I remember all the excuses from my early 1970s days as a schedule supervisor.  Here’s a list of excuses we could have carried around in our pocket, referring our customers to one of the numbers for an explanation (excuse) for their late delivery.  "The delivery would have been on-time except..."*

1. There was excessive scrap and the order came up short. Part of the order had to be reworked so the rest will be shipped next week.

2. The machine operator tripped over a pallet and broke his ankle, and I don’t have anyone trained on that machine until the weekend shift.

3. Two of the 10 reels were lost somewhere in work-in-process inventory, and we didn’t find it until it was too late to make this week’s schedule.

4. The final operation couldn’t be run because the machine had a bearing failure in the main drive shaft.

5. The engineers couldn’t figure out how to make the plastic extruder run up to rated speed.

6. An operator somewhere up the line passed along defective parts, and we didn’t find out about it until final test.  We’ll have to expedite a remake for next week.

7. I couldn’t possibly make this week’s schedule because production control had overscheduled my seven-day capacity by 20% including all of last week’s past dues.

8. I didn’t get this schedule delivered because I had to slow the machine down to 80% of rated speed, and I ran out of time to make the whole week’s schedule.

9. I found out that the production planner is scheduling my cell based on theoretical capacity instead of demonstrated capacity so it’s not my fault.

10. An operator, with his supervisor’s permission, over-ran an order because the same product is also scheduled to be run next week.  This was done to avoid a set up.  It was the efficient thing to do.

11. Sales oversold the forecast on those products by 25%.

12. The raw material came in late.

13. The raw material was rejected in receiving inspection and held there for disposition.  I’ll try to get more material for next week.

14. The operator ran the order slightly over-sized and the yield on the material came up short.

15. I couldn’t get anyone to work overtime to cover absenteeism.

16. The prior operation sent me the material late and I couldn’t make up the lost time.

17. The dog ate my schedule card.

* List of excuses is from my book The 12 Principles of Manufacturing Excellence--A Lean Leader's Guide to Achieving and Sustaining Excellence, 2nd. Edition