Solve Quality Issue in China Electronics OEM EMS CEM Manufacturing & Production
China Topscom Posted, Inspection & Quality Control, Lean Manufacturing, Quality & Manufacturing
I sometime get amazed by the behavior of some production or quality managers when a quality issue rise on production in China. Quite often, they will try to supply with a solution on the current batch by patching the problem with a short term correction without fully understanding why and how this quality issue happened. Yet, correction doesn't provide a long lasting solution. Normally they should investigate the root cause in order to provide a corrective action plan so that the considered quality issue never happen again in the future. This provide a proactive solution and not just a reactive one.
A typical example: if an electrical appliance product break out and doesn't work anymore due to fuse melting after a surge of current, then the factory will just replace the fuse but will rarely investigate why a surge of current happened in the system to prevent it to happen again.
Why chinese manufacturers don't always perform root cause analysis
Well, you have to understand that root cause analysis is time consumming and require technical or engineering skills. For example, in the case of an electrical appliance it means that the engineer in charge of design of the product should normally review the design and defective unit to analyze the reason why the product broke out.
Problem may comes from design, conception, manufacturing, equipment, workmanship, procurement, environment, processeses. In any case, investigation to search in the right direction can be laborious, complex and for sure time consumming.
Quite often, with necessity to ship their goods quickly to their overseas customers, some manufacturers consider they just don't have not enough time to manage problem. Hence, they deal with them on the spot on a short term minded way instead of investing a bit more time to find a long term reliable solution which would avoid them wasting time later again on the next batch.
Another obstacles to performing root cause analysis for improving a process is simply just potentially a lack of process itself, training or documentation in the quality management system of the manufacturer. Indeed, the fact to establish a correction action plan after a root cause analysis being done is not naturally automatic for everybody.
If your quality management system doesn't tell you to do it or if you have not even been trained to understand the importance of doing it, then you might just skip it. So, I would say that root cause analysis and corrective action plan establishment will not be an obstacles if and only if the considered organization have effectively implemented a root cause analysis and corrective action plan procedure in its quality management system.
Using Fishbone diagram for root cause analysis
When trying to identify root causes related to quality issue on manufacturing environment, different methodologies can be considered. One of the most used root cause analysis methodology is called Fishbone Diagram, Cause and Consequences Diagram, or in the Lean Manufaturing verbiage "Ishikawa diagram" (name from its creator, which of course was Japanese