June 28, 2015
by Lori Shecter

Is Zero Defects a Reality?

quality control correctionsOn June 23,  I wrote a post about doing it right the first time, which covered the topics of  errors, quality control, and performing correctly. But on June 24, my team made an error.  An error that is correctable, but none-the-less, an error that could have been avoided had the proper processes been in place. What does a company do when an error occurs?  How do you repair the client relationship, the company reputation and prevent the error from occuring again?  Below are the actions that my team took.

  1. FESS UP:  Admit the error. You are human.  They are human. Mistakes are made. It is a hard thing to do, but putting it right out front without hiding is the most important thing you can do.
  2. APOLOGIZE: Profusely.  Or at least let them know that you made an error and you are going to do everything in your power to correct it and prevent it from occuring again.
  3. REACT ACCORDINGLY:  Your mistake might be very big, or very small. Though your mistake might appear one way to you, it might not be as catastrophic as you perceive, or it might be worse. Take a breath and evaluate the impact the error has on your client relationship and the product you deliver.
  4. ACCOMODATE: What was the issue? Missed delivery of project? Poor product? How can you help the client with the inconvenience you caused?
  5. EVALUATE:  Make sure you understand WHY the error happened.  In my case, a team member was not adequately prepared due to misunderstanding of the task that needed to be accomplished. We now created a policy that will ensure this will not happen again.
  6. RESTITUTION:  It could be a bottle of wine, a free product or discount on a product, or extra hours of work at no charge. Offering some type of compensation will go miles in helping repair any damage you might have caused by your error.

In the words of Doug Larsen:

“To err is human; to admit it, is super human.

And some other fun variations that I thought you’d enjoy:

  • To err is human, but to really foul things up, you need a computer. Paul Ehrlich
  • To err is human, but it it feels divine. Mae West
  • To err is human, and to blame it on the computer is even more so. Robert Orben

And one final one…

“To err is human, to blame everyone else is politics. Hubert Humphrey

November 12, 2017
by Lori Shecter

Do it Right the First Time

Do it Right

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.

  1. 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.
  2. Analyze your process: Take a look at how things are getting done.  At what point does the process break and cause defective product? Why does it break?  Is it lack of knowledge or communication?  Is it technology or a cog?
  3. 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?
  4. 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.
  5. Develop a reward system: Rewarding employees for making improvements to process creates an environment for quality.
  6. 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