A COQ effort supports an
organization's overall continuous improvement effort.
A COQ Program translates the
impact of quality issues into financial terms, identifies
areas needing improvement, highlights the importance of
Prevention activities and Appraisal tasks to combat
potential failures and provides a means to track progress.
When the COQ % starts dropping,
improved financial performance and customer satisfaction
Reducing COQ % requires:
Using data to identify and
prioritize improvement targets,
Tackling the source of problems
Refining elements of the COQ
program by using feedback.
When tracking progress, the key
if to look for trends. The overall trend of the COQ % is
important, not the absolute value.
Early on, increases in
Prevention activities and probably Appraisal tasks should
lead to corresponding reductions in both External Failures
and Internal Failures.
There is no standardized
specific expected or acceptable rate of improvement. If
the COQ % trends down, the effort is likely on track.
However, if the trend reverses and the COQ % increases,
something is amiss. Investigate and find out why.
The COQ % will never reach
zero. Even if a zero failure rate is achieved, COQ
includes appraisal and prevention activities. While zero
is a realistic goal for both Internal and External
Failures, costs associated with some Appraisal tasks
and, to a greater degree, Prevention activities will
Use data to identify and prioritize
Once a COQ effort is underway,
numerous improvement opportunities will quickly become
A Pareto Chart can prioritize
targets by identifying which ones have the greatest
Tackling the source of problems.
When tackling a problem, it is
crucial to get to the source; the root cause is the source.
A problem can be solved "for good" only when the root cause
has been addressed.
Mistake-proofing addresses the
solutions (e.g. Forced Control Prevention solutions)
prevent problem recurrence.
Even relatively "weak"
mistake-proofing solutions (e.g. Sensory Alert Detection
solutions) will provide a proactive alert that the
problem has resurfaced.
solution will lead to lasting reductions in COQ.
Refine elements of the COQ program.
As with any program, if a COQ
effort is allowed to stay static, it will get stale.
Use the PDCA cycle to revisit
the elements of the program and make adjustments to improve
the efficiency and effectiveness of the COQ effort.
Build on what is working.
When there is an opportunity
to leverage a solution or breakthrough, it is like
getting unexpected compound interest on an earlier
If successes are publicized
and celebrated, the exposure increases the probability
that someone else will find an application for its use.
Revisit what is not working.
Perhaps more important than
identifying successes that can be leveraged is finding
process steps, techniques or practices that are holding
the organization back or in conflict with the program.
When a practice negates or
cancels out part of the COQ effort, waste is generated
that actually adds to the Cost of Quality.