Rework and the success of your business

Posted by Keith Jolie on Friday, October 19, 2012 Under: Strategies
Not too long ago I was part of a meeting which was addressing a quality issue within a company.  There was a concern that a large volume of the services being provided were not meeting the specifications requested by a client and several solutions were being considered to verify or re-qualify the data that was being presented to the client;  solutions that would have required someone to go back and check the quality of the work that someone else had already completed and some that required substantial technology (software) adaptations. 

I was reminded of time I spent in university working a summer job in manufacturing.  In modern manufacturing there is a very high importance placed on quality and avoiding rework whenever possible by finding ways to eliminate waste and errors and producing a quality product the first time.  It struck me that in this case we were about to invest in a concerted and planned effort of rework.  

Unfortunately the leadership in this case didn't feel that manufacturing models were relevant to the conversation, but the eventual outcome proved that identifying the root cause of the problem and working towards better quality control early in the process was the only real solution.  

Almost 9 months later it was discovered inadvertently that an accidental change in software code that had gone undetected actually was causing the problem.  It was only then, that the company started addressing the root cause of the problem.

By that time several clients had fired the company, morale had plummeted, confidence in the service had impacted the motivation of the sales team and account management team and several employees were looking for other places to work.

If the business had done the work of finding the root of the problem at the outset, five very important things would have happened:

1)  Existing clients would have been satisfied sooner
2)  Revenue would have been saved
3)  Future sales would have occurred more reliably through referrals from existing clients
4)  The company would have saved thousands of hours of staff time
5)  Company morale and confidence in their service would have been maintained and possibly improved.

Investing time and effort towards quality early in a process almost always pays off with large dividends.   As you build your business processes, pay careful attention to customer feedback early on in the process and address any concerns by looking for the correct way to solve customer concerns.

By Keith Jolie

In : Strategies 

Tags: rework management "customer service" "root cause" 
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