Communications in production and support roles

Recently I was asked: “When an inspector reveals a part non conformance that must be corrected, such as diameter, should he/she communicate it to the machine operator or to the production supervisor?”

This is a good question. As you no doubt know, ISO 9001:2015 has raised expectations of communications. It isn’t about people just saying things to each other. There are now requirements for the organization to determine how communications will be performed: what, when, who, how, and with whom.

There is of course no requirement about how you will do your communicating. It is about how your information is handled: how your communications are set up, how you respond to found issues, how you monitor and measure processes.

After all, defects found by inspectors can indicate immediate, tactical needs (make corrections so the quality costs can be minimized) and provide needed information for strategic needs (process monitoring helps the organization learn what changes should be invested in for the good of all).

If you are designing your communication and data analysis path, great: isn’t that what you are asking about? If you haven’t yet decided how information is handled and passed along, now is the time. Both options are open to you.

1) Inspectors don’t need to be in hierarchy of production to relay information. Do these machinists produce parts independent of other process outputs?
2) The responsiveness of your production supervisor may be the key to your decision. Would this supervisor have key information the machinists need to maintain the conformity of their immediate processes without interfering with larger considerations like fellow processes, GD&T and downstream effects?

If #1 is true, it is probably OK to tell the machinists first and inform the production supervisor second.
If #2 is true, Probably inform the production supervisor so a balanced response can be made.

In short, two things are needed: deal with errors to minimize waste, and learn from the issues in order to keep the waste under control on a wider basis. How you choose to accomplish that is up to you.