Avoid Verschlimmbesserung with Management of Change

Verschlimmbesserung means a purported improvement that makes things worse. Management of change (MOC) relates to processes changes that can result in “new” or “changed” outputs that affect internal or external customers.

Lorenzo, Wong, and Suyama, “Recognize Hazards to Recognize Change.” Chemical Engineering Progress, April 2015, pp. 40-44 cites an example of a new material (municipal water) used by a supplier of caustic soda or caustic potash. If the water contains chlorine, the chloride ions could eventually result in cracks in stainless steel pipes that handle the caustic solution. A trace material can therefore cause very significant and unpleasant consequences. This is an example of management of change, and it needs to be considered in any corrective action or improvement project.

A good way to address this issue includes but is not limited to use of the cause and effect diagram to identify process factors that might affect the outputs (and also safety), and consider how the indicated changes might affect the outcomes. In the example shown above, the change in the water is a change in the Materials category.

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