Do it Right the First Time
There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about my father. Even though he died 12 years ago, (the day after father’s day,) his teachings impact my life daily. I could not see a better way to honor him this week, than to share with you what I learned from him. You see, my father was one of the forefathers of the global quality movement. Throughout his life, he traveled worldwide, teaching companies like Sony and Toyota the reasons why building it “right the first time” saved companies time and money.
At the end of World War II, Americans were not interested in quality because they were selling everything that they could manufacture. Japanese were different. They were interested because low cost alone wasn’t selling their products. Before WWII, their products were synonymous with junk. Since they couldn’t win markets with low cost product, they became interested in quality.
Offering and delivering a quality product affects every business, whether you are a Fortune 500 or small business organization, service provider or manufacturer. Here are some steps my dad suggested to improve the quality in your company and INCREASE both customer and employee satisfaction.
- Don’t just fix errors: Identify the reason the error is being made. Go back to the source of the mistake and fix it so it doesn’t happen again.
- Analyze your process: Take a look at how things are getting done. At what point does the process break and cause a defective product? Why does it break? Is it a lack of knowledge or communication? Is it technology or a cog?
- Mistake proof: Fix a job so that a person CAN’T do it wrong. Study the process and look for where mistakes are being made. Then figure out ways to prevent those mistakes. (NOTE: this might be easier when there is a hard good versus an intangible good, such as a service.) Recall your last experience with a telecom or cable company. If you’re like over 50% of subscribers, you probably had a less than satisfactory experience. Can you figure out how it could have been better?
- Involve employees: Autocratic management styles don’t encourage worker participation. Employees really WANT to see improvement. But if they are shut down when they offer recommendations, improvement will never occur.
- Develop a reward system: Rewarding employees for making improvements to process creates an environment for quality.
- Both management and workforce must be trained to embrace quality standards: Quality methods must be embraced from the top, in order for improvements to be felt throughout the company.
Quality is not only free, it’s better than free. It helps pay profits.”
People get used to working with poor quality and lots of rejection and say, “we just can’t do better.” Of course you can do better. You must do better. Year after year, the same companies get voted top places to work for; one of the reasons? Pride in the quality of the product they develop together. Cutting down on errors not only saves the company, it increases profits.
Becoming a quality-focused company is not easy… nothing new ever is. But take one step: Identify one error that keeps occurring and engage your employees to help provide a solution.
In honor of my Dad, Edwin S. Shecter. Thanks Dad, for all you did for me. And for all you keep doing for me. Wish you were here to read your words in print again. Happy Father’s Day. Edwin S. Shecter is the author of Managing for World Class Quality.
Lori Shecter is the CEO of We are Immediate, a boutique web development and design agency. WAI employs ISO International Standards to ensure that our technology is of the highest design and quality.
#fathersday #qualityassurance #doitrightthefirsttime