What are the root causes for product failures due to faulty product-assembly?

Operations Manufacturing Industry

Equipment Failure Equipment Failure


About 1% of EquipmentCo.’s deliveries led to out-of-box failures (OBF). OBF is the failure of equipment after it is delivered to the customer. This resulted in customer dissatisfaction and increased delivery costs. EquipmentCo. had conducted root cause analysis on the origin of OBFs and implemented corrective actions. But the OBFs had not reduced substantially. Therefore, EquipmentCo. sought to identify the root cause of these failures as well as identify solutions.



Estimated reduction in the out-of-box failures


Solutions prototyped for process improvement


EquipmentCo. employed the Sprintly team to accelerate their understanding of equipment failures after delivery to customers. This sprint identified the root cause of equipment failures, provided solutions and KPIs to EquipmentCo. to measure their future failure rate.

Our approach

Sprintly team utilized various LEAN method tools to identify the root cause of the problem.

The key questions addressed in the project:

Q1. What are the root causes of out-of-box failures?

Q2. Where are the errors occurring in the current workflow?

Q3. What processes should be eliminated or changed to effect change?


Sprintly team conducted a three-phase project:

Phase1: Analyse current workflow to hypothesis failure root causes

Sprintly team identified three types of OBFs:

  • wrong product delivery
  • excess product delivery
  • incomplete order

The team then identified that the ‘wrong product’ deliveries were most common. Next, the team analyzed and mapped the current process to list all possible error areas.

Phase2: Preliminary recommendations based on listed process issues

Based on the identified issues in the previous stage, Sprintly team then outlined improvement of multiple solutions for key areas:

  • Process improvements – reorganizing the space, one order flow implementation or color-coding stickers etc.
  • Modification of documentations
  • Technical solutions – barcode scanner or RFID to scan each item

Based on these, the project management decided to pursue the technical solutions, as it would have minimum disruptions to the current workflow.

Phase3: Solution detailing and KPIs

The team then created a new process map in conjunction with EquipmentCo.’s current process. This process map also listed additional new equipment requirements and system changes for material flow. Additionally, the Sprintly team also listed possible failures and remedies for the recommended solutions. Finally, both short-term and long-term KPIs were provided to monitor the new process.


Sprintly team identified the issue areas in EquipmentCo.’s current logistic process that led to equipment failures. Based on this study Sprintly team was able to deliver concrete change requirements to EquipmentCo.

EquipmentCo. piloted the recommended solution and it is estimated that 75% of OBFs can be reduced over the course of 3-6months.