Inspect Products at the Right Time


Inspections used to be left until the later stages of the process – often just before the finished products were delivered to customers. As there was more chance of a product being faulty by the end of the process, all defects could be found in one big, final inspection. But the longer a unit is in a process, the more time and money is spent on it – so it makes sense to find faults as early as possible before any more money is wasted by working on a defective unit. It is better for a baker to find bad eggs when they arrive at the bakery, rather than use the eggs and then scrap the finished cakes.

Your first quality control inspections should come at the beginning of the process, testing materials as they arrive from suppliers – and there is a strong case for inspections within suppliers’ own operations. Then you should have inspections all the way through the process to the completion of the final product and its delivery to customers. Some particularly important places for insperctions are:

  • On raw materials when they arrive;
  • At regular intervals during the process;
  • Before high-cost operations;
  • Before irreversible operations, like firing pottery;
  • Before operations that might hide defects, like painting;
  • When production is complete;
  • Before shipping to customers.

This may seem like a lot of inspections, but remember that most of them are done by people working on the process. Quality at source means that the products are not taken away for testing in some remote laboratory, but are checked at each step before being passed on the next step.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

Should Firms “Fire” their Customers?


A logical conclusion to be drawn is that firms should somehow get rid of those customers who are not right for the company. More and more companies are making these types of decisions based on the belief that troublesome customers are usually less profitable and less loyal, and that it may be counter productive to attempt to retain their business. Another reason for firing a customer is the negative effect that these customers can have on employee quality of life and morale.

 Although it may sound like a good idea, ‘firing’ customers is not that simple and needs to be done in a way that avoids negative publicity or negative word of mouth. Sometimes raising prices or changing for services that previously had been given away for free can move unprofitable customers out of the company. Helping a client find a new supplier who can better meet its needs is another way to gracefully exit a nonproductive relationship. If the customer has become too demanding, negotiating expectations or finding more efficient ways to serve the client can also salvage the relationship. If not, both parties may find an agreeable way to end the relationship.

 My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight