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Every project is a challenge

2019-01-19 15:17:06

Posted by Dongxinda Molding Technology Corporation, edited by Shane Zhao, 2019-01-16

 

What’s the most important thing in a project? You might say without thinking is a good management of schedule, cost and quality. Yes, these are top 3 elements you must pay great attention to. Do you ever think of how to achieve it? Probably not. Ok, we can explain it in a long words but I am sorry to say we are not going to do it in this article. Instead, I would like to pick up a small topic and describe it with a vivid example, it is interesting and might be more helpful.

The topic is about the unexpected events which usually jump out all of a sudden, soon become a big issue and knock everyone down if no quick action is taken. I remember clearly it happened in one of our projects, that is first project to build the injection mold and perform injection molding for a set of intelligence seat cover.

In this project, there are three types of material used for the production of exterior parts as shown in below chart. The basic requirement is to make them the same color with no visual difference.

Product Name

Material

Upper Cap

ABS

Toilet Seat

PP+Anti-virus

Back Cover

ABS+V0

1) Base color and color difference.

We first made upper cap, its color was then automatically determined by customer to be the base color. It means other two parts, the toilet seat and back cover, should be made to the same color as it. Unfortunately, due to different raw material, whatever the effort our plastic material supplier made, we still couldn’t get a uniform color. To catch up with tight schedule and according to previous experience, our customer made an confident decision that ignored the slight difference and went ahead with production.

Product Name

Material

Color

Upper Cap

ABS

Base color

Toilet Seat

PP+Anti-virus

Should be the same as upper cap

Back Cover

ABS+V0

(Action 1)

2) Bad news.

Resellers rejected the products because of the color difference, even it was slight to unnoticeable. All the products were returned back. Thank goodness! We only produced a small batch. However, the schedule was already affected, our customers and their resellers had to postpone the date of product launch in the risk of losing market share. To them, time is everything.

3) Solution.

We stopped production immediately, looked into it and discussed with our customer and plastic material supplier. We figured out a solution as shown in below chart. You can see the difference between two actions, action 1 is to take the upper cap as the base color and make others the same as it. Action 2 is to make them the same color, as long as it is white. We tried hard to make up for lost time and the recovery action turned out to be productive.

Product Name

Material

Color

Upper Cap

ABS

As long as they are white and can fit with each other

Toilet Seat

PP+Anti-virus

Back Cover

ABS+V0

(Action 2)

4) Reflection.

 a) Unexpected issue usually hit the project in an unpleasant Why not people pay attention to it? The answer is simple, because it is not in your pre-caution list and it occurs unexpectedly. In our case, the unexpected thing is the resellers deny to accept the product, but customer knows for sure they will compromise in the worst situation.

 b) How to prevent the unexpected issues from happening? To be honest, you can not eliminate Everyone’s knowledge and experienceis limited. You can not predict everything and get prepared for all beforehand. What you can do is to learn as many lessons as possible, study related knowledge from books and professional articles, note them down, spread them out in your team , and keep an eye on the essential steps, hold a meeting or assign an anonymous homework to collect the ideas from every team member, get it into a list, read them in your everyday meeting aloud and ask your team to keep track of it.

Back in our case, how does it become an unexpected issue? The fluke mind that the reseller will accept minor color difference, the simple mind of taking the upper cap as the base color at first, the bow to the schedule pressure… Every factors come together and make this happen.

c) What if I come across an unexpected issue? First of all, don’tbe panic! Try to keep calm. Your team counts on you and don’t make them lose their head. Then, find the deep reason and dig out your customer’s most basic In the last, brainstormis good way to find the answer.

Take our case for example, color difference should haven’t become a problem, but it unexpectedly grew to a real problem. Customer set the upper cap as base color from the very beginning, we realized afterwards that it was almost impossible to adjust other two products, the toilet seat and back cover, to the same color as it. Thinking carefully what the basic requirement is. It is “the same color for the exterior parts, that is, no visual difference on the exterior color”. Ironically, everyone involved got into a mindset of taking the upper cap as base color, whereas the original intention was just to keep all the exterior color the same.

Brainstorm is really one of the best way to break mindset. We held a meeting with customer and plastic material supplier, everyone opened their mind, and came to a conclusion that left the base color alone, just made a uniform color for each exterior part as long as they are white.

To some degree, unexpected things are unavoidable. In short, don’t be panic if you meet them, stay calm, try every method to resolve it at a early stage, note down what you have learned and share it to your team members. Whatever you do, keep in mind with “every new project is a challenge, every challenge will get you unexpected issue, it is the unexpected that makes future expected”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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