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Is Zero Defect achievable ? This is launched as a debate question now. 

 

The question carries 2500 points and is open for a week. You need to take a stand and respond to other’s views while supporting your own viewpoint by commenting on posts (use quote option to comment on other's responses) 

 

You may respond as YES or NO and provide your justification. Feel free to comment on others responses and provide your point of view. 

 

 

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I agree with Ms.  Reena And Ms.  Kavitha but I would like to add some points to explain more for Mr Venugopal as I am not agree with you because here we are not talking about zero defect in general. W

There are many situations where we really require zero defect. like already pointed out "Surgical set up" , or a "plane landing". The question here is not about zero defect required or not.. It is abo

Against:-   Zero defect is a Nirvana stage. When there is no waste, no unwanted activities in process of making a product. No matter how much money you invest, there will always be

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My frank and unemotional answer is that "There is nothing as Zero defect". It is not achievable theoretically nor practically. However, this could be differently interpreted based on how we define "Zero Defect". I will wait for others to react!!

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I would like to say that zero defect is achievable but it depends on how we are doing its interpretation.  Theoretically and practically it is not possible to achieve zero defect.  But I would say zero defect means get things right at first time. So we can achieve zero defect.  For example if I talk about to finish the project.  During finishing of project we have so many steps which are having their own deadlines and conditions. If we are completing all steps in time with all requirements and finish our project on time we can say that there was no defect because whatever has been planned earlier is achieved now.  Also lean manufacturing and continous improvement focus on preventive maintainance to reduce and eliminate waste activities so that we can achieve our targets.

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Looks impractical yet I would support 'Zero defect is achievable'...as Mr.Vashisth rightly said, "it is the way we perceive zero defects". With effective planning and quality control measures in the beginning of the process till the final delivery,  defects can be effectively mitigated. If whatever planned is delivered with satisfactory results within given time frame, we assume it is done with zero defects. The debatable point here is whether it is desirable...the kind of stringent measures n stress it involves, should it be practically realized?

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4 minutes ago, Reena K said:

Looks impractical yet I would support 'Zero defect is achievable'...as Mr.Vashisth rightly said, "it is the way we perceive zero defects". With effective planning and quality control measures in the beginning of the process till the final delivery,  defects can be effectively mitigated. If whatever planned is delivered with satisfactory results within given time frame, we assume it is done with zero defects. The debatable point here is whether it is desirable...the kind of stringent measures n stress it involves, should it be practically realized?

It is highly debatable... as to what each one of us have in our mind as a definition for zero defect... and what kind of expectation that we hold. It also depends upon what process, product or service we have in mind. Hence, if we are asked a question in general "Whether zero defect is achievable?", and we just say "Yes" it can never be a reasonable answer.

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Hi All,

 

If you ask zero defect is achievable or not? my answer would be "Yes".  As rightly said by Reena and Vastupal, with high quality assurance at the time of project start and effective planning makes the zero defect possible. 

 

Again, if you ask me zero defect at the very normal or affordable price is achievable, then answer is no. It is achievable only with high cost involving technology & tools like  Mistake proofing, standard work,etc, will helps us detect defects, correct it and send it to customer.

 

Zero defect is again possible, if Perfection is achieved through constant practice.  For eg, In surgical set up, a senior most doctors out of practice, he is able to achieve perfection in surgeries that they do.

 

Zero defect is achievable in a way we perceive things. Zero defect is something that doing the things first time right.

 

Hence, in a practical situations and theoretically zero defect is not possible. and if high cost is involved in detecting and correcting defects then, zero defect is possible. simply to say, it depends on the situation we want to explore.

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At first go,zero defect looks impractical.We cant collect any example from the industries known or around where u can present evidence of zero defect.So thoughfully why the concept of zero defect would have been originated.But nothing is without reason and zero defect do have its evidence in aviation and space industries.Any miss from zero defect in such industries leads to damages which categorically are called critical or major in the world of quality as human life is at stake.And when we have industries having zero defect ,then for sure it can be applied in other industries as well provided we drop a little cushion of grant.

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There are many situations where we really require zero defect. like already pointed out "Surgical set up" , or a "plane landing". The question here is not about zero defect required or not.. It is about "Is zero defect achievable?" When we say zero defect does it mean:

1. Absolutely no defect from a process... for how much duration? For ever?

2. Are we drawing some upper and lower tolerance on % defects or DPMO. and so long as the defect rate falls with in a service level agreement, are we going to accept it as zero defects?

3. if we are talking about a particular product, on which multiple defects can manifest,... when we say zero defect, are we referring to the non-occurrence of a particular defect or do we mean that no defect type should occur?

4. Are we referring to only the final output? Are we ok to have inprocess defects, but the final outcome is expected to be zero defect?

5. When we say zero defect, are we ignoring other factors like delivery time, processing cost, productivity etc?

 

WHAT IS ZERO DEFECT? DEFINE IT.

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I agree with Ms.  Reena And Ms.  Kavitha but I would like to add some points to explain more for Mr Venugopal as I am not agree with you because here we are not talking about zero defect in general. We are talking about zero defect in industries,  services sector,  telecom sector,  manufacturers,  car manufacturers,  vehicle manufacturers and many more.  For any organisation business performance and profit making and satisfaction of customer is the main goal.  If any organisation has aimed to achieve some financial goal with satisfaction of customer and if they achieve it then we can say that they have zero defects.  It depends on how we are interpreting it and where we are applying it.  I agree with Ms Kavitha that  it involves a lot of cost and previous planning also.  If we talk about car Manufacturing industry then here we have different methods to meausre JD Power customer service index,  customer satisfaction index and Initial quality study. For example if I give example for Honda City,  it has IQS score on first position since last more than 10 years and Honda aims to be number one in IQS study,  and Honda is achieving it continously year after year,  although they have invested huge to achieve and maintain consistency on first position in its segment, here we can say that Honda is achieving zero defects because Honda aimed to be number one and achieving it also. 

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FOR.

"Zero Defect" is a work culture that an enterprise may like to inculcate in the workforce, emphasising that defects are not acceptable and everything should be done “first time right".

The implementation of this philosophy depends on:

1. Operational Definition of Zero defect as perceived by the management
2. Efforts taken by the management to communicate the same and ensure it is understood by one and all
3. Time and Money invested by the management in process design and checks, employee training and so on to build and drive the culture.

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I would like to explain Mr Venugoapl that zero defect is a concept which is used in lean manufacturing and continuous improvement or to do any process lean. Already I mentioned that it depends how we are interpreting it,  it depends on situation to situation what we are working for. For some people it is customer satisfaction for some it is delivering parts on time, for example  if I talk about pizza delivery boy,  for him to deliver pizza within 30 minutes will be counted as zero defect,  it is different thing that how he is delivering pizza but they are on their words to deliver pizza within 30 minutes,  it's upto pizza makers that what type of delivery options they are using. 

Talking about final output it is also different for different segments.  In car Manufacturing industry if they are seeing final product then they can expect the results as I explained above and food industry we can see the taste of pizza how customer is behaving whether he is delighted or not.  Although you have prepared pizza with all your standards still customer is not happy then we can not say that they are achieving  zero defect.  Because for them customer satisfaction also important. 

 

And it is not possible to get no defect from a process but it depends how much we want and for how long,  as I explained earlier that if I am achieving my targets means zero defect., because my process doing well thats why I am achieving it. For example a production company has a target of producing 500 units per 8 hours and if they are achieving it consistently means they are working on zero defect concept. 

 

Zero defects means doing things first time right. 

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I am seeing the debate is shaping up now. "Zero Defect" is a management philosophy, believed to be coined by Philip Crosby (if I recall right); and it aims for doing very preventive set of activities as part of the TQM program in an organization. It is a constant effort, and I am not sure whether one says "it is done for good". It is a work culture that has to prevail and needs to be augmented for ever. There is nothing like saying "We have achieved zero defects". That's why I have been emphasizing that we first need to define what we mean by zero defects. And there are some occasions where the strive for zero defect in physical terms may not be a desirable thing. For instance an on time functioning of an airline for achieving "Zero defect" cannot become an obsession that could endanger the safety of passengers. it is OK to have the defect in this case, even to the dissatisfaction of the customers, so long as it is a better decision on the long term interest. When you mention about a company having achieved 'Zero defect', does it mean that there are no more targets for the company to improve? Never!

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AGAINST

 

No system can be fool proof. Achieving zero defect is not practically possible. This is why every organisation has a Service Level Agreement (SLA)  with its customers in a range. such as  >95 % or  > 98 %, when it talks about defects free system . No organisation says 100% which is totally out of the equation. The customers also are aware and they are ok to this. Thats the reality everyone knows . This is also precisely the reason, why a process improvement methodology such as Six Sigma says , "minimise the variation" and not "Eliminate the variation" , which is practically not possible.  One may think that this zero defect is not achievable/possible only where human element is involved. What if automation/Robot is involved in some activities. Say for instance , take Robots which do complex operations across industries.  Imagine a robot is helping a doctor in a complex medical operation  . The robot can do the operation and can complete it successfully. The question is cannot it fail ? Can it malfunction atleast once in its lifetime ? Quite possible !!  The hospital , therefore will always say that ... ... "Our Success rate is high for that type of operation..."   Because of the robot, the success rate will be high and the failure rate will be extremely low, which is what needed for the human being. But nevertheless still you cannot get rid of the rarest failure in this case . 

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Zero defect is possible and we can eliminate errors to occur by doing some poka-yoke to deliver good quality products. For example we found that there are chances of getting things wrong,  there we can do Poka-yoke to eliminate it.  For example sim insert slot in mobile phone.  Mobile manufacturing and sim manufacturing company could have produced a different rectangular  of arrangement to insert sim, but it will have a problem and maximum probability that we insert sim from wrong direction.  But if see current conditions a minor cut is given in two sides and sim can't be insert in any side except this only.  So that it eliminates chances of inserting sim in wrong direction although human error will be there but mobile slot will not accept it. 

So we can eliminate errors to get things right. 

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Zero Defect: I believe it is true that nothing is impossible. Hence for the the choice that I made as TRUE. 

It will be highly difficult to achieve zero defects, but surely not impossible. 

 

In this context, everything is a combination of probability and efforts.

Meaning we do not put efforts for or we do not limit our efforts for only a certain level of achievement. For example, we do not limit saying we are ok if we incur only 10 defects per million, rather we say we will be also ok to produce all million parts right - Zero defects 

Here there is a point to catch, that is, we all want no defects or we will be happy to have no defects, but we feel that it is practically impossible and hence we end up compromising that it cannot be achieved. 

By right efforts in combination with full probability, zero defects can be achievable.

This is just like seeing God. 

99.99997 (just some guess) of the people have no faith (full faith) that they can witness or can see God. Hence they may say, God does not exists or maybe blindly believing the existence of God.

 

Also even by chance Zero defects can be achieved. Full probability. 

If part 1 can be produced as right, part 2 can also be produced right, similarly part 3, 4, 5......... millionth or even more can also be produced right. Why not and why can’t. 

 

It is achievable

 

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Zero defects, it should not limit an organisation to work further, I agree with this too. It is similar to our wish to be or stay fully healthy. It is possible to be perfectly healthy even though it is difficult, but it is possible. If we’re healthy now doesn’t mean or should not mean that we achieved everything, we need to sustain it. Sustaining is also not easy, it requires equal efforts as we put to achieve that level.

For the point put by R Rajesh, on SLA, I would like to say that the SL are again agreed thinking that 100 percentage is not possible, there will be nothing wrong to also expect full service without any defects, it is how much we believe. 

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10 hours ago, Srinivasa Vasu said:

Zero defects, it should not limit an organisation to work further, I agree with this too. It is similar to our wish to be or stay fully healthy. It is possible to be perfectly healthy even though it is difficult, but it is possible. If we’re healthy now doesn’t mean or should not mean that we achieved everything, we need to sustain it. Sustaining is also not easy, it requires equal efforts as we put to achieve that level.

For the point put by R Rajesh, on SLA, I would like to say that the SL are again agreed thinking that 100 percentage is not possible, there will be nothing wrong to also expect full service without any defects, it is how much we believe. 

Hi Srinivasa Vasu,  first of all, appreciate your presentation of points in your posts. W.r.t SLA., this is precisely the reason , as why  people go for SLA range. The organisation that provides the service knows that it cannot provide 100% defect free system to the customer and the customer is also aware. Hence they come to a service level agreemeent (SLA).  So the belief itself is that 'Zero defect' is not achievable, and hence they fix a SLA, which is what my argument is. So the SLA tells about your capability (at what level , you can achieve things tothe maximum hilt - but it also says in this case, that you cannot achieve 100% correctness) . This is my view

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Yes zero defects is achievable for short span of time but may not be reality in a long run. It also depends on the criticality of operations and the need of the zero defect. If the criticality is high and zero defects is the need of operation from all stakeholder point of view, then zero defects can be made a reality.

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16 hours ago, Venugopal R said:

There are many situations where we really require zero defect. like already pointed out "Surgical set up" , or a "plane landing". The question here is not about zero defect required or not.. It is about "Is zero defect achievable?" When we say zero defect does it mean:

1. Absolutely no defect from a process... for how much duration? For ever?

2. Are we drawing some upper and lower tolerance on % defects or DPMO. and so long as the defect rate falls with in a service level agreement, are we going to accept it as zero defects?

3. if we are talking about a particular product, on which multiple defects can manifest,... when we say zero defect, are we referring to the non-occurrence of a particular defect or do we mean that no defect type should occur?

4. Are we referring to only the final output? Are we ok to have inprocess defects, but the final outcome is expected to be zero defect?

5. When we say zero defect, are we ignoring other factors like delivery time, processing cost, productivity etc?

Venugopal, 

your quotes are really interesting to think about. 

Still I have some comments, please correct me if I’m wrong.

Zero defects directly means all right, there must not be any further questions on situations and conditions such as duration, tolerance, in process and SL agreement etc..  but actually at the same time, say duration, it is surely required to be considered because then achieving zero defects forever will be much more difficult rather mostly impossible. 

 

Like some of our friends mentioned it is practically not possible. 

 

Plan crash: happened quite few times, 

surgical set up: failed quite many times.

 

Still according to probability theory if the probability of achieving defects is there, then the probability of achieving zero defects also exists. 

As per this theory of probability and hence mathematically zero defects is possible. 

 

 

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16 hours ago, Venugopal R said:

There are many situations where we really require zero defect. like already pointed out "Surgical set up" , or a "plane landing". The question here is not about zero defect required or not.. It is about "Is zero defect achievable?" When we say zero defect does it mean:

1. Absolutely no defect from a process... for how much duration? For ever?

2. Are we drawing some upper and lower tolerance on % defects or DPMO. and so long as the defect rate falls with in a service level agreement, are we going to accept it as zero defects?

3. if we are talking about a particular product, on which multiple defects can manifest,... when we say zero defect, are we referring to the non-occurrence of a particular defect or do we mean that no defect type should occur?

4. Are we referring to only the final output? Are we ok to have inprocess defects, but the final outcome is expected to be zero defect?

5. When we say zero defect, are we ignoring other factors like delivery time, processing cost, productivity etc?

 

WHAT IS ZERO DEFECT? DEFINE IT.

 

 

I agreed with this... In theory or for a small or single batch production it MIGHT[not guaranteed] come, we can take it as exception. But practically Zero Defect is NOT achievable when it comes about mass production. We desire to achieve it and companies also spent thousands of dollar to make it tense to zero defects but still people died in the hand hand of famous doctor/surgeon, or people dies because of malfunction of charging socket in iPhone or Samsung mobiles got burst or Nokia faced battery issues and TATA/Toyota/Volkswagen recalled their cars to replace some part. ISRO failled in recent PSLV launch, or in first moon misson, even NASA's rocket got burst in sky resulted Kalpana Chawla's death. The examples can be endless here. Zero defect is what we want but not achievable with guarantee. And that is why we keep it 95% and 5% ratio which is considered as Good/Desirable.

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Mr. Venugopal very rightly pointed out that obsession of punctuality in airline sector can endanger the lives of passengers, so is zero defect in this case desirable? Likewise, can we expect an iota of intolerance or defect in the functioning of machine like airplane which can lead to causality of severe level. Isn’t zero defect mandatory here?

I repeat the question of debate “Is zero defect achievable”? Can we achieve zero defects – yes or no?

It does not talk about its desirability, cost-effectiveness or specific industry – product or services…let’s request the Coordinators of this Excellence program to make it next question :)

Let me also bring the concept of mistake proofing here…and study it through the example of two very commonly visible gadgets i.e. Burglar alarm (Circuit breaker) and Water filters. Burglar alarm goes off the moment circuit is broken and in water filters, water stops flowing in the tank once it reaches a particular level. What are we doing…setting certain markers which gives indication the moment there is any deviation in given situation. Guess we can effectively use similar devices in defect prevention and control; which is the basic premise of ‘Mistake proofing’ i.e. to prevent a defect from occurring and detect defects as soon as possible if they occur. Implementation of this approach in conjunction with other similar ones at various levels can definitely make zero defect achievable.

Another point in favour is, when we say nowadays machines can work at highest level of precision; shouldn’t that mean output of such machines will be of ‘zero defect’.

What is zero defect? The definition says, “it is a management tool aimed to eliminate defects and, a policy which aims to motivate people to prevent mistake by developing a constant desire to do there job right the first time.” Do we think this approach is impractical?

With proper planning, techniques, policies and continuous monitoring; the objective of  ‘Zero defect’ is surely not impossible...will come with cost, deliberation and technology of highest level, agree but then it is achievable!!

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Everyone has brought out great points which deserve to be respected. The passion to believe that 'Zero Defect' is NOT an impossibility is very encouraging. However, prior to this debate, the question was initially asked as a Yes / No question with no conditions and no room for explanations or deeper interpretations - "Is Zero Defect achievable?". All the answers that support this have some conditions attached., viz. it comes with a cost, it is possible with sufficient planning, could be done with mistake proofing, it is a management concept etc. etc.

 

I am a strong supporter of the zero defect thought process, but when it comes to answering this question unconditionally, I would maintain a "no".

 

No quality standard is complete without a "corrective action" clause. Big brands do have well defined customer service clauses that include warranty services and product recall procedures. Inspection and rework lines are built in even the best of production lines. Robust design and Mistake proofing techniques have greatly helped in improving efficiencies and reducing human dependencies and thus reduced errors. Even then, it is hard to find a 100% mistake proofing for all processes in a production line or a service industry. Even a 7 sigma process is termed as 'Near Perfection', but still not perfect! All of us know that the normal distribution will touch the X axis only at infinity!

 

When we buy a product, say a Television set, we expect it to perform defect free for a reasonable period of time. In a large population of TV sets from highly reputed manufacturer, the defect rate is expected to be extremely low, but certainly it is still not zero. You may visit the nearest service center for any product to find out! Yet for those small portion of affected customers, what is considered very important is the prompt response and remedy with least inconvenience. When we say zero defect, it cannot be even one in a million.

 

It is very important to encourage the philosophy of 'zero defect', and continuously strive towards it, but one has to be very careful before making a claim of achievement. An organization might do its best to overcome most of the factors that are controllable, but there are factors that may not be controllable and it wouldn't be practical to build a factor of safety for all such factors. We should not permit over complacency to set in that would come in the way of planning good remedial and recovery plans, for which failures need to be anticipated and mitigation plans built in. Many safety systems that necessarily may not prevent failures, either due to product or due to external factors, but help in reducing severity of the impact in an 'unlikely' event. Just as in an FMEA exercise, we tend to prioritize the actions based Severity, Occurrence and Detection, but may not necessarily eliminate all possibilities 100%. 

 

The "Zero defect" thought process will continue to be key driver for continuous improvement, and would help to intelligently understand and manage the variabilities more proactively to provide products and services that keep up with ever revising Quality and Reliability expectations.

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Dear Mr. Venugopal, you will appreciate that nothing is possible unconditional or occur in isolation. There are always certain set of conditions required to complete a task.

If you ask me 'can you cook - write yes or no? What should I write...'yes' I can cook provided I have gas stove, utensils, raw material, etc. or should I reply 'no' as I cannot cook unconditionally. How would you respond to this question??

There are always certain prerequisites for the completion of job and that is what is discussed by people who feel 'zero defects is achievable if proper procedures are put in place. The reply can be negative only if we feel, come what may, it cannot be achieved.

You also wrote "I am a strong supporter of the zero defect thought process......It is very important to encourage the philosophy of 'zero defect', and continuously strive towards it". I think one can support and encourage a philosophy only if one believes in it!! 

 

 

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NO not achievable.  

Well the 'defect' for me is customers inability to make use of product or service as per the specification of service provider or manufacturer.

We might have robust error proof process to create an defect free product or service but there are always non controllable external factors which might convert this end product or service to a defect in eyes of customer. But these defects can later be factored into process redesign for error proofing depending on occurrences. Let’s take 1 hypothetical example:

A smart phone is brought by customer, the phone as a unit is manufactured/assembled with a 'error proof' process along with sub components and software which too are produced in a 'error proof' process. But customers connects the phone it to his friends system which has an application which will corrupt a particular feature of phone. So, this is a defect for customer and service center personnel who are unaware of cause and customer is entitled for a fix or replacement. This can be prevented only if there is proper RCA done by phone manufacturer in consultation with such customers and enhance the security/software of phone to prevent itself from such applications.

 

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