Fundamental #24 – Be a smart decision-maker


We push decision-making authority as close to the action as possible so that you can make things happen.  Making smart decisions begins with asking smart questions.  What are the options?  What are the advantages and disadvantages, including the cost, of each option?  Which option has the highest probability of success?  How does the decision impact others?

Whether we want to admit it or not there is a domino effect to the decisions we make.  Each and every decision we make all day, every day counts and has a domino effect on everything that is going to happen next.  One little lie, one cut corner, one small decision we think is no big deal – or the decision we think we can get away with, this time – all count.

Let’s take a common example of sampling.  Many people decide that sampling is a non-value added step that they skip b/c it just slows them down.  I completely disagree.  This is an opportunity to catch a mistake at the time you are making the parts so to prevent more incorrect parts from being made.  Let’s say you are a brake operator (not to pick on brake operators) – you decide to not sample and one of your parts is not correct and you pass it on down the line to the next operator.  They are not going to be looking for your mistake b/c they assume that if you sent it to them, it is correct.  They continue with the process and eventually it gets all the way to the customer.  The customer gets the part on the line and then realize that the part will not install properly since it wasn’t made correctly and they have to reject it.

With this rejection they have to shut down their production and disrupt their entire schedule.  We then are notified of the problem, have to rush a new part through the process to replace the incorrect one which disrupts our process plus causes unnecessary stress on everyone involved.  On top of that they are requesting a root cause/corrective action be filled out to determine why this happened in the first place.  A team then needs to be assembled to get to the root cause of the problem, determine corrective actions then implement those corrective actions.  They then have to document everything they talked about and submit that to the customer.  After a while, a follow up has to occur to ensure that what we said would happen is now happening.  This process could take up to a few months if you are diligent about it. 

Then you get into the costs associated with the rejection not to mention the damaged reputation and lost opportunities.  All this happened b/c you made the decision that you are not going to sample.  Think of the difference in time that goes along with just making the smart decision by following the processes that are established (for a good reason) as opposed to cutting that corner to save a little time but causing this massive problem that has to be fixed.  Goes to show that your decisions really do affect everyone after you and that every decision you make better be a smart one.  

– Amy Ammer