When it comes to problem-solving, you can use several tools and systems to boost factory productivity.
Today, we’re talking about QRQC and how this problem-solving system might be the right approach to improve your factory’s cost-effectiveness and overall efficiency.
QRQC: What is it?
QRQC stands for Quick Response Quality Control, one of the fastest, most effective problem-solving approaches you can find. Nissan developed this approach in the late 90s, taking inspiration from Toyota’s TQM and Lean production systems, which are still very relevant today.
QRQC works by using factual observation to identify anything affecting quality and taking steps to fix the issue quickly.
The main focus here is to satisfy customers — external or internal — by taking targeted actions to fix any problems permanently. This is what the QRQC process looks like:
- When an issue appears, the first thing the QRQC does is take immediate action to solve the problem right away. This is meant to protect the customer by finding the root cause and fixing it on the spot
- The next thing the QRQC does is to establish production standards, ensuring that those standards are being met
- Then, it’s time to find ways to improve the existing process by using the Kaizen method
- The last step is to fix any recurring issues for good. The best way to sort this out is by bringing alternative problem-solving tools for the specific issue, such as 8D or A3
QRQC: How does it work?
One of the main operating principles of the QRQC is the San Gen Shugi, also known as the method of the 3 Gen.
This principle focuses on knowing the three main factors impacting the problem you need to solve. These three factors are:
- Gemba, which focuses on the actual time and place of the problem, as well as those involved. Gen ba strives to understand the whole context of the problem to have a clear picture of how to solve it
- Genbutsu, which deals with the actual parts or processes involved in the problem. This step identifies good and bad parts according to the production standards set, analyzing which of those standards are compliant, and which ones aren’t
- Genjitsu, which focuses on factual data about the problem, leaving opinions and anything that isn’t data-accurate outside of it
These three approaches ensure that every step taken toward fixing the problem is accurate, quick, and effective.
The QRQC process: an overview
The QRQC process reaches its full potential when it’s discussed in regular meetings. The goal is to establish strategies to tackle the issue at hand. These strategies also need to integrate with continuous improvement and lean management tools to reach their full potential.
This method works best when applied where the problem is happening, so those involved in the implementation process must have access to a meeting room as close as possible to the gemba.
Before these regular meetings take place, those in charge of the QRQC implementation need to discuss the problems they need to solve. These problems are directly related to the goals set in their Master Plan or Hoshin Kanri.
Those in charge of the QRQC implementation also need to keep track of the effectiveness of their actions by:
- Checking the percentage of problems they’re fixing permanently
- Reducing the average time it takes to find and fix an issue
- Improving the operational indicators of their specific areas and hitting the goals set in their Hoshin Kanri
How to implement a successful QRQC process
Every factory is different, and so are its needs. However, we’ve come up with a successful QRQC process that works well in a production plant, and it only requires four main steps.
STEP 1 — Planning
During this step, it’s crucial to train everyone who’s going to be involved in the process. Everyone should be familiar with the basics of QRQC, problem-solving, and standardization.
The goals and objectives need to be clear, as well as those departments involved in the process.
Another important planning point is what rules are going to be used to select the problems to fix, as well as the solving method (8D, A3, etc)
Everyone involved needs to have access to a meeting room near the site of the problem. This ensures that everybody can communicate properly on-site.
Lastly, it’s important to have a visual guide with the percentage of problems solved and attendance, so that everything and everyone are accountable.
STEP 2 — Pre-meeting preparation
During this stage, it’s fundamental to choose the problems that need to be solved as a priority based on their objectives.
After that, we select a person to deal with the problem, and we let them know. This person is then in charge of coming up with a resolution proposal.
The person in charge of dealing with the problem works alongside a team and their leader to come up with a solution collaboratively.
STEP 3 — Meeting
The structure of this 30-minute meeting is quite straightforward:
First, we present the results of the previous day for a maximum of 5 minutes.
Then, the person in charge presents the selected problem of the day along with their resolution proposal for a maximum of 10 minutes.
After that, there’s a presentation of the selected problem from the previous day, with an explanation of what actions they took to fix it, and if they had to create or modify any standards. This lasts a maximum of 10 minutes.
Then, the problem gets closed or revised for a maximum of 5 minutes.
STEP 4 — Post-meeting
Here, the person in charge of solving the problem works with the team and their team leader to solve it, update the indicators, and report back.
Benefits of QRQC
QRQC focuses on solving a problem quickly and effectively, so your customers are protected immediately, and your teams’ skills when it comes to problem-solving develop much faster.
You get daily factual information about the KPIs of each area, improving your teams’ reaction to a problem. This method’s focus is always related to the objectives set up by Hoshin Kanri.
QRQC also allows you to set rigorous standards and ensures everybody follows them.
All in all, QRQC improves the safety of your workforce as well as the quality of your products, processes, and results, boosting the performance of your entire value chain.
How to maximize the impact of QRQC
Here are some tips to ensure you’re implementing this system to its full potential:
- QRQC needs to become a priority event that happens every day at the same time. When QRQC becomes routine, it uses more historical data, becoming more accurate and effective each time you use it
- Those responsible for the areas where the problem appeared must always be present during the meetings, having their roles clearly defined and following up on the action they take
- Problem-solving activities must be carried out by a single problem manager who will ask different teams for support as needed
- During a QRQC process, immediate customer protection and treatment of non-conforming parts must be your number one priority at all times
- Your team must always respect the chronology of the meetings and their duration (30 minutes)
- Communicate all the problems your team solves
- Use only facts and data when solving a problem
QRQC and mlean®
QRQC is one of the sturdiest problem-solving systems out there, but not the only one. It may not even be the right solution for you.
At mlean®, we developed our mlean® Production System software to feature the most complete toolkit for industrial operations.
This means our software uses QRQC, but it also integrates 8D, A3, and many other lean philosophies and processes like Kaizen or Hoshin Kanri.
Our mPS system digitizes your factory processes, connects your workers at all levels, and increases productivity and cost-effectiveness.
Book a demo and see for yourself!