How to Eliminate Defects and Double Your Plant’s Profit: Bottom Line Cash for Manufacturers

If you’re looking for a way to get more net profit from your shop floor without any capital or tooling outlay, the method you are about read is fantastic. It will take you far down the road to higher profit, productivity, and shorter lead times, just by using the simple, powerful production improvement method fully explained in a “how-to” fashion in this article.

The Profit Impact of Marketing Strategy (PIMS) empirically-based database identifies 37 variables that account for the majority of business success. Dibb, Simkin, Pride and Ferrell (p676) identify lower costs and higher quality of product among the most important indicators (

Here’s why this method is so effective at solving the most difficult manufacturing problems and allows its users to pass from high defect levels such as 1% (ten thousand defects per million) to zero defects.

Million-Dollar Benefits of Using this article
1. Reduce customer or next- operation returns.
2. Increase machine up time and machine yields.
3. Eliminate rework and reduce material waste.
4. Radically reduce inspection.
5. Speed product design, lower design costs.
6. Raise field reliability –> raise customer safety and enjoyment of product.
7. Reduce cycle times (because of #3 & #4). 8. Improve vendor supplies (and vendor relationships).

Almost any application imaginable
-“Why do some setups produce defective parts?”
-“Why does our machine/cutter make so many parts too big and too small?”
– Press forming, cutting of all kinds, milling, tapping, grinding, etc.
– Metal, wood, plastic, ceramic, composites, semiconductors, etc.
– Automated or manual machining
– Electrical discharge machining, electrochemical erosion machining, water jet cutting, laser cutting, electron beam machining, photochemical machining, and ultrasonic machining, etc.
– “Why does our automated welder make some burn-through welds and some cold welds (insufficient fusion)?”
– “Why has our gas usage increased when our volume decreased over that same period of time?”
– “Why does laser welders for sale make so many OOT parts?”

The following method applies to both production and product design:

STEP 1 Choose the process you want to improve.
a) Pick one of the most chronically defective processes in the shop.
b) Pick a process where the operator, technician and engineer know there are 5 to 20 factors that may possibly be causing the problem. If less than 5 factors, congratulations — you may skip Step 3!

Note: Step 3 is designed specifically for a process rather than a product. If you are concerned with a product (you want to discover which component is giving the problem), you may adapt Step 3 with some success.

STEP 2 List the possible factors.

Once you’ve chosen which process to bring to zero defects:

a) Call a session to generate a list of all the factors (“variables” or “causes”) that may be causing the problems. Assemble a small group of people with knowledge of the process — an operator, a machine repair person, an engineer, etc. The group should be big enough to provide animated verbal play, yet small enough to invite individual participation and free-wheel brainstorm- style inventing — ideally from 5 to 7 people.

b) Make the meeting informal. Pick an environment that ensures that you and others can relax. Face them side by side facing a white board, and people will respond to the problem depicted there.

c) Ban criticism of suggested causes. Don’t allow the discussion to drift into a debate about any particular possibility — just write the possibility on the white board and prompt for more ideas.

d) Take the group on a walk-around where the process actually takes place. This will joggle memories, understanding, and ideas. Their thorough input is necessary to be properly prepared for the testing phase of this process.

e) Re-list the factors — the input parameters of the process — A, B, C, etc., in order of their perceived effect on the output. Include all of them — you may be surprised.