In Part 4 of this series, I continued our problem-solving case study of a company that manufactures stainless steel pressurized vessels. Steps 8 through 15 from the problem-solving roadmap were covered.
The completion of our step-by-step method
In the final post in this series, I will complete our step-by-step method for solving the problem involving weld spatter and pinholes.
VI. Implement, document, and celebrate
16.0 Select and implement controls
The team had solved the biggest problem causing weld spatter, but as happy as they were with the results, they knew that unless they developed some sort of control for squareness, the problem would return. The team needed to develop a control that would guarantee that the two most important factors, width and squareness of the parts going to the bender, would remain controlled. The team chose to accomplish this using a control chart as seen in the figure below. They collected data for two weeks and then developed the chart. Training was provided to the shear machine operators and the problem was resolved.
The figure below is the run chart of weld spatter and pinholes that the team had developed as their success metric. As you can readily see, pinhole repair hours decreased from an average of approximately six hours per day to about 45 minutes per day. At the same time, weld spatter decreased from approximately five and one quarter hours, to about 30 minutes per day. In total, the team had taken two defects averaging approximately 11.5 hours per day, to about one and a half hours, which equated to an approximate 87 percent decrease.
17.0 Document and celebrate your success
The team concluded their problem-solving activities by documenting what they had done in a formal report, and then made a presentation to the management team. The magnitude of what this team had accomplished was simply overwhelming to the leadership of this plant. Once again, this team of very ordinary employees had achieved extraordinary things by simply following a systematic approach as outlined in the problem-solving roadmap. The problem-solving team and the management team celebrated together!
Until next time,
 Bob Sproull, The Problem-Solving, Problem-Prevention, and Decision-Making Guide, CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group, 2018
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