Cabinet Making Quality Story

Improvement Insights Blog

Cabinet Making Quality Story

John, a senior executive who went to Japan, told this story of using the “Weapon of Quality” to help out a cabinet making business:

“Hi, I’m Jay Arthur, author of “Lean Six Sigma For Hospitals” and the QI Macros [software].

“I’ve been telling you my story about John, who was a senior executive at a lumber and wood company. It was interesting to me just listening to him talk.

“Once he retired, he was just sitting around and one of his friends who ran a cabinet making business gave him a call and said, “Can you help me out? I’m having all these problems.“ This company worked with the big Home Depots and Lowe’s and so on, and they were struggling because if something was defective they just trash it and then debit their account for the amount of money that it costs. It was costing them a lot of money. So anyway, John went in and said, “Well, I’ll see what I can do to help you out.”

“They discovered that one of their biggest problems was screws… right? Screws don’t cost that much, but if they snap when you’re trying to put them in or the head spins off because your pneumatic drill is too strong or whatever it is, that’s really hard to fix. So what they did was they figured out what kind of screws were important and could handle the stress of being put together. They set up specifications and their suppliers had to prove that their screws met the specifications for torque and everything else. That made construction a lot faster, and their products then worked better in the stores and were not returned as much.

“They actually did an analysis on this and they found that one store in one state was like 90 percent of the returns. You know, people didn’t like it, they just whack it with a hammer and say it’s broken and bring it back, right? So now we can work on that one… that one store that’s problematic. What’s going on there, right? That’s a… customer problem, not a supplier problem.

“Then he also found out that sometimes the pneumatics drill had too much torque so would snap the [screw] heads off. Well, if you snap the head off of a screw, guess what? You have to drill the screw out to be able to put it back together. That’s a lot of heavy rework, and so between screws and pneumatic drill changes, guess what? They stopped having all this rework and they started making tons of money. With the weapon of quality, they started to stealing market share from everybody else who made cabinets… everybody else.

“This is an opportunity. Think about how that could be.

“Let’s create a hassle-free America, hassle-free healthcare. Let’s go out and improve something this week.”

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