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How Factories Can Avoid Production Over-Correction

Fact: Over-correcting your production is eating into your profit margins and unnecessarily increasing your carbon emissions. In this article we’ll explore reasons why manufacturers may engage in over-designing or over-correcting, how root cause analysis will help avoid it, and how Fero Root Cause Explorer will help you to do so in a fraction of time.

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Fact: Over-correcting your production is eating into your profit margins and unnecessarily increasing your carbon emissions.

In this article we’ll explore reasons why manufacturers may engage in over-designing or over-correcting, how root cause analysis will help avoid it, and how Fero Root Cause Explorer will help you to do so in a fraction of time.

Manufacturing teams need to strike a balance between making necessary production adjustments and avoiding unnecessary changes that negatively impact operational efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

But over-correction is not the answer.

Manufacturers may over-design or over-correct their production processes for various reasons, and these reasons can vary depending on the industry, company culture, and specific circumstances. 

Here are some common reasons why manufacturers may engage in over-designing or over-correcting:

1. Risk Aversion

- Manufacturers may have a risk-averse mindset, fearing the potential consequences of under-designing or under-correcting. This can lead to an overemphasis on adding safety margins and redundancies to ensure that the production process can handle unforeseen variations or challenges.

2. Quality Assurance

- The desire to maintain high-quality standards and meet customer expectations may drive manufacturers to err on the side of caution. Over-designing and over-correcting can be seen as a strategy to prevent defects, errors, or deviations from specifications.

3. Regulatory Compliance

- Compliance with industry regulations and standards is critical for many manufacturers. Over-designing may be a way to ensure that the production process consistently meets or exceeds these requirements, reducing the risk of regulatory issues.

4. Historical Incidents

- Previous incidents, failures, or quality issues in the manufacturing process can lead to a conservative approach. Manufacturers may over-compensate by implementing additional safeguards to prevent a recurrence of past problems.

5. Lack of Confidence in Predictive Models

- Uncertainty about the accuracy of predictive models or simulations can lead manufacturers to incorporate extra safety factors or design margins to account for potential discrepancies between theoretical predictions and real-world outcomes.

6. Customer Expectations

- Some manufacturers may perceive that customers expect robust, fail-safe products or services. To meet these perceived expectations, they may opt for over-designing to ensure that the final output exceeds customer requirements.

7. Fear of Liability

- Manufacturers may be concerned about potential legal consequences or liabilities associated with product failures. Over-designing can be seen as a proactive measure to minimize the risk of litigation and damage to the company's reputation.

8. Cultural Factors

- Organizational culture plays a significant role. In some companies, there may be a cultural inclination toward conservatism and a preference for over-designing as a way of demonstrating thoroughness and diligence.

9. Lack of Optimization Tools

- In some cases, manufacturers may lack sophisticated tools or methodologies for optimization and efficiency improvement. As a result, they may resort to over-designing as a straightforward approach to addressing perceived risks.

10. Market Competition

- Fierce competition in the market may drive manufacturers to over-correct in an attempt to outperform competitors, especially in terms of product reliability, durability, and overall quality.

While these reasons may justify a certain level of precaution, it's essential for manufacturers to strike a balance between ensuring reliability and efficiency and avoiding unnecessary costs associated with over-designing or over-correcting.

Continuous improvement methodologies, such as Lean, Six Sigma, or the Fero Labs Augmented Intelligence Platform can help you optimize your processes without compromising quality or reliability.

Over-correction or over-design is often due to a lack of root cause analysis

Instead of conducting a thorough analysis to identify the root causes of problems, over-correction relies on quick fixes or surface-level adjustments.

Over-correcting a solution may address symptoms temporarily but it fails to address the underlying issues that caused the problems in the first place.

Reliance on over-corrections can result in many unwanted and undesirable impacts:

  • Increased Costs: Over-correction may lead to the unnecessary use of resources, such as labor, time, and materials. This can result in increased production costs and resource wastage.

  • Reduced Efficiency: Lean manufacturing principles focus on streamlining processes for maximum efficiency. Over-correction disrupts the smooth flow of production and can result in downtime and inefficiencies. It can also impact standardization processes and the ability to establish best practices.

  • Waste of resources: Lean manufacturing aims to eliminate waste in all forms, including material waste. Over-correction may lead to the scrapping or reworking of materials, contributing to resource wastage.

  • Inconsistency: Over-correction can introduce inconsistency into the manufacturing process, as changes are made without a standardized and well-defined approach. Lack of consistency hinders efforts to establish best practices.

  • Disruption of Flow: The constant need for correction can disrupt the smooth flow of the production line, leading to downtime, delays, and inefficiencies.

  • Impact on Quality: Over-correction may inadvertently introduce new errors or quality issues that deviate from the principles of lean and Six Sigma. Rapid and frequent changes to fix these issues can compromise the overall quality of the final product.

  • Extended Lead Times: Lean manufacturing principles stress the importance of reducing lead times to meet customer demands. Over-correction can introduce delays and impact the timely delivery of products.

  • Employee Frustration: Employee satisfaction is the key aspect of lean manufacturing. Frequent changes and corrections can create frustration and hinder the development of a stable and motivated workforce.

  • Negative Impact on Innovation: Lean manufacturing encourages a culture of continuous improvement and innovation. Over-correction without a strategic approach can divert attention from long-term improvement initiatives.

How to avoid overcorrecting manufacturing processes

To avoid overcorrection, manufacturing processes should emphasize a systematic and data-driven approach to problem-solving the specific problems or challenges which are hindering optimal performance. This could include defects, variations, downtime, low efficiency or other issues impacting quality or production output.

Augmenting your existing production data and your teams’ industrial knowledge with Fero ML can make light work of identifying responsible root causes. From batch release testing, or disaster / incident response analysis, through to continuous process root cause analysis to spot check production periodically.

The analysis that might take your team weeks to work on can be plugged into the Fero Labs platform to be addressed in minutes, and retained as an essential knowledge base for best practices and training in the future.

Using the Fero Root Cause Explorer to identify root causes for continuous production improvement, in addition to a focus on process stability, will help address issues in a more informed, sustainable and effective manner than over-correction.

See the Fero Root Cause Explorer in action. Book a live demo today!