Non-Conformance Reports (NCR’s): a re-active but incredibly effective way to improve your processes, one error at a time

I have not heard of any organization that does not have problems. Customer complaints, faulty parts from vendors, internal documentation errors, mis-communication, the list of issues is endless, and organizations of all sizes are dealing with this (Boeing 737 MAX rings a bell?). 

The use of Non-Conformance Reports (NCR’s) is common in manufacturing to identify and fix problems with physical parts (incorrect dimensions, insufficient welds, material cracks, faulty electronics etc).

However, I have found NCRs to be a tremendously powerful tool to turn any bad situation into an opportunity to change processes such that similar occurrences do not happen again. NCR’s often originate from within the organization (e.g. Manufacturing receiving incomplete documentations from Sales), but review sites like Yelp and BBB can be a gold mine for obtaining valuable feedback from customers.


The NCR process

Just a few critical notes to ensure a successful implementation of your NCR process:

  • Ensure all personnel understand NCR’s are NOT a witch hunt! It is NOT about blaming individuals and NCR’s should never result in reprisals. NCR’s are about making everybody’s life easier, improving the organization as a whole, make clients happy and become more profitable.
  • Make sure that the individual leading the NCR program is someone who is capable in ensuring uniform execution throughout the organization, who will train others where needed and who will be effective in implementing the proposed changes.
  • Senior Management is to support the program at all times.

In my next article I will talk about a pro-active way to improve your processes, one process at a time.

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