Is Quality free - Do not shed a tear until they see the coffin

In my previous article,  we already know the 3 main reasons why quality is not free which are all related to design.

In the past most of the manufacturing processes are very much dependant on human where most of the defect have direct cause are human error, therefore emphasis on “do it right the first time” was focused on the manufacturing process.

If a further root cause analysis is done,  the final cause is actually due to design per the example below. 

A simple example would be doing a 5 why analysis

From the figure above,  it seems that the manufacturing cause is the cause of the component damage when we deep dive the root cause is pointed to the design issue where the component is designed too near to the edge of the board and cause handling damage.

This will increase the cost of manufacturing due to extra control, rework, more inspection and risk of shipping defect to customer. 

We can move towards quality is free by understanding how to prevent or minimize the  4 types of quality cost



Suggested Mitigation  Plan

Appraisal cost

Cost of performing test and inspection on a product to screen out potential defect include inspector.

·       Create testing which replicate customer environment


Internal failure cost

Cost of rework or scrapped product which does not comply to the spec

·       Product design that are error proof


External failure cost

Cost of poor quality at customer site which involve warranty cost, product recall, lost of customer trust

·       Plan in quality per prevention cost plan, then quality is really free


Prevention cost

Cost of preventing a defect through quality planning of design in quality and build in quality

·       Ensure quality function gets involved during the early design stage

·       Benchmark on predecessor product if any to correct the problem

·       Proper FMEA involve all downstream function such as production and customer quality

·       Study how product being used in customer environment and design the part for customer convenience


From the table above,  it is shown that by focusing on preventive cost through proper quality planning would have minimized the appraisal cost and even eliminate failure cost.  Bear in mind quality issues design stage will on 1/1000 of the failure cost at the customer site.

Unfortunately, many organizations choose not to put in effort in quality planning during the design stage and hope the problem will never surface during manufacturing or customer site.   The management mindset does not shed a tear until they see the coffin (不見棺材不落淚 ) had caused them to pay for enormous quality cost especially if failure happens at customer integration. 

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