We often have to compromise when making judgements and deal with the consequential risk, good or bad. But where do you draw the line on what is a good enough measure? For example, is 99.9% certainty in your processes good enough?
Implicitly, we all know the answer should be no, but secretly you are probably thinking, “If I could achieve 99.9%, I’d be happy”!
However, to make 0.1% more tangible, it means:
- 200,000 wrong drug prescriptions each year
- 15,000 new-born babies dropped in hospitals each year
- Unsafe drinking water one hour each month
- No phones or TV for 10 minutes each week
- 2,000 lost articles of mail every hour
- Two short or long landings at all major airports each day
Not intending to send a shock wave of fear through you or your fellow passengers if you are reading this on a flight, but if you were the passenger on one of those 2 flights each day you may be a little more interested in how to reduce that 0.1% risk. At the end of the day, if you are the customer affected, the impact is 100%.
You may be wondering how, given the reality of where most of us are today, do we even consider striving for perfection? The answer is that we do it iteratively. It doesn’t happen overnight, and it is not the result of one person’s ideas. It happens over the course of time, through a team effort, with everyone looking at their processes and asking how can they improve their part.
There are many very accessible methods within the continuous improvement toolbox that help to reduce and even eliminate potential errors in manufacturing, engineering and service applications. It starts by being process focused and engaging the knowledge of those who work the processes, day in, day out. Mistake proofing processes can eliminate issues 100%; and making the visual management of critical hand-off points can significantly reduce process failures. Other tools such as FMEA also help to predictably increase the chances of detecting errors and reducing the impact and occurrence of failures.
Commit to beginning your improvement now and over time, you will be able to provide the best customer experience, at the lowest cost, with the best possible quality, ensuring your success also.
Have a wonderful summer break and enjoy your flight.
Gavin Jones, New Potential