspection? Similarly, if you inspect 1,000 pieces in a day and you declare 950 as ‘good’, do you really think those 950 are all good? I highly doubt it.
There is a sad reality. If we wait until products are fully completed, end-of-line inspection is expensive and usually doesn't catch 100.00% of defects.
So, what is the best way to reduce the number of human mistakes in production?
The best approach is to work on processes so that there are fewer errors. We already looked into the way statistical process control can be used a few months ago. When it comes to manual operations, and assuming the process is already under control, the most powerful approach is to mistake-proof the processes.
The idea is "build quality into the product" rather than "inspect quality out of the product".
As Deming wrote:
Inspection does not improve the quality, nor guarantee quality. Inspection is too late. The quality, good or bad, is already in the product.
The three levels of mistake proofing
There are several types of mistake-proofing devices/systems:
- Make the error impossible. That's the best, but it is not always possible.
- Detect the error immediately and does something (e.g. stop a machine, ring an alarm for an operator to come...). It is quite helpful.
- Make the error less likely: checklists, work instructions, etc. Some people refuse to call that "mistake proofing" because it is not as good as the first two.
Take a close look at 14 mistake proofing examples
In this free e-book, CMC engineers show a number of examples of mistake-proofing devices and systems:
- A change in a die design
- A change in a fixture design
- Several creative solutions to avoid or detect errors for close to zero investment
- Sensors (limit switch, proximity sensor, infrared sensor) that prevent processing under certain conditions
- A vision system that detects errors on a conveyor
- A set of vision systems that detect errors at each step of a process
- A visual color system that helps operators avoid making mistakes (a weak form of mistake proofing)
- A checklist (a weak form of mistake proofing)
Take action today
Your factory’s engineers, or your suppliers’ engineers, might not be trained in identifying opportunities for mistake proofing systems. But they can learn from examples!
This free e-book can jump-start their creative juices and be the first step in a strong quality improvement initiative.
Are you ready to get your copy? Just click the button below to request your free download!