Accountability for Product Defects

      Views on when and how to catch and fix defects. May 4, 2005

When a defect is caught in shipping, we send it back to the paint department, where we fix everything. What's the best way to mark defects so that everyone knows quickly what to fix, or where the defect is?

Forum Responses
(Business Forum)
From contributor M:
How about some brightly colored painter's tape? Maybe fluorescent orange? Tear off a small piece and put it on the defect.

From contributor G:
Just tag it with an inch of masking tape.

From contributor J:
It's easy to just send it back to the finish department and this promotes the idea that non-responsibility for sloppy work is okay. The finishers will take care of it! You shouldn't have to mark where the damage is. It should be apparent that product falls out of the company's quality expectations and if an employee can't find the defect, you have two problems now. I know what you're asking and it's a good habit to keep logs of damage that anyone can look up at. Maybe start tracking a trend and fix the real problem from just plain mistakes that happen to all of us. Can you tell I'm a finisher? Fix it quickly? If it's being loaded in the truck for delivery, someone isn't doing their job, and it's unfair to ask the finishers to drop their schedule for their shift (even for an hour) to fix yet another mistake from laziness! Do you know how many hours we lose repairing and reworking other people's work because they are of the mindset that "Ah - it's Friday and this sanding is good enough. If not, the finishers will take care of it!"?

From contributor F:
I agree. If you're looking at best ways to mark defects in the finish or packing departments, you are not looking at defects close enough in the rough mill or machining departments. I run the rough end of our company and I preach defect detection there, when the lumber comes off the truck. We rip first, mould, then defect to our standards. The problem we encounter the most is determining what a defect is and what character is. My management does not like knots, open, pin knots, and closed knots. I have 3 people in the mill and that includes myself. I have to stop setting up the moulder when one of the detectors comes up and says will this go. Doesn't take long, but is very nerve wracking. We are having a weekly Monday morning meeting starting now to get everybody on the same page as well as empowering employees in each department so they can help. Input, suggestions, etc. If the product is right when it leaves the mill, then the machine room has it easier, the finish room has it easier, packing inspection has it easier, and repairman loves it. Bottom line is increase in bottom line - profit.

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