Corporations have been striving for manufacturing excellence through continuous improvement, Six Sigma and Lean-type methodologies. There are scenarios that as companies improve their process-reduce their defect levels, for example-they increase the level of inspection or checks. As a result, the savings a company might realize in the improvement activity could be countered by additional verification resources. Of course, when we redesign the process, then we simplify the process and eliminate some unnecessary process steps. In most cases the inspections and verifications stay put.
The United Stated has been losing its manufacturing edge for a number of years to global competitors. Research shows that we continue to use the 1950s product control principle, PDCA (plan-do-check-act), to manage processes.
During the past 25 years I have seen manufacturing migration and service degradation in the U.S. economy. We first transferred manufacturing of parts or products to our offshore subsidiaries due to our inability to solve problems. Some of the problems could be solved at offshore facilities, while others remained puzzles.
When we go on vacation, we want the best. When we go shopping, we expect the most for the least amount of money. When we ship to our customers, we give only acceptable product or service. I wonder why we love to receive excellence, yet prefer to give acceptable performance. There is a gap between expectations and delivery.