“If you don’t do it right the first time, do you think you will have the time to do it right the second time?”

Wow !

Coming from a grand-mother, decades ago, this is probably the strongest argument in favor of Contemporary quality that I have heard…ever ! (Yvonne Simmons Howze, Quality Progress December 2014).

I recently took part in a stimulating discussion on a social platform. The topic was something akin to : is it worth it to do it right the first time ?

Just try asking this to guy folding his parachute !

Obviously, this question did not come from a quality manager but rather from his colleague in operations.
The discussion was rather…. enthusiastic !
The worst part of it is… it does occur again and again in our organizations. The Quality person must argue in favor of this and his or her colleagues put in their weight against it.

Grand’ma was right !

The cost of doing it right later than the first time is so high that it should not be a question.

But then, are the cost of quality well evaluated in your organization ? 
If you think so, check again.
Crosby mentioned in his book (I know, I know, it is decades old but read it anyway !) that when you do not know FOR SURE what the cost of your quality is, chances are it is around 20-30% of your revenues.

My experience of the last few years confirmed this. My clients were flabbergasted when we started discussing this topic but they all found out that the cost of quality (or non-quality if you are so inclined) was always much, much higher than expected.
Some of them did not think of rework and re-inspection as part of this calculation !!! Some of them had full teams in place to do just that ! They even had full procedures, forms and what have you to make sure they were compliant…. compliant in their rework!!!

I always try to provide a story to tell them how bad this way of thinking is. Of course, the goal of a story is to touch their heart so it is rather… unusual.

I was discussing documentation error in front of executives and managers in a manufacturing company a few years ago when the finance officer reacted rather strongly.

“Hey, you keep saying that we make a lot of mistake but you must realize that we SEE them before we ship the products to the clients. We CORRECT them ! Your numbers do not make sense !”

I was just telling them that being 99% perfect represented 700 babies dropped on the floor at the moment of their birth (numbers based on Quebec birth rate of approximately 70 000 new babies a year). Upon hearing the finance guy’s argument I expanded this example.

“Oh?, I interjected, in that case it would mean that upon dropping a baby, the nurse would look at the mother and say “Hey lady, we will put your baby back in, push once more and we will NOT drop him this time !”

“Do not be ridiculous !” replied the finance guy.

Well…. although the story IS ridiculous, the analogy is NOT.

Re-doing what should have been done does not make sense.

Another anecdote, this one more serious, based on facts but I cannot find the exact reference.

An American manufacturer of integrated circuits decided to out-source off-shore to an Asian plant. The specifications were crystal clear : no more than 0.5% defect.

The first trial batch came back for final inspection. When the American inspectors opened the boxes they found 1000 perfect parts along with a small bag containing the 5 defective parts.

THIS is what we should all strive for.

And thus, make grand’ma pretty, pretty happy !


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