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How do companies identify their process weaknesses?

“In 2018 more cars than ever before were recalled to German garages due to safety problems”, writes the Handelsblatt. 3.7 million cars in total. KBC already published its Recall Report 2018 in July. So it’s time to act, but how can companies manage to reduce their recalls? Recall campaigns resulting from poor end-product quality are a considerable cost driver for companies, with rapidly rising warranty costs. In order to reduce financial losses as well as image loss and customer frustration as a result of recall campaigns as quickly as possible, many companies resort too short to medium-term measures such as product changes.

However, if companies are to succeed in sustainably avoiding such product problems not only reactively but also preventively for future products, process weaknesses must be systematically identified and sustainably optimised.

But why do companies not have all this in place already?

For many companies, reactive problem management has been the panacea for reducing warranty costs associated with field problems and recalls for years. However, product problems are not solved on a long-term basis and especially not across product generations, as the processes always facilitate the same or similar faults. Product problems are therefore caused by a lack in process optimisation, which could serve to prevent faults.

Modern problem management for processes is therefore the solution.

This company-wide process for locating process weaknesses is intended to answer the following key questions:

  • At which point along the process chain did the fault occur?
  • At which point along the process chain could or should the fault have been discovered?

The right and causal process weaknesses can be specifically identified with the help of a company-specific fault tree, which considers between 200 and 300 possible generic causes.

First, the specific fault tree is defined together with the customer based on the respective value-adding and non-value-adding processes as well as KBC’s Best Practice experience. This includes generic process causes to answer the above questions. In a second step, the specific analysis procedure and associated analysis, control and reporting tools are developed on the basis of VBA and Microsoft Excel, for example. This is followed by the roll-out of the new processes and initial analyses to identify process weaknesses, for example in the form of workshops with the specialist departments of the value-adding and non-value-adding processes.

This allows us to ensure that process weaknesses are continuously identified, even after transfer to the line functions.

Please feel free to contact us to talk about our experience regarding “Modern Problem Management for Processes” or on “Locating Process Weaknesses”.

Tobias Budde
Partner

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