Symptoms are opportunities if we learn to move quickly and minimize additional damage. As one defect can cause numerous symptoms, one failure can cause numerous symptoms. Those symptoms can be seen visually and/or felt, heard, smelled and in some cases tasted. The challenge today is understand the root cause of the symptom and make sure all the assumed related symptoms are corrected.
A major problem we face today is effective communications by the individual and between all responsible parties. We must understand how symptoms impact the overall system. The appearance of oil floating across the gulf is only one small piece of the overall damage. The system and all it’s members suffer as damage accumulates.
Example: As four people enter a vehicle they (1) see moisture inside the windshield. While they drive to their destination one passenger (2) smells an odor coming from the rear of the vehicle. While driving only the female passenger (3) hears a noise at the same time the driver says (4) he feels a vibration in the steering wheel. Is each one of these symptoms a different root cause? Could they all be related? How many repairs are required? How many trips to the repair facility and how many repairs will be performed? In this example, there should only be one repair performed on this vehicle because a secondary door latch is not locking fully.
In this example a single root cause has generated a minimum of four (4) different symptoms. Once I searched a database for Noise Symptoms and got things like burp, chirp, whistle, moan, etc. Until the root cause (System/Sub-System/Component) is determined and completely understood, some of the symptoms will be labeled No Problem Found!? No problem found and Trouble not identified (TNI) accounts for billions of wasted dollars spent each year by companies who produce all kinds of products. Obviously the more complex the product the more TNI exist. Another costly related area is intermittent failures. Intermittent problems is a huge problem with customer service because the same problem come and goe, repeatedly. The most common response to and intermittent problem is we can’t fix something which is not broken. When I’ve been involved with these kind of issues, I say, lets review past related failures and bingo we find several different types of the same failure and numerous related symptoms. Failure Mode Effects Analysis (FMEA)
Six Sigma Quality target is 3.14 defects per million operations. More than 3.14 defects per operation is not acceptable and less defects are not worth the additional effort, cost.
So how does one become more efficient? Big business writes off what they didn’t understand as NOISE within the data. Today, this is and unacceptable risk. Accountability for all Business Decisions Is Essential and will be rewarded and confirmed with long term success.
Company Feedback which includes symptoms is the first critical step of understanding your customer and product. The more efficient companies don’t have long wait times because they learn from there customer feedback and become a more effective operation. This is a good sign your producing a zero defect products.
Generating short term profits is relatively easy today… But the challenge is to sustain profits in a dynamic world which is much more challenging… Long term profits are sustained over time and they will generate greater rewards and the primary key to success is “Learning from your customers feedback!”