“Even if a company doesn’t employ formal continuous improvement initiatives or quality processes, efficiency gains can be realized by borrowing the lessons learned from the visual management techniques of those processes,” says Jesse Benefiel in Increasing Process Profitability through Insight from Visual Management , a Quality Web exclusive. Read on to hear how members of Quality Magazine’s LinkedIn responded to the article. Got a comment? Share it on LinkedIn or at the bottom of this story.

Cassio Pereira de Paula, Quality Engineering-Trainee na Jabil (Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil): “The biggest challenge is lowering production costs focusing on zero waste and minor variations in process, while becoming competitive.”

Dan Towsley, inspector at SIHI Pumps Ltd (Kitchener, Canada Area): “It's hard to argue with an idea like "lower produciton costs," but all too often upper management interprets that as lowering costs in general; a quick look around and QA and/or Q.C. activities are regarded as "strictly overhead." That's a direct quote from one of my previous company managers.

So the knee-jerk reaction becomes: cut QA / Q.C. activities, since they are overhead anyway-and this often sends things in the wrong direction with respect to the "zero waste" goal. Tweak minor variations and become more competitive-fine.

I guess my question becomes: How does a company lower production costs, yet maintain high levels of quality, and keep on track to the ultimate goal of zero defects?”

Cassio Pereira de Paula: “That’s good question. I'm a production engineering student; I'm still learning about this issue. It's good to talk with who understand about this question. I wanted to mention the perfect production .. it would be with low production costs and with zero waste. I believe that we could focus on the elimination / reduction of activity that do not add value to the product as waste considering what the customer is not willing to pay.”

Alexei Shkolnik, product Manager at Proventus Technologies Ltd. (Israel): “As an answer to your question, our customers use our software to detect defects before (as much as possible) and after production process.”

Robinson S, QA & EHS Manager at PT Uwatec Batam (Riau Islands Province, Indonesia): “Lower production costs-in terms of improving product quality through a system-through best practices. Of course, variation should be reduced and controlled. [This can be achieved by] the cost due to waste being lowered. Productivity would be increased since most of available production time [goes to] produced good parts/products. There are a lot of concepts/tools in achieving this, but the most significant is optimistic people who work together."