One of the biggest lessons I learned from the Sensei during my shop-floor Kaizen was the importance of not fixing errors passed on to you without involving the team that made the mistake.
The paint team did not always clear the holes where parts were to connect. My sub-assembly team would just grab a grinder when they found the problem and fix it themselves. The Sensei had them pull the andon and bring someone from the paint team to correct the error with the sub-assembly team instead.
The timing took longer when the other team had to come into the sub-assembly area but it brought an awareness back to the paint team to ramp-up their quality control. During the three days I was watching the process, I did not see the paint error go away, but I do know they started a plan to prevent the problem in the future. They never would have made these plans if they were not alerted to the error. This also brought the paint team to gemba instead of just getting a report or email of the problems experienced.
The sub-assembly team was able to continue working on other areas of the product while the paint team fixed the mistake. By not spending their time fixing another department’s mistake, the sub-assembly team was able to continue their focus.
In a an organization with strong team values, it is easy for workers to quietly fix a mistake passed on to them. Errors become persistent and do not stop in that kind of environment. If we change our culture and bring back “That’s not my job”, we can make great strides in quality.
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