Computers and machines have done amazing things in the manufacturing industry. They not only help to streamline processes, but also prevent a lot of mistakes and ensure things get done much more quickly. Even with all these advancements, however, there is still a great need for employees to take care of a lot of the work in any facility. For the most part, these individuals do a great job keeping the work flowing well, but occasionally there are human errors that occur.
It will never be possible to completely eliminate all human error from a workplace, however, it is important to work toward that goal anyway. Finding ways to minimize human error, and catch the errors that do occur as quickly as possible is very important for any facility. The following concepts are used in many factories and manufacturing plants around the world to help fix the problem of human error.
Catching Errors Early
When an error does occur it often ends up causing more problems along the line, until it is caught. Facilities should work hard to put processes in place to catch any type of human error as soon as it happens, so the process can be halted until it is fixed. If the error is something minor, it will only take a moment to fix or remove the problem. For larger problems, it is best to take care of the issue right away so it doesn’t continue on unchecked.
To catch these errors facilities can rely on mechanical processes to check on things like the measurements of parts or any other abnormalities that they can detect. It is also possible to have other employees looking over the work that people do to ensure problems are caught as quickly as possible. Human inspectors are a great way to catch and fix errors right away.
Kaizen Guide: Better your business with continuous improvement
To be successful, you can’t make an improvement once and forget about it. Effective lean businesses use kaizen, which means “continuous improvement”. In kaizen, everyone looks for ways to improve processes on a daily basis. This Kaizen Guide explains the kaizen mindset, basic kaizen concepts including the PDCA cycle, and real-world examples.
Training employees properly will go a long way toward helping to eliminate errors in the facility. In many cases, people make mistakes because they didn’t realize that they were doing something wrong. Training people to perform certain tasks in the right way will help to avoid many problems in any facility. It is important to ensure that a facility is not just providing a one-time training, however. Ongoing training is necessary to ensure problems don’t creep into the process.
Finding the Root Cause
This is perhaps the most important of the tips on this list. When human errors occur, many people are tempted to just fix the problem and move on as quickly as possible. While sometimes that is necessary, it doesn’t actually solve the problem permanently. Instead, take a little extra time to identify why something went wrong.
In many cases it will be possible to identify a root cause for the error that occurred, and then take steps to keep it from happening in the future. This might be something like an employee was not shown the proper technique for doing the job, in which case they could be trained properly in order to prevent the problem from occurring again. There are, of course, many different types of problems, and the more of them you can trace back to a root cause, the easier it will be to eliminate issues.
It is very important for management to remember that mistakes will happen. In the vast majority of cases, people aren’t intentionally causing problems or making mistakes, so punishment is not normally necessary. Instead, work with the employee who made the mistake to try to help find out why it happened. Employees who are worried about getting written up, or losing their job, will experience much more stress, which can lead to more problems.
When you work with the employees to find out why something went wrong, they will be more likely to trust you, and perform their job better in the future.
- Resistance to Change in LEAN and How to Overcome it
- Poka Yoke – Mistake Proofing
- Faster – 10 Tips to Increase Your Productivity
- Incentives and Safety Programs – A Match Made in Heaven?
- Lean Six Sigma Checklist for Success
- Standardization and Lean
- How to Implement 5S in an Organization– creativesafetysupply.com
- Human Errors Cause Equipment Failures– blog.5stoday.com
- Human Factors – How Do They Impact Safety?– realsafety.org
- Is it Really an Operator Error or Something Else?– blog.creativesafetysupply.com
- 10 Reasons Why to Inspect Rental Equipment– babelplex.com
- Why Six Sigma Root Cause Analysis is a Great Tool– kaizen-news.com