Problem solving

Who should the 8D sign off?

The customer or IATF16949 audit outcome: the problem-solving process is not effective, not according to the customer requirements, or you face re-occurred failures.

I have seen two typical reactions to such a non-conformance:

  • organize training for the whole team
    • HR will get the task, and they will send the team to outside or in-house training.

Job well done. The issue is close, right? (No, not at all as I already wrote about it in this separate article.)

  • The Quality Manager needs to sign the 8D before closing.

Unfortunately, this usually will not save the world, but we can have the next wildcard if this happens:

  • the  Plant Manager will also review and sign the reports before sending them out to the customer.

Why do we expect it will be an efficient solution to prevent insufficient 8D reports landing at the customer?

What will change from this action?

Let’s assume that the next level managers are really quality professionals and know what they should look for.  (I think it is not evident – and not a requirement –  that the next level manager will have the professional knowledge to identify the reports’ issues.)

If this is the case, we will still have the timing issue – it is not easy to find free time with a plant manager to review 8D reports. This can have a negative impact on our response time to the customer, which can initiate the next negative evaluation.

Imagine a big organization with many customer issues.  How long will the manager have the time and patience to review each case deeply?

What can we solve with the supervisor’s advance review?

In a short time, it can help.

We can detect obvious unlogic issues, no technical solutions.

We can also expect that the engineers will make more precise reports because they do not want to confront their managers. They try to avoid unpleasant moments. This positive effect will last as long as the manager will have the time and passion for closing reviews.

Is it not showing a lack of trust towards our colleague? How long do we plan to micromanage our colleagues?

Should we not understand the real root-cause behind the weak reports?

How about our Quality Management System (QMS)?

We have to understand the systematic root-cause.

What is the exact cause of insufficient reports?

Are we sure that it can only be a competence issue?

If so, which competence should be exactly improved? How exactly can be improved – besides the joker “send them for training!”?

How was the individual competence assessed before, and which actions were defined to improve?

Why did we not detect it?

How is it possible that the customer or the auditor highlights the incomplete 8Ds for us?

There are so many questions we need to ask ourselves.

8D reports signed off by managers can help in a short time, but that is not a sustainable solution.

Do not stop with simple answers without understanding the systematic issues behind.

As always, think in system with Pro Automotive.

If you are interested in reading articles about automotive quality management topics, best practices, case studies, follow Pro Automotive.

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