Operations Payoff

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Can Quality and Continuous Improvement Get Along?

One of the main drivers of the quality revolution in the 1990s was the term, “Do It Right The First Time.” The concept was that quality was built into products and processes and that we should eliminate the need for re-work. At the same time, continuous improvement taught us to be accepting of mistakes, so long as they served as a foundation for learning and improvement through root cause and corrective action.

Are these two concepts incongruent? Not at all. Doing things right the first time doesn’t just happen – it’s part of the evolution of continuous improvement. The goal of doing things right the first time drives improvement so problems don’t reoccur. Quality should always be the highest goal, because without it your customers will go elsewhere…and then the rest doesn’t matter.

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