Quality spoke with Praveen Gupta about how to expect excellence, strive for defect free manufacturing, and link the CAPA process, FMEA model and eventually innovation.

Gupta has been in the field of quality for about 40 years, a Fellow of ASQ since 1996, an early practitioner of Six Sigma and ISO 9001 systems since 1987, a past member of US Tag/TC-176 (for ISO 9001), and current member of US Tag/TC-279 for developing Innovation Management standards. Praveen received the Quality Professional of the Year Award in 2016. He will be speaking at The Quality Show South Thursday, May 2 at 11:30 a.m.

Quality: So can you tell us a little more about the topic and how you decided to speak on it?

Praveen: Yes, this is really my passion. Since I've been in the manufacturing area, I've seen since 85 that we started outsourcing manufacturing for simple things. And eventually it grew and it grew to the point where we start outsourcing systems. And I saw in 85 when I was in chip manufacturing, we tried to improve the manufacturing process and we could not do it for three years because we were doing trial and error type approach. And then I was being the junior most was given the responsibility to transfer the production to our older facility in Japan. And our engineers here in the US, they wanted to work on the newer designs, newer products.

So I had the privilege to work with the other side of the world. And what I found that within six months, they doubled the yield. And I walked through the process and only difference was that they just paid attention to the every single detail of every process. So I started believing that you can solve any problem and improve the manufacturing capabilities, reduce the cost of manufacturing and be globally competitive. So I started focusing on it and that's the beginning for my conversation.

Quality: For people who might not be familiar, can you tell us a little more about your background and quality?

Praveen: I know you've worked a lot of different places and done a lot of different things, but. To tell you the truth, I'm in quality by mistake. I am a product development engineer and I want to expand my body of knowledge to just become general expert in different things. So I switched to from product engineering to quality management. And that time it was a new area, new function being created in the way for manufacturing. At the time semiconductor manufacturing was new and I was working on 1K memory chips. Could we do one gigabits type and multi gigabits chips. So at that point I learn I did the auditing of all operations. That was a great way of learning what goes on in manufacturing without bearing bunny, without wearing bunny shoes. That was my kind of suffocating sense of working in semiconductor manufacturing. I learned the process, but then I realized once I had been in quality for three years, I also got certificate through ASQ certified quality engineer as a formal assessment of my three years in quality, but then after that, nobody would hire me back in anywhere else. Then I decided I'm just a good engineer. I'm general contribute to quality field the best I can. And I'm being so happy that I have been in quality for 40 years. I have done a lot of things, great experiences, only limitations, my boss told me, until somebody slaps on your wrist, then you back off. So I have privileged to work in all aspects of business and doing whatever I have wished to do to make the positive impact on my employer or to my customers. Yeah, definitely. I know with your consulting, you've worked with over a hundred companies and many different things you've seen. So that's great. Yes, I just look at those days, those are privileges to work with so many companies, so many variety of people, leaderships, executives, I think that was just an opportunity to learn. And I've been privileged to start my career in Motorola where Motorola was a quality leader. And just give you some perspective, the Malcolm Balaji Award started in 87 and the leadership category of the award was literally based on the behaviors of Motorola CEO, Bob Galvin. And I had the privilege to work with him and his team and everybody in the company.

Quality: So for people at the session, are there certain members or people who might benefit the most from the presentation? Is it geared toward anyone in particular?

Praveen: Absolutely. So, you know, current ISO standards promote process thinking process approach and they reuse PDCA, Plan Do Check Act, and it was developed at least a credit for PDCA goes through Deming and people are very loyal to Deming's work. And I also loved Deming's PDCA model till I discovered new way of looking at it. In the PDCA model, plan, do, check, act model, to me the checked always considered to be non-value added. So I was just not satisfied seeing C in PDCA. I also learned that Dr. Deming developed PDSA, plan, do, study, act but it did not stick and people did not use it. So people use the easy path to implementation that was PDCA, just check. And that really created the concept and the society of acceptability. We just accept all the work, acceptable work. And I teach courses in universities for last, I've been teaching for 15 years. Then we do acceptable work like the minimal work, it means C grade. So, entire PDCA model has inculcated the secret manufacturing mindset, just produce acceptable product. And that has led to a lot of variations that has led to the cost of poor quality. And that has just restricted or limited the manufacturing potentials in the US. And that I feel that I remedy it based upon the study of various gurus. So in this model that I have developed called 4P model which is prepare, perform, perfect, and progress. I have used the work of Ishikawa, I have used the work of Juran, Deming, Schuhart, and Taguchi. So giving the five guys, putting the five guys together, you cannot go wrong. So with the five guys, I put together prepare, perform, perfect, and progress model and it can produce perfect in many fact, perfection in manufacturing. And the perfection is not an act of God anymore. It is actually being on target. So with that in mind, I feel that unless we create the societal change of accepting excellence, bringing manufacturing back in the US will lead to same outcome, which is acceptable, tolerable material. And so in order for us to be successful in manufacturing, we need to really work as a society, as equality professionals, magazine, how do we create the culture of excellence in the country, in our society so that people do not accept tolerable work? And we need to aim at that. And this is what I would be focusing on in my presentation. That sounds great. Definitely, I like the analogy with grades. Like of course, striving for a C isn't that impressive. So going for the A plus is something people should shoot for instead.

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He will be speaking at The Quality Show South Thursday, May 2 at 11:30 a.m. For more information, view the agenda here.