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Dear friends,

It is observed that blue collar / Unionize workmen are doing lot off petty mistakes while working, which lead to inferior quality product, production loss and customer complaints.

How to control / avoid such mistakes, does anyone have any ideas apart from the regular disciplinary actions, by mutual understanding with the union.

If anyone is having please suggest.


Pradeep Agrawal

Dinesh Divekar

Dear Mr Pradeep Agrawal,

I understand your challenge. Nevertheless, rather than looking at the colour of the collar, let us look at the people who commit mistakes. Why do they commit the mistakes? Are they fit to be employed? Have you documented the recruitment standards and if yes, then are these used in recruitment? What kind of recruitment tests were conducted before taking them on board?

The second question is whether your company has imbibed a quality culture in the minds of all the staff of the company? Do they live with the quality?

The third question is whether they are paid as per the market standards or paid the minimum wages? People with minimum wages cannot be expected to give an output of maximum quality.

I recommend you measure the Cost of Poor Quality (COPQ). Identify which factors contribute the highest to the COPQ. Remove those causes. Later on, turn attention to the second rung of factors and so on.

Measuring the COPQ is just one part of the improvement. How about the other costs and ratios associated with the business? Have you studied the systems and processes of each department and measured them scientifically?

The next suggestion is to document the processes to the last detail training the staff (in the local language) on the implementation of the processes. I have seen MNCs employing low-IQ staff. However, their systems and processes are so strong that even a person with sub-par intelligence also works.

The last suggestion is on the introduction of automation. Day by day, reliance on manual work is getting reduced. Automation helps increase the quality.

I provide training and consulting services in the field of Supply Chain Management (SCM), Ops Management etc. Hence the above questions and suggestions.


Dinesh Divekar

From India, Bangalore

It looks like you are trying to treat the symptom rather than the disease. It looks like deeper issues are involved and a realistic diagnosis of the situation is called for. Bringing a 'quality culture' in your organisation is needed and you need to be ready for it.
From India, Mumbai

Please share some information about your company, industry and products. It seems your company does not have any Quality Control Department.

How your QC department certifies inferior quality products, OK and passed the products for sales ?

From India, Aizawl
Dinesh Divekar

Dear Mr Radhakrishnan Nair,

The problems mentioned in the post are due to the lack of quality culture. It cannot be fostered merely by creating a strong QC department. What if the QC rejects a lot of material but while doing so clears a few unworthy ones. Their unworthiness is discovered at the customer's end?

The production of defective goods generates unnecessary inventory. It leads to the increased time spent on rework also. This, in turn, throws the production schedule out of gear. Customer dissatisfaction also happens because of missed deadlines.

The production of defective goods puts the staff under pressure. This disturbs the interpersonal environment in the company. Because of the disturbed interpersonal environment workers commit still more errors.

To come out of this vicious cycle, the only thing that can be done is to ensure that "doing the right thing the first time". Precision and accuracy in work, both are the best tools for time management and also customer satisfaction. However, it is much easier said than done. This is the test of leadership!


Dinesh Divekar

From India, Bangalore

Hi Pradeep:

Mistakes that lead to Quality issues/ customer dissatisfaction are no longer "petty" in nature.

Coming to major quality issues, even if the production has manufactured non-compliant items, it is the responsibility of QC/QA department to filter out the low quality goods.

From India, Rohtak
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