Jump to content
  • 0

Zero Defects

Go to solution Solved by R Rajesh,

Zero Defect


Zero Defect - is a management tool that aims at reduction of defects in a process / product through prevention. It was conceived by Philip Crosby in the early 1960s. It is a quest for perfection in order to improve quality and uses the concept of “doing it right the first time” in order to avoid costly and time-consuming rectifications.



An application oriented question on the topic along with responses can be seen below. The best answer was provided by R Rajesh on 20th November 2017. 





Deming once said - 


Eliminate slogans, exhortations, and targets for the work force asking for zero defects and new levels of productivity. Such exhortations only create adversarial relationships, as the bulk of the causes of low quality and low productivity belong to the system and thus lie beyond the power of the work force.

Imagine a long running process with high workforce involvement. It is desirable that productivity and quality be improved but let us assume that automation is out of question. In your view, what should be the outlook towards workforce involvement, improvement and goal setting? You may support one or more of the options A, B, C, D, E, or F, below or create your own answer








Note for website visitors - Two questions are asked every week on this platform. One on Tuesday and the other on Friday.

Link to post
Share on other sites

17 answers to this question

Recommended Posts

  • 0
  • Solution

Let us see each one of the options


A. If it is desirable to set an objective of Zero Defect Quality, we should set the goal, but this should primarily be a top-down system driven initiative and not a bottom-up approach.

In my opinion, this is a feasible option and the right approach. Management needs to provide its workforce, a clear view and approach on zero defects and emphasis on increased productivity. A SMART goal should be set up by management. A well laid out plan and systematic and focussed awareness trainings on the importance of quality can reach out to an organisation’s workforce. 

A bottom up approach can also be plausible.


That however needs to be followed up by a proper business justification, with the right articulation of problem statement and mentioning clearly the Return of Investment (ROI). Often management expects the benefits to be tangible. Even after portraying the plan with potential benefits, in many organisations such proposals (coming from a lower-rung in the organisation) to up the quality and productivity requires multiple stakeholders’ approval before they are implemented.


B. Although there should be an effort to reach zero defects using both top-down and bottom-up approaches, this should not be converted into a slogan for workforce. 

  This approach i feel is good as long as the workforce thinks that management is working in tandem with them on quality by setting the strategies or setting up the conducive environment/platform. But having this quality mandate slogan for the workforce, will create a divisive mindset in the minds of the workforce, which will not be good for the organisation in the longer run.


C. Audacious goals create demotivation for management as well as workforce. They must be avoided.

In my view, this is a dangerous ploy. If the workforce is small and a dedicated team and is handpicked by management team, where the workforce is enlightened about the need for the goals and are bound/promised to get good recognition, in terms of salary hike or promotion or any other good professional opportunity, then this daring goals can have a positive impact for the workforce team or management team members (whoever is involved in this).  Else this will be a very demotivating factor and there would be so much mental agony, pressure, frustration, attrition, anger, across the team.


D. Workforce has limited ability to increase productivity or improve quality. Workforce is expected to follow instructions and cannot lead improvement projects. So, it is better to keep them isolated from productivity goals and zero defect initiatives.

In my view, this is not an ideal situation for the workforce. If the limitation is due to genuine reasons or due to the nature of work (which may be a rare case), then this approach is fine but only for a short duration.  If the workforce is expected to blindly follow the instructions, set up by the management/leadership team, it will not augur well for an Organisation. Soon there would be dissent and attrition. The team members could feel alienated from the organisation as they would feel that they are not being made responsible and given any responsibilities.     


E. Workforce if engaged in improvement initiatives can do wonders. While slogans and rigid targets should be avoided, improvements in quality and productivity should still be expected from workforce.

In my view, this is a positive approach. Management/Key stakeholders should upfront brief about the improvement initiatives to the workforce and highlight the necessity of the initiatives. That can trigger/evince interests amongst the workforce members.    


F. The ownership for such goals on productivity and quality lies with management and can never be forced as a justifiable target for workforce. 

This is the most important and key aspect.  Any goals related to productivity and quality improvement cannot be done easily or diligently without the involvement or the blessings of management or key stakeholders in almost all the organisations across the globe.


This is understandable because the Management /leadership team is the one that has got access to all other departments (such as Sales, Marketing, Accounting, Delivery,...) and knows what is needed (by the market) and what is in store internally and how to bridge the gap in terms  of quality and productivity and accordingly set the goals.


A shrewd management would put a short term visionary and a long term visionary plan/Road Map. With a SMART goal, it would address its issues on Quality and Productivity.  


Now how do the management take this further to its workforce? Can it thrust upon this to the   team?  No. It cannot do that. Management team needs to create the awareness on it goals on Quality and Productivity.  It should conduct various sessions on these. It should create the culture and create a “First Time Right” mindset to the workforce.  As part of the appraisal process, there can be goals related to productivity and quality, which addressed by the workforce, can be rewarded.  This way, quality, productivity improvement initiatives can get imbibed as part of the workforce’s DNA.



All options can happen depending upon an organisation’s strength, strategy, interests and other factors, though ideally in my purview,  the options, F, E, A (in that order)  are safe options which can give maximum advantage to improve quality and productivity due to the points aforementioned. Options B,D and C (in that order) are the least options that should be preferred.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

The journey towards workforce involvement, improvement and goal setting can be successfully completed by the following strategy.


1.    IPL – Idea Premier League

a.    A different kind of IPL, the Idea Premier League with its Management Committee, sub-committees, budgets, infra structure etc. is constituted.

b.    This IPL Management Committee has been equipped with adequate authority to take and implement process related decisions and is sufficiently staffed for process awareness and authority to change processes.

2.    Communication and Socialization of the IPL

a.    At regular intervals, all staff in the company are addressed through road shows, audio-visual presentations, Brochures, Pamphlets, Newsletters etc.

b.    Every staff is made to understand the benefits arising out of improvements and the process of the life cycle of an improvement idea from ideation to auditing benefits.

3.    KRAs (Key Result Areas) with improvement Targets for all

a.    All Management Staff in the organization (Supervisor and Above) have as per of their KRAs, improvement related targets in terms of monetary savings, no. of ideas from their Department or Line, extent of staff involvement and so on.

b.    These KRAs carry sufficient weight mandating focus

c.     A Manager gets his target from his Business Unit Head and allots the targets between his Supervisors.

4.    Ideation

a.    This is a forum open to all staff below the level of “Supervisor” i.e. only the work force is eligible to participate in this IPL

b.    Any eligible staff who has an idea to improve quality and productivity can drop the idea in the nearest Idea Box or post it in the IPL portal or mail it to the IPL Mail id in the relevant format that is available in both hard and soft forms

c.     The format includes description of the problem, proposed solution, expected benefits etc.

d.    Once the idea is received, the same will be acknowledged by the IPL Management Team, which will then process the idea under its Governance procedure

5.    Strong Idea Governance System

a.    A dedicated IPL Evaluation Team with representatives from all Functions will review the idea submitted and submit an Idea Implementation Feasibility Report (IIFR) within 24 hours of receipt of the idea that will state whether the idea can be implemented or not with the required justification of the same. This will involve if required a discussion with the ideator to understand the idea better. The evaluation will also decide on duplication and plagiarism of ideas.

b.    Once the IIFR is received, the IPL Management will review the same and decide on implementation and the time frame for the same.

c.     Wherever there is any investment required (Not related to automation), the IPL Management will decide if it can be accommodated in the current year’s IPL Budget or if there would be a need to include it in the next year’s budget

d.    The idea with the IPL Management’s decision is passed on to the IPL Implementation Team, who now plan and execute the implementation.

e.    The implementation can include one or more of alterations to equipment and tooling, investment and installation of new equipment and tooling, changes to processes, flow, layout, additional periodic reviews, short-term increased inspection to verify a change and so on.

f.      Whenever an idea is implemented, the line Supervisor send a weekly report, on the results from the change.

g.    At a planned monthly meeting, the IPL Management reviews the results of the implemented ideas and clears certain ideas as successful, some as to be further tested and where relevant can hold implementation for further discussions.

h.    The status is periodically communicated to the Ideator.

i.      At regular interval, the Finance team audits the benefits accrued out of improvements and publishes Financial Dashboards detailing benefits.

6.    IPL Awards

a.    Monthly, Quarterly and Annual Awards are instituted and given away

b.    Awards include, Monthly “Best Innings” awards for the best idea with the highest benefits, Quarterly “Man of the Match” awards for maximum no. of ideas and maximum benefits and Annual “Man of the Series” awards for maximum no. of ideas and maximum benefits.

c.     These awards are held at the Line, Departmental and Organizational levels

d.    Awards are carefully selected to be of both practical value to the awardee as well as something to be longed for.


The afore-mentioned approach which uses a bit of the options A, B, E and F would help the organization reach a state of having continual improvement embedded in its DNA

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

Zero Defects:


Considering the long running process with high workforce involvement. It is desirable that productivity and quality be improved but let us assume that automation is out of question. In that case, my view towards workforce involvement, improvement and goal setting would be with option 'E'

E. Workforce if engaged in improvement initiatives, can do wonders. While slogans and rigid targets should be avoided, improvements in quality and productivity should still be expected from workforce.


Even after the above is said,  it is still needs to be correlated with what type of process that the workforce is involved in.


Nothing is impossible in life. Zero defects also not impossible,but it could be very difficult to achieve.


Achieving Zero defects even from a process with fully automated is also difficult. 

But lets assume, Zero defects is not actually Zero but consider our Six Sigma performance level.


It is true that where workforce involved, if workers engaged in a fullest manner, it is not difficult.

But what matters is how to make them engaged or how to keep them engaged. No tools will help them keep motivated to the fullest, but still there could be something that makes them engaged to the fullest. According to me, it is most important factor to be discussed or considered.

Certain things such as Trust, Empowerment, Transparency, Right recognition if given, could help the workers be made fully involved.   


Finally when we talk about the workforce involvement, it is creating right intentions matters.

The sense of ownership is also matters a lot.

It could be the right combination of various attributes.


Another important that I would like to emphasis is that the emotional content cannot be neglected. Human emotion is the most important thing that every organization needs to be considered. Be it a fully automated or absolutely not automated process.  


It is not easy to monitor or even to help the emotional part, but still it is important that we keep trying.

Yes, if workforce engagement is there, we can still keep our expectation provided other factors mentioned above be considered.










Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

Improvement is a mindset not just for work force but for management included. Quality focus and productivity focus should be inculcated in to habit of everyone. Inclusion of everyone in this culture building process is the key. Goal setting should be cautiously handled only until it's a motivator for everyone. Management can take its vision,  mission, objectives and goal little seriously in terms of what it takes for them to be part of this journey and drive it. Management should lookout for ways to lead with examples so that workforce follows them with will. Management should design the system which simply provides career path for people to drive them with purpose and passion in the process achieving the quality and productivity. Management should make sure that the big picture of where does the contribution of people fit in for end users be made known so that it helps people build the best for users and also appreciate the fact of being part of bigger purpose in life. It's heavily management's initiative. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

Zero Defects an idea conceived by Phil Crosby in the early 1960s was a very successful approach until the 70s till a whole new range of programs like Total Quality Management, SPC, Malcolm Baldridge and Six Sigma resulted in Zero defects fading out. Companies preferred to use the user friendly Six Sigma to the slightly impractical Zero defects.

But let me try to explain what Zero defects is and how it works and will continue to work in spite of statistical approaches.

Zero defects focuses on Defect Prevention and removal of wastage in a project. It does not require any specialized training and can be managed by the existing employees. It has a very high performance standard and no defect is accepted at all in this concept. It is a quest for perfection in order to improve quality and uses the concept of “doing it right the first time” in order to avoid costly and time-consuming rectifications. This doesn’t mean that errors won’t be made during development, but they can be corrected before the product is released to the customer. Quality output delivered in a timely fashion with proper utilization of resources and within budget is what Zero defects theory focuses on. Zero defects also ensures higher customer satisfaction and increased sales and profits. Zero defects is a standard. It is a measure against which any outcome or action can be analysed.

Option A, E & F fit best in my opinion.

Unless management commits to zero defects and integrates it with corporate culture it will just not be possible to achieve zero defects. Zero defects requires a top down approach and  should be taken as the way things are to be done and followed in the whole organization. Unless Top management insists on quality improvement teams, zero defects cannot be achieved. Quality needs to be built into performance expectations. Top Management should ensure that teams are motivated on a continual basis and given the proper tools to achieve zero defects and rewarded as well for zero defects achievements.

Involvement of Top Management is also required as there should be continuous improvement in the production of goods and services so that inefficient process or application are cut down and business expanded. Top Management should ensure that customer requirements are met and a high quality product is delivered and enhanced customer satisfaction is achieved.

When zero defects is the goal set by Top Management, every aspect of the business  be it marketing, finance, design, engineering, production, customer service etc. from top level to bottom level is subject to scrutiny and check is conducted whether the organizational quality objectives are met or not.


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

I would support option E, which is coming closest to my belief and I would slightly re-phrase it as “Workforce, if engaged in improvement initiatives can do wonders. Apart from slogans and rigid targets, a joint ownership between Management and Workforce has to be struck upon for finalizing the improvement goals for Quality and Productivity”.


When we have a situation where a major automation is out of question, there is very high dependency on the workforce. Very often, there is a huge treasure of ‘tribal knowledge’ residing within an experienced workforce. Most of the solutions to problems can be understood only if we go closer to the problem.


It is to be kept in mind that when we humans talk of automation, in most cases we trying to create a method to repeatedly replicate what humans have been doing. For a moment consider each human as a ‘super-robot’ designed by God. The power of this super-robot called human cannot be fathomed and is beyond anyone’s estimation. The challenge is to get this human mind to think and give its utmost, and also to ensure that this human mind and body performs consistently. To get such an output from human force, we need to ensure that an appropriate environment is created that stimulates the highest level of motivation and self-respect.


I recall one of my mentors once telling me “Every human being in this world knows something that you do not know, and of course, you too know something that most other humans may not know”. This simple but powerful statement alters the way we look at fellow humans and inspires us to discover the best ways of involving the workforce in identifying and even implementing kaizens.


A well administered ‘Small Group Activity’ with reasonable reward and recognition program will go a long way to identify and unearth practical hurdles and problems in the production floor by the people who are closest to it. Once most issues are unearthed, those which require support and sponsorship from the management need to be weeded out. The very fact that the management works very seriously on an issue that was unearthed by the workforce will be a gesture of respecting their views and will strengthen their co-operation.


Any slogans and banners that get evolved with the involvement of the workforce will carry more value and the ownership to abide by them will be higher.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

E. Workforce if engaged in improvement initiatives can do wonders. While slogans and rigid targets should be avoided, improvements in quality and productivity should still be expected from workforce.

I believe in statement E, with inclusion that management should provide the environment/infrastructure, which is required for improvement initiatives. It should be a top down approach. Because any improvement system will not sustain unless it is driven by management.

Workforce is the main asset for any organization. Many good organizations believe in this and hence they invest in people. They believe in developing the skills of the existing resources so that their expertise can be used more effectively in the key areas of business.

We can keep workforce engaged/involved in many ways. An organization can have an employee suggestion program; employees can be given incentives based on performance. In Lean/six Sigma there are many tools that can help us achieve this. Whenever a tool is rolled out management should be committed throughout the process of implementing these tools. Role of management is not only to roll out/ kick off the session and wait for the end results. While taking active participation in program, management should be cautious about the providing feedback. Providing positive feedback is simple. Positive feedback should be given in presence of a group. While on the other hand negative feedback should be given in personal. Giving negative feedback to employees force them to perceive that newly launched program is another way of monitoring them. Coaching sessions are the best option for providing negative feedback/areas of improvement.



For each parameter, we should have SMART goals.

  • Specific (simple, sensible, significant).

  • Measurable (meaningful, motivating).

  • Achievable (agreed, attainable).

  • Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based).

  • Time bound (time-based, time limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive).

Making Slogans, does help in motivating employees. However, overdoing the slogans and not achieving figures as mentioned in slogans demoralizes people. Targets should be always based on SMART, There should be a strategy developed to meet the figures mentioned on slogans. Slogans should reflect what an organization wants to achieve in longer duration of time. For each year, we should have an action plan on how to reach the figures mentioned in slogans. Targets should be drilled down from top to bottom. Every employee should be working for achieving their targets, which in turn are linked to business targets.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

In respect to above situation I will choose three option - 


B. Although there should be an effort to reach zero defects using both top-down and bottom-up approaches, this should not be converted into a slogan for workforce.  - As automation is out of question - so to increase workforce involvement, improvement and to set goal the approach should be through out the organisation and as soon as possible, that's why together both the approach will work fast. 


E. Workforce if engaged in improvement initiatives, can do wonders. While slogans and rigid targets should be avoided, improvements in quality and productivity should still be expected from workforce. - people who are actually working understand the pain or the gaps in between better than others, if that can be identified - yes wonders can happen.


F. The ownership for such goals on productivity and quality lies with management and can never be forced as a justifiable target for workforce. - of-course this should be taken care of as automation is already out of question - unnecessary pressure will demotivate workers to delivers their best.


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0


E. Workforce if engaged in improvement initiatives, can do wonders. While slogans and rigid targets should be avoided, improvements in quality and productivity should still be expected from workforce.


The Add On Explanation : Yes, WorkForce has immense Opportunity to Contribute. No one watches the processes closer than a worker/workforce. Management has the Accountability to create an environment where "Continuous Improvement" is encouraged and rewarded. Time to time, sharing the Industry Benchmarks and analyzing them will also Help in creating the environment and culture of Improvement. !!

The Mantra has to be "Involvement" of Management & Staff / Not just sloganeering and demanding improvement from WorkForce !!

Leader is one who knows the way, goes the way & shows the way !! Eg : Toyota !!

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

I support Statements A, E and C and in that same order.  I would modify E slightly as listed below. In C, I would, differentiate between Short-term performance valuation goals and long-term corporate vision goals.


A. If it is desirable to set an objective of Zero Defect Quality, we should set the goal, but this should primarily be a top-down system driven initiative and not a bottom-up approach.


  • Zero Defect is more of a work culture - a philosophy. It emphasises that defects are not acceptable and everything should be done “first time right”.
  • Implementing such a culture should be top down approach from the management to the workforce. The management should first recognise the high cost, customer dis-satisfaction and harm to the brand value involved with quality issues.
  • Once the management develops the vision for “zero defect” quality, it needs to develop an operational definition and ensure that this vision and definition is communicated down to the bottom level of the work force and the entire organisation has a very clear understanding.
  • There should be no ambiguity or scope for modified individual definitions. The management should invest the money, time and resources to implement proper process and systems and workforce training to ensure quality flows through the production/service line.


E. Workforce if engaged in improvement initiatives, can do wonders. While EXCESSIVE slogans and rigid targets should be avoided, improvements in quality and productivity should still be expected from workforce.


  • The implementation of any quality improvement activity necessitates every actor to understand it, believe in it and be responsible for it. To imbibe this culture, it is critical that the workforce is involved in the whole process.
  • A sense of involvement drives a sense of responsibility.  Also, responsibility without authority would drive an individual crazy. So, the workforce should be engaged and given the authority to question if they notice something is incorrect. They should continuously think of the places where flaws may be introduced and bring it to the attention of their supervisors. They should be proactive to address the flaws in the systems and processes, which allow defects to occur.
  • It has been seen that though systems are in place operators have, at times, bypassed system checks with overrides resulting in defects. This indicates a lack of involvement or engagement of the workforce. They are out of sync with the thought process of the management.
  • Having few slogans is good and healthy. It would help to constantly drive the point and keep the team focused otherwise the old saying “out of sight is out of mind” could prove true. But excessive sloganeering and rigid targets could be too stressful and counter productive.


C. Audacious Short-term (performance valuation) goals create demotivation for management as well as workforce. They must be avoided.


  • Short term Goals and targets used for performance valuation should be practical, achievable and reasonably challenging. They should be framed keeping the past/current positions and any current limitations in mind. Very aggressive goals could be demotivating and stressful.
  • On the other hand, audacious long-term Corporate Vision goals, could give the business a good direction and enable the management and workforce to align and work together more efficiently.
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

I am in almost complete agreement with the quote by Sir Deming!!

As the Principle of uncertainty states “We may significantly modify what we are trying to measure, simply by making an effort to measure it.” What this implies is that the inspections and tests to measure or analyse a process by themselves can actually cause a defect.

Thus, practically, the concept of zero defect is surreal!!

A Zero Defect Mentality induces a non-tolerance to mistakes and errors. It may lead to reduced motivation, stifled innovation and careerism. Such acerbity can be the cause for roadblocks to business excellence.

To avoid the above mentioned risk to business excellence the prudent approach will be to continuously strive for betterment rather than perfection!!

Given the assumption that automation is out of question, The option E provided in the question sets the platform for the outlook towards workforce involvement, improvement and goal setting :


E. Workforce if engaged in improvement initiatives, can do wonders. While slogans and rigid targets should be avoided, improvements in quality and productivity should still be expected from workforce.







Defining the Process

Top management / The process Engineer

Top - Down


Standardising the process through:

-       Controlling Process Variation: Identify, Measure & monitor KPIs

-       Systematic process Improvement programs

-       Process Optimization

-       Error Reduction System

-       Technical Understanding and fault rate recording system

-       Causes and prevention of process Breakdown

-       VOC

Across the complete value Chain

Both Top down and bottom up


Hiring for Competency  & Skill Development Through

-       Continuous education and training programs directly related to the needs and interest of the enterprise/ Process

-       Awareness about Wastages, Productivity, Yields , Quality ,etc

-       Continuous assessment of existing skill sets in various functions and plans to reduce gaps in existing skill sets

Multilevel Cascading training hierarchy-

Top down


Instil &Implement Best Managerial Practices:

-       Wastage Management

-       Product/ Process Risk Analysis

-       Quality Audit Analysis

-       Periodic QMS

-       Early Alert Mechanism for nonconformities/ abnormalities in the process with immediate response for closure

-       Define SMART objectives and Goals

-       Process Ownership with KRA graded as per level of percentage against Targets & goals

Multilevel Cascading Operational hierarchy

Top- down


Understanding and acknowledging the Customer’s (Internal as well as External) need and experience through internal and external Surveys

At all levels of the Process

Both Top down and bottom up


Focus on development of a culture which welcomes and appreciates every scope for Improvement

Multilevel Cascading management & Operational hierarchy

Top Down


Reward and Recognise any and all contribution towards better productivity and quality- Reward through promotions of deserving candidates are one of the best way of appreciating good talent and motivating the entire workforce- A healthy , well drafted performance measuring tool is of utmost importance

Multilevel Cascading management & Operational hierarchy

Top Down


The above table is just a collation of steps that will drive the desired “change” that is required in the workforce to bring about the much desired improvement in the process in terms of quality and productivity. The approaches ensure that there is a judicious involvement of the workforce wherever it is beneficial to the enterprise or process.




Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

I would like to support option B and option option E for the long running process. For such a long process which is manual,  we should avoid slogan and rigid targets because after sometime these slogans and targets display only for advertising and there will be no meaning to display them. Because no one else takes seriously on line unless some action taken to achieve zero defects. I think if workforce is involved in improvement themes,  goal setting they can do wonders as they have ability to do the same the thing they need is motivation,  coaching,  mentoring and training to achieve the same.  


We should use both top down and bottom up direction.  Means we emphasise building confidence among employees to take initiative. So we are equipping workforce with technical understanding of the machines they use giving them skills to make improvements to processes,  address problem and prevent them. Before they develop. This approach of bottom. Up requires management and managers to step back and trust and empower their people and workforce to step up to the responsibility of their own efficiency. 

This approach is also encapsulated with the disciplines of TPM  that it incorporates. TPM provides the frame work for ambitious structured programmes of coaching,  feedback,  team work and training at all levels in organisation. It also focus on finding g local bottom up approach improvements to individual production lines. TPM succeed because of the mentality of the workforce.  There are few quick wins to above approach but it has been seen that over multi year periods  the same team using the same 

Equipments,  same machines can achieve huge reductions in the amount of time lost to idle machinery an din loss of resources and ingredients through waste if they start to feed properly,  well trained,  well mentored and motivated. 
For example in a production line of press shop parts, some parts need to hang in one side of trolley and then trolley turned by forklifter and then again parts piled in the trolley,  so by doing this trolley has a capacity of occupying 120 parts only but it is time consuming and resource wasting because forklifter movement was involved in that and waiting time for workforce during that time.  Now what workforce has done there who are working,  they thought about a solution for the problem,  they made a part jig of some height which is removable and can place anywhere and find out bin type trolley where they can place that jig and can pile parts on the jug.  Now because of that jig,  this one trolley consumes 240 parts which increased productivity of line,  reduced forklifter unnecessary movement,  reduced delivery cycle because now need to deliver only one trolley against a lot of 240.  Before there was need to deliver two trolleys for smooth production in next section.  So many wasteful activities reduced by making only that one jig for that part. 
The power of bottom up approach h is the operator is the expert. By adopting this the results will remarkable.  Because the same people when equipped with the skills and confidence to anticipate and resolve problems and empowered to find and find inefficiencies in the running of the machine slashed waste and inefficiency across measurement  reducing wastage,  minor stops and cleaning time and cutting breakdown. 
So it is good to involve them and motivate them.  Have some prize for achieving great results,  decide benchmarks and do prize distribution monthly.  By doing this we will find some people who will work out of their zone to achieve better and better an d think out of box and all these activities will make motivation and involvement of people throughout. 
On the other hand if we see any organisation establishes long term goals and objectives and the action necessary to achieve them.  Strategic planning is the fundamental to the success of any organisation. It provides direction and unifies the organisation and it's workforce with a common focus.  There are various methods and processes used to accomplish enterprise wide strategic planning.  These includes SWOT, PEST analysis,  HOSHIN KANRI. 
HOSHIN KANRI,  a Japanese term is a bottom up,  top down,  systematic and structured strategic planning process that engages all levels of the organisation while creating measurable and aligned goals that imbue the concept of continuous improvement through use of the plan-do-chevk-act cycle.  Its all about organizational alignment.  It creates both vertical and horizontal alignment, thus establishing focus throughout the entire organization. HOSHIN KANRI also includes SWOT AND POST analysis which helps to provide both internal and external perspective.  Also customer,  employee,  and shareholder is specifically sought.
So by involving all,  it is necessary to prioritise the strategies also which helps issues later when strategies are assigned human resources and funding.
So workforce insolvent should be there.  Suppose in a car Manufacturing company there are various processes in long run,  I'd we talk about assembly line only,  then there are at least 70 station where different parts are assembled to complete a full car.  So workforce working there manually are well aware about pros and cons of the situation.  There is need to identify all rights parts and ensure right parts assemble in right variant,  right model of a car.  As well as they need to take care for the speed of line which is output that how many cars assembled in a shift.  If we put slogans there online,  and tell them rigid targets then it is not going to workout.  We should motivate them, coach and train them and upgrade their skill in a very systematic structured way.  And need to build trust on them as they should be able to identify breakdown points,  what to be done and take necessary countermeasure themselves to Improvement and achieve goals and targets of the organisation. 
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

Zero defects:


A term coined by Philip Crosby. It is a management tool which aims at reducing the number of errors in the production system through mistake proofing. In such case, we have also to reiterate the importance of first time right. Yes. It refers to a domain beyond 3.4 sigma with 1.5 sigma shift. However the zero defect theoretically is manufacturing a defect freee product.


A. If it is desirable to set an objective of Zero Defect Quality, we should set the goal, but this should primarily be a top-down system driven initiative and not a bottom-up approach.


Zero defect is possible in terms of healthcare, aviation industry, pharmacy, etc only if the mistake proofing technique is applied to arrest the error before it reaches out to customer. The process requires automotive prevention and detection mistake proofing techniques.

Zero defect is not possible if there is frequent shift occurs or if the production rate is very high or even if the manual checks are more used.

Zero defect Entitles the concept called “ all the defects are same , since all defects are bad.”

So, the defect which is a nonconformance of the product should be identified and classified as “ worst / bad/ Neutral” Having identified, the defects are systematically studied for its impact on the quality and productivity and slowly eliminate the bad to benign errors. If the defect solving matrix is not prioritized, the growth would be standstill.






Hence supplier and customer will get benefited if the maximum possible quality is met and the product is delivered with possible quality. Having a concept of zero defect may not add value to the customer. If we aim at zero defect the top management has to dictate the bottoms at the top down approach.

If the entire supply chain is covered with tight checks with goal of zero defects, the production rate should be lower and cost should be increased to strengthen the gateway of checks using technology. Increased costs are due to technology-improved process, increased checks and controls and improved cycle time. The lower yields is resulted from a higher rate of “false fails” (type 1 errors) as the suppliers apply increasingly stringent criteria in an attempt to possible error reduction. In other words, in an effort to eliminate even the smallest possibility of customer incoming test failures, good product may be scrapped to overly stringent criteria.



If the top management aims at increasing the cost and having the productivity at the acheiveable target level without having the productivity increased, maximum quality is possible and sometimes it may be zero defect also. Something is better than nothing.

A logical strategy is to deploy continuous improvement methodologies in all the business processes to improve quality and yield, and reduce cycle time and costs. Then, at the point of shipping the final product to the final customer, employ a zero escapes methodology to help ensure that a randomly defective unit does not reach its final application. 

The concept of zero defect along with continuous improvement is intuitive. It makes sense to always strive for a better process or product, to reduce costs, satisfy customers and gain market share. Absolute perfection can never be achieved, but an organization can move closer and closer with good statistical and engineering practices.Can  achieve the better maximum possible quality with continuous improvement projects.


Reference: https://www.isixsigma.com/new-to-six-sigma/sigma-level/zero-defects-what-does-it-achieve-what-does-it-mean/




Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

Taking a note of the question if automation is out of scope and process deals with high workforce, then Perfection in execution will require everyone’s involvement to deliver his/her part to perfection. Here Key to success is cooperative team work, which ensures win –win situation for all. If people are motivated they can do wonders.

There was time, when people were only thinking that by continuous inspection (reactive approach), we can deliver the right quality to the customer. When time changed, the view also changed and people started believing in the process control (Preventive/Proactive approach) rather than inspection and the concept of six sigma or lean six sigma evolved.

Defects are really tied to current conditions and best of the time, which is ignored today, if improvements are made, will be seen as a defect tomorrow. Technically saying zero defects is not possible; Hence in Six Sigma language, the definition of zero defects is 3.4 defects per million opportunities (DPMO) means allowing for a 1.5-sigma process shift, I mean which is almost near to Zero defect, the task which was looking a herculean task few years ago, is now become a part of organization culture.

Setting culture is always top driven initiative. If top management is committed they can set the goal and ensures that everyone in the organization is aligned to this common goal. Simply putting the zero defect target with an audacious goal and will not help, if people are not involved even if whatever the level of automation the organization have. To run this automation process, involvement of people is also required. Without workforce nothing is possible.

Hence to achieve the goal, it is required to win the heart for the workforce. Here communication is a very important factor. It is required to communicate the Plan, objectives, requirements and improvement opportunities etc.

It can be achieved by creating awareness in the team by imparting required training, visual displays and monitoring, tracking and displaying the results on day to day basis and also creating an appreciation culture by recognizing and rewarding for the efforts people put in.  If people are encouraged, appreciated, then their involvement will be increased and thereby helping the organization to achieve the goal. As we know even battle can be won with less ammunition if the army is motivated.

Ordinary workforce with extra ordinary process can create wonder and set the benchmarking performances. While workforce is expected to follow instructions, at the same time, they can provide suggestions for the process improvements which help in improving productivity and quality. So, it is always better to keep them involve in the productivity goals and zero defect initiatives. Even in my experience I have seen most of the Kaizens in the process industries, are comes from the ground level workforce.

In my opinion, zero defects or making “first time right and every time right” is a pursuit towards perfection. But the goal will create inner desires amongst the workforce to drive them forward to a point that is acceptable under even the most stringent metrics. While this goal creation is top management initiative but making it success requires workforce involvements.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0


                            Zero defects is a way of thinking that joins the notion that defects are not acceptable and Do things Right the very first time. The idea with the Zero defects, that we can increase both by eliminating the Cost of Failure & increasing the Revenues through Increased Customer Satisfaction.

Zero Defects is Not about being Perfect, it is about changing our Idea & Mind. It does by demanding 

- Recognizing the High Cost of Quality Issues

- Continuously think of the Areas where Rejections may occur

- Work Proactively to identify the Rejections in Our Process, which allow the defects to occur


Advantages & Disadvantages of Zero Defects:


- Cost reduction caused by the decrease in waste

- Cost reduction due to the fact that time is now being spend on producing products that are Produced according to the Customer Specification

- Producing & Delivering the Finished Product that conforms to fulfill the Customer requirements, that increase the Customer satisfaction


- The Process can be over engineered by an Organisation in its efforts to create a Zero Defect

- Impossible to Produce to Zero Defects parts continuously all the time required




In Many of the Manufacturing Companies we may easily See the Slogans of "ACHIEVE ZERO DEFECTS" & many slogans supporting to it. The Zero Defects Slogan in the Company indicates us the Company has started the ZERO Defects Campaign & undergoing the Process to achieve it.


The ZERO DEFECTS campaign will be initially started by the Customer of the Company with the name of the KICK OFF Meeting. During that the Concepts of the Zero Defects Campaign will be explained to all the Staffs & Operators of that Company.


After the Kick Off Meeting the Top Management involves the Staff & Operators to organize a Team to follow the Road Map of the Zero Defects Program. During the Discussion various Points will be discussed such as Which Model Line to be selected, Who are the Team members involved, what is our Target to be reached, etc. And finally the Zero defects campaign will be started in the Company.


So Zero Defects can be achieved by Top Management involvement, Zero Defects Slogans Display & Work Force involvement 
























Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

First up, let me thank VK for putting up such an interesting & thought provoking Question.


I must say that the variation was very high and E was the rightly chosen most number of times (also with other options as well)


Arunesh continues to amaze me with his narration and rightly pointed out that Zero defect is a philosophy and way of life. R Rajesh went on to explain all the options and stuck his neck out to include the best and the worst as well. I also liked Karthik's explanation giving the advantages and disadvantages of Zero defect adding another dimension to the definition.


So overall a lot of good answers and R Rajesh get my vote due to his choice & effort in providing his answer.


Congratulations & all the best team !

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Answer this question...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Who's Online (See full list)

    There are no registered users currently online

  • Forum Statistics

    • Total Topics
    • Total Posts
  • Member Statistics

    • Total Members
    • Most Online

    Newest Member
  • Create New...