Total Recalls

OMG Becky! There is totally like a new automotive recall like every week (my best valley girl accent).

Seriously, I am truly blown away by the sheer number and impact of the automotive recalls in the past few months. Let’s list a few: Porsche recalls the 911 GT3 due to engine fire; tells owners not to drive them and they are going to replace the entire engine. Volkswagen Passats and Dodge Chargers both recalled for headlight problems. Toyota has to cough up a billion two greenbacks to the Justice department and they aren’t even the headline. GM steals the spotlight with the ignition switch recall that has already recalled 1.6 million older vehicles and GM just announced there will be an additional 1.5 million newer vehicles recalled. I ain’t no math whiz, but that’s a whole lot of zeros. GM cost estimates are already $300 mil, not to mention 12 people are dead. So, $300 million may just be the start once the blood sucking lawyers get involved (No offensive Marg).

Alright, let’s put on the Lean Six Sigma glasses; all of the above is simply “Cost of Poor Quality” – COPQ for short. While the scale is ginormous, it is still the same category as receiving a single mocha-chino latte when you ordered a double. A defect is a defect, only the scale and impact vary. When Green Belt students discuss the various pains they have experienced when quality was poor (aggravated customers, replacement costs, labor costs, reputation, etc), the scale is somewhat normal, painful…but normal. Nothing like the mass vehicle recalls or the unimaginable costs Toyota and GM face. COPQ is lethal and can put a company out of business fast.

The bright side: GM Chief Executive Mary Barra said during a video apology, “something went wrong with our process…” Is anyone else picking up what she’s laying down? She identified the break down of the process as the cause and said GM needs to fix it’s processes. Is she right? If you said “Yes” give yourself a high-five. A bad process will defeat a great employee 100 times out of 100. They need continuous process improvement and Mary knows it. I’m optimistic for the future of General Motors.

At the very least a few LSS Green and Black belts should find some steady work at GM…just sayin.

Drive safe, Erik