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Error Proofing - Part 1

Why do I need to error proof, my ERP system does that for me?

If your organisation measures Quality, then you need to ensure error proofing is everywhere.

It is OK to rely on your ERP to prevent administrator errors, but there are many other areas where you can introduce error proofing too.

Remember, that from the 8 wastes (DOWNTIME), error is one of them. Errors cause defects, and rework.

In a business office environment, mistakes happen. And then it becomes the responsibility of the same person or another to have to fix it.

This takes time, and can also be left aside as a later task, which is not bringing value either to the administrators time, and certainly not for your customer. This leaves a bad impression of your organisation to handle errors in a timely manner.

And what impact does it have on your administrator? Tension between departments, stress, frustration, it may result in turnover and absenteeism. And it creates poor morale. Something difficult to deal with in a business office place.

How much cost do you think it takes to fix errors? Resource time to fix it. Resource time to inspect, audit and monitor. Extended lead times in getting the product or service delivered to the customer impacts cash flow. And you may suffer monetary penalties or fines by your customers if they have this written into their contract.

Error proofing aim is to provide QUALITY AT THE SOURCE.

In the example of an order entry error:

Order entered incorrectly = 1 USD

Error is detected by your Financial Services department = 10 USD

Error is detected by your customer = 100 USD

What's the price of customers telling others about their bad experience?

Error proofing focuses on two areas:

1. Preventing defects

2. Automatically detecting errors

How often have you heard responses from administrators who made an error saying “I will take more care next time” or “I was very busy that day”?

Here are some common reasons for Errors in an office environment

  • Lack of training

  • Non standardized work

  • Process is too complex

  • Time delays between input and output = forgetfulness

  • Multi tasking

  • Rushing due to workload

  • Computer or software speed and issues

  • Distractions by walk ins, noisy office neighbors, light, heat

  • Poor knowledge - new starter or back up not understating well the customer

You can use some Lean Tools to help understand why mistakes are being made:

1. Five Whys

2. Problem analysis tree

3. Fishbone diagram to analyse causes

4. Tally/Check sheet of the most likely causes

5. Pareto analysis, to identify the relevant few for focusing on, to define and prioritize

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