Learning From You

I’ve been reflecting on my earlier post this week about my “mini-kaizen” while placing labels onto CDs. As always, your comments were great.

Some folks agreed with my approach.

Nice work and you have a good looking sister in law! ~ Chad

This is a tough one and I do agree with parts of what Steve and David have said above.

However I personally see myself agreeing with Ron on this one with one major caveat. The assembler must be fully trained and empowered to self inspect his or her work.

Finally, I have used CD fixtures like these and must admit I find them cumbersome and clumsy to use. ~Tim

Ron,  I like your example as a way to continuously improve a process.
Once you are comfortable with your new process, you should make it the standard by documenting it. That should address Steve Harris’s concern (which is valid).

Also, your process improved the product because all labels would be in the proper position after application. They could be rotated in any posiiton with the initial process. ~ Ed Kemmerling

And some didn’t.

For the first time I’ve got to disagree with you here Ron (with tongue in cheek). Process sheets are an important to a controlled process, without which process improvement would be tough due to inconsistancy. I’m sure the quality of finish you achieved was admirable, but maybe not everyone could achieve that level of quality. This makes the process unstable.

I could agree if all the people involved in label application were calibrated to an acceptable level, or if the Label/CD alignment was unimportant to customer satisfaction, but changing KPI’s without an understanding of their effect on KPC’s is not advisable.

Hope the wedding goes well, keep up the good work; I always enjoy the blog. ~Steve Harris

Well, I have one of those “fixtures” for applying CD labels. I would be very much surprised if you maintained the consistency and quality of label application without utilizing the alignment fixture.

While I understand the desire to eliminate steps (remove CD from case, apply label, replace in case), the overall cost of your revised method is probably higher, after you “scrapped” a few misaligned labels. And do you realize that the cost of the label is significantly higher than the CD on which it’s placed? ~ David

Well, this is an example of how simplification can turn bad if applied without enough insight.

Those ‘fixtures’ are tools designed to ensure proper central alignment of label on the CD. Both CD’s and label’s centres fall in the empty space so it is not possible to align label manually in such a way that centres match, not to speak about keeping alignment consistently within acceptable boundaries.

CD label misalignment will cause CD to ‘wobble’ while rotating in CD drive, having the effect of noisy operation, erroneous readings and excessive drive wearing.

Your mini-kaizen will have very bad influence to customer satisfaction and possibly cause real damage to their equipment.

Learning from counter-arguments

I hate to break it to those of you who agreed with my methods… I learned little from you. Of course I still appreciate you and would be lying if I didn’t admit to getting a little tingly feeling when I read your words!

However, for those of you who offered counter-arguments to my approach I learned a great deal.

You see, I was quite sure my approach was superior… and, honestly, still think it might be if things like excellent training and self-inspection are in place. But what your comments made me re-think was how “sure” I was about things.

You see, I jumped to an improvement and probably didn’t turn the PDCA wheel quite as well as I should have.

For example, perhaps I could have found a way to improve the “fixturing” method before completely abandoning it. Maybe I could have used SMED principles and done some steps “externally” before production started.

And while my hands are pretty steady… I wonder how steady would they be after 8 hours of work? Again, all the more reason to find a way to make the fixture method work.

Sadly I don’t place labels onto CDs for a living so I doubt I will get a lot of opportunity to really perfect the process… but I did learn from the experience and, most especially, I learned from all of you.

Thank you!