Frequently Asked Questions





Don’t all of the existing systems already cover everything? 

Systems like Lean Manufacturing, Six Sigma, TQM and ISO 9000 tell you what you ought to do. They require attitude and commitment to be effective. Quality, cost and delivery problems still exist under various systems if they are not followed to the letter. The problem is not in the systems but rather in the failure to execute what those systems require. Process and Service Accountability links the required activities employee performance evaluations making it far more likely that they will be carried out. 

Scores will probably be low when Process and Service Accountability is initiated. What if after a few weeks the scores are still low? 

This is where that site manager has to step–in. Perhaps the workloads are too heavy, perhaps the individuals need more training or perhaps some organizational changes are required. In any case low scores in the performance of tasks that are part of the manufacturing and quality manuals is a cause for concern. Low scores indicate that many tasks are not being executed putting quality, cost and delivery at risk. 

What if I need the support of another department in order to complete a service requisition and they fail to do their part? 

The service requisition part of the Process and Service Accountability systems exist precisely so that everyone has what they need to meet their commitments. If you require support from another department submit a requisition as soon as you determine what you need. When setting the required date make sure that you give yourself time to react if the date is not met. If your requisition date is not met it is still up to you to find an alternate solution. You may have to call a vendor yourself, find another way to meet your “customer’s” requisition or, as a last resort, seek assistance from your manager.  I always use the analogy of needing medicine for your children; you would find a way to get it. 

What if I get many requisitions that need service from one day to the next? 

There are a couple of answers to this question. These days our “outside” customers often call with urgent requests to make a sale. The department that requires your service may have had as little time to react as you have. Think about a restaurant as an analogy. Restaurants react to customers needs in a matter of minutes rather than days. Yes, they have a standard menu but often you should too. Most requisitions are not different than something that you’ve done before. Prepare for those requests.

The second answer is in the requisitions themselves. Including the date that the service was requested along with the date required allows calculating lead-time. Computer records can identify those who consistently request service on short notice. The data can help determine if there is a problem of poor planning or points to the type of service environment that requires reaction on short notice. 

Process and Service Accountability is a very demanding system, how do people react to idea of having someone looking over their shoulder? 

The demands we place on ourselves have to be just as tough as those placed on us by our customers.  

What if other priorities keep you from performing the tasks that are being audited? 

The priority that you are tending to today is the routine task that you didn’t have time for yesterday.  

We’ve gone through so many systems that haven’t worked that we are skeptical. Why should we believe in this one? 

If you recall, the first time that you were told about the other system they really made sense. That’s because the ideas were good. You became discouraged not because they weren’t as good as they promised. You were discouraged because they weren’t followed-up. The Process and Service Accountability system helps you to get back on track on those good systems. 

I looked through our quality manual and manufacturing instructions. There are so many points to check that it would take a year to load them into the audit point databases. How long would it take us to get started? 

There are a lot of points. And they are all important otherwise they wouldn’t have been included in your manuals. You don’t have to enter them all in the system to get started though. Your quality department personnel can direct you to the points that have caused you problems from their daily records; start with those.  

What if there is a disagreement in the way the a method or procedure is interpreted?

An essential element of the system is the uncompromising nature of the audits. Each audit point must be recorded as seen. The engineers who establish and document the audit entries must review the items at the point of application to assure that they are appropriate and accurate. It is crucial that supervisors, operators, auditors and everyone who is being audited interpret the elements in the same way. This consensus depends in large part on the way that the audit items are written.

The auditor should be able to quickly determine if the audit item is in compliance. The line supervisors and support personnel should be fully knowledgeable of audit items; the auditor must not enter into a discussion each time that there is a non–compliance. If there is a disagreement as to whether the task or condition in the audit is being executed correctly, a process and/or quality engineer responsible for documentation of the audit item should arbitrate.

I’ve always given the production managers a monetary incentive for meeting their quality and delivery goals. Isn’t this the best way to get performance? 

In the absence of a system to measure performance of all departments this approach seems to be the most popular. A method that is sometimes referred to “throwing money at the problem.”  It also means that the production manager is not only responsible for the performance of his or her department but of everyone else’s as well.

The Process and Service Accountability system assumes that everyone in the organization should pull his or her own weight. The measurement system therein provides away to put that into practice. 

How much does it cost to implement the Process and Service Accountability system? 

      The costs directly associated with the implementation of the system consist of the engineering time to prepare audit lists, the salary of the auditor(s) and the clerk that maintains records and calculates scores and a two hours of PC computer time each day. Generally there will not be a net increase in direct costs of operating the system — since supervisors will not have to "chase down" support personnel they will be able to focus on their quality. They will be performing the monitoring that is often assigned to in-process inspectors.

The net effect of the system is to save a great deal of money by avoiding quality errors and the many delays that are encountered daily. The better question is: “How much does it cost not to implement it?”