By George Strodtbeck – Stop for a second and think about your last product problem; your last customer complaint; your panic because your scrap rate was consuming a large share of your profit.

Did you know why?

Was it a problem with the assembly line? Did you deliver the wrong product to a customer? Did the company recently hire several temporary employees? 

Each problem was the result of one or more failures. Ultimately, these failures come from the company’s processes, its tools, and/or the skills of its people. All of the company’s activities can be classified into one or more of these three categories; processes, tools, skills.

Some examples might help:

  • The product problem – A part was out of stock. Unfinished product was piling up. This could be a failure of the inventory processes, a tool used to give accurate visibility to inventory, or this was the first week on the job for the person responsible for the inventory of that part.
  • The customer complaint – The company recently installed new ordering software that changed how placing orders had always been done. The failure could be inadequate software, a difficult to use interface, or inadequately trained order placers.
  • The scrap rate – A new supplier was delivering a slightly different material. This material required a slightly different handling process, the tool used to process it was too hard, or the people running the line ran the process as they always had.

These are simple examples, but each failure can be attributed to one or more of the categories of processes, tools, or skills.

But how do you know where to focus? Processes, tools, or skills…OH MY!

That’s where we come in. SBTI has been helping companies work on problems like this for over 20 years. If you would like to know more, give us a call.

If you would like to request a listening session for your business, you can contact me, George Strodtbeck, by email at