I’d read before that Apple’s supplier (Foxconn) was having trouble assembling iPhone 5s to Apple’s standards… but this article contains some shocking stats: “Apple Returns Millions of Defective iPhone 5 Smartphones.”
Millions… 5 to 8 million defective phones returned. Foxconn has only been able to achieve an 80% quality rating… suggesting 2 in 10 have some sort of problem. What were Apple’s expectations? Shockingly low.
The agreement between Apple and its outsourced manufacturer allegedly states that a 90 percent quality rate is required (meaning only 1 out of 10 iPhones are allowed to be broken).
I’m pretty shocked that Apple expected (or allowed) a 10% defect rate.
The bad working conditions at Foxconn have been well documented (including this previous blog post of mine).
This goes to show there are multiple definitions of quality, including:
Fitness for use: Does the product, as designed, meet the customer’s needs?
Lack of defects: Not having physical problems or electrical problems
This is a VERY high defect rate for manufacturing. That’s hardly a six sigma quality level.
Having to take back the defective product add costs and hurts profit margins for Foxconn.
About LeanBlog.org: Mark Graban is a consultant, author, and speaker in the “lean healthcare” methodology. Mark is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. Mark is also the VP of Customer Success for the technology company KaiNexus. He lives in San Antonio, Texas.