The act of “putting out a fire” is associated with resolving an urgent problem. Afterward, we worry about the cause, the consequences, and what knowledge we can gain, or so we believe. Quite frequently, this next step is replaced by handling and putting out the next fire. The digital factory provides us the ability to prioritize quality “hot-spots” that require handling. However, in world-class organizations, we must ensure that we complete the additional step and do more than extinguish the flames.
Today’s discrete manufacturers are under pressure to meet two often-opposing objectives: delight customers with high-quality products, and continually reduce operational costs while doing it. This dichotomous situation leaves many manufacturers feeling as though they have to “choose” one outcome over the other, prioritizing either customers or costs—but not both.