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Handling issues and non-conformities is a major part of any management system and is critical as a feedback mechanism on how the company operates. There is a diverse interpretation of what an issue is, and also the naming can be very widespread. We prefer to use the definition.

An issue is anything that didn’t go according to what was agreed upon.

This way, you cover most things, from customer complaints to suppliers issues, product deviations, environmental spills, injuries, and procedure nonconformities. 

The Importance

As mentioned before, issues are the main tool to keep track of how the company is doing from a quality and safety perspective. To get a really good understanding, it is important that every issue is reported. We can only improve the things we know are going wrong. In order to reach this, all boundaries to report an issue have to be removed. It should be simple and quick to report an issue. This data is the key information stream for the improvements, so the more issues reported, the better.

No Boundaries

Taking away the boundaries for reporting is ideal. Reporting an issue must be as simple as sending a text message. Everybody needs to know how they can report an issue. For example, some companies use an app on a mobile device to report issues, because today, everybody has a smartphone or tablet. Removing any boundaries will increase the number of issues that are reported significantly. 

Data Analytics

The data found in the issues is invaluable for improvement processes. In order to really optimize processes within the company, it is key to capture the right information. Therefore, it is important to make sure the issue form captures all the critical information to find trends. Great examples to include are:

 

Quality

Safety

Production line

Location

Process

Days off after an injury

Machine involved

Use PPE

These are just some examples, there can be a lot more all depending on the KPIs you use within the company. 

Technology

In order to process and analyze all data quickly and accurately, having the right platform is a must. Doing all this with Excel isn’t going to work because data gets lost. Technology has to be in place to really bring quality and safety to the next level, and using issue management for this is a great starting point. 

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