Fundamental Behavior 20 – Pay Attention to the Details
Being detail-oriented is described as a character trait that means being able to pay close attention and notice minor details. Paying attention to the details allows us to catch mistakes or defects before they become bigger problems.
A few years ago, I took a trip to The Azores. While planning my trip, I researched the best places to hike around the island. The trail I was most excited about started at a beautiful lookout and wound around two breathtaking lakes. One thing I overlooked was what I thought was the distance for a round trip was actually one way! 13 miles later, we sheepishly stumbled into a small town and had to ask a waiter to call us a taxi back to our car. Lesson learned, read carefully!
Working in the quality department for the past year, I receive customer complaints that sometimes make me think, “How did this even get out the door?” I do not think our employees are intentionally sending out bad quality. We get comfortable in our jobs. We start just going through the motions. We get in a hurry. We get distracted. We take shortcuts.
So how do we break the cycle of not “Paying Attention to the Details”?
- Make sure you understand and follow your procedures and instructions. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if something doesn’t make sense.
- SLOW DOWN! I know, this is a hard one. We all have numbers to meet. We should make sure to emphasize not just sending product to our customer but good quality product!
- Focus on the task at hand. The more you try to multitask, the more likely you are to make an error.
- Do not take shortcuts, they lead not only to quality issues, but also could end up as a safety concern.
- Check and recheck your work. Even machines can make mistakes!
We produce millions of zippers and mistakes will happen. It is impossible for us to expect 100% perfection all the time. A simple mistake may not have a big monetary cost, but it is an inconvenience to our customer, who will now be short for their production. If we send the same customer bad product repeatedly, it has a negative impact on how they think about YKK.
We should all take pride in the fact our customers hold us to high standards because they trust us to be reliable and to get the job done right. Paying attention to the details is what sets YKK apart from the competition.
Continuous Improvement Leader
YKK (U.S.A.) Inc.