Busy Fixing Errors

I was reading an interesting entry on Gemba’s blog about attempts to find a failure in Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner. The article points out that there is little merit in quality checks which reveal mistakes we have to “rollback” in order to prevent a disaster (which is a costly process). A more efficient solution would be to implement and maintain a systemic approach in production — to avoid or solve errors instantly, preferably on the spot. This is what Toyota does.


Stepping out of production… We have processes everywhere. Many a times, on the level of an individual, we plunge into corrective activities which are, in principle, a direct result of a problem we’ve created ourselves, i.e. by a faulty process. The worst case scenario is a process which is so error-prone that we feel we haven’t got time to redesign it and implement self-corrective mechanisms (we are busy fixing the results). In other words, we are like Stephen Covey’s proverbial woodcutter sawing mindlessly instead of taking the time to sharpen the saw.

This reminded me of Bob Parson’s (CEO of Godaddy) “16 Rules”:

10. Anything that is not managed will deteriorate.