Remember that thing you bought, the one you were excited about only to discover, once you got it home, that it was defective? As frustrating as that was for you, it was probably much worse for the manufacturer.
After that experience, you were probably soured on that brand for a while. You probably told family members and possibly people outside your immediate circle. If you were really ticked, you wrote a letter, a nasty Facebook post, or a bad review about it. Word of mouth is both the most valuable and volatile form of marketing. While great word of mouth can reap overnight success, bad word of mouth is toxic.
That’s just one of the ways that Defect waste costs money.
Defects can be as simple as sprinkling cinnamon on a latte instead of vanilla, or as serious as installing faulty brakes in new automobiles. Whether 1 latte is re-made for free or 100,000 vehicles are recalled, defects waste money, and sometimes damage reputations.
Take Time to Train
It’s a pattern. You’re in the heat of your busy season, a big order has just come in, or someone has left suddenly and you need to replace them: fast. The new employee gets thrown into the deep end with no time for formal training. They’ll “train” on the job, which is translated as “they’ll learn the same bad habits as whoever they talk to first.” This is how defects happen.
The key to avoiding defects can be as simple as slowing down, taking a breath, and training.
If you’re too busy, delegate a trainer. If the trainer is too busy, find someone with good habits to be a mentor. Throwing green recruits into the trenches is an easy an expensive habit.
Before your new employee flips burgers, files a tax return or changes a tire, make sure that someone takes the time to walk him or her through the required process, make expectations clear, and stick around to watch him or her perform the task.
After that, educating your employees about the costs of defects will open staff eyes to the need to maintain a standard of quality. Not only will the training result in your existing and new team members cutting down on the defects – it will also improve your chances of retaining your people and help them succeed.
Check your Processes
Processes are cumulative. A simple clerical error early on can, if not caught, lead to serious defects as it moves through the process. Cutting corners by skimping on proofing is a potentially costly gamble.
All of this checking, quality control and training takes time and, by extension, money. But consider the true cost of a defective product in lost revenue, time (to go back and fix the problem), and bad word of mouth.