Chapter 6 Process Improvement
Process Improvement • Primary focus areas • Productivity • Cost • Quality • Approaches • Kaizen (continuous improvement) • Six Sigma – linked to financial return • Breakthrough (discontinuous change)
Kaizen Blitz A kaizen blitzis an intense and rapid improvement process in which a team or a department throws all its resources into an improvement project over a short time period, as opposed to traditional kaizen applications, which are performed on a part-time basis.
Poka-Yoke (Mistake-Proofing) • An approach for mistake-proofing processes using automatic devices or methods to avoid simple human or machine error, such as forgetfulness, misunderstanding, errors in identification, lack of experience, absentmindedness, delays, or malfunctions
Three Levels of Mistake-Proofing • Design potential errors out of the product or process – Eliminates any possibility that the error or defect might occur • Identify potential defects and stopping a process before the defect is produced – Requires time to stop a process and take corrective action. • Find defects that enter or leave a process – Eliminates wasted resources that would add value to nonconforming work, but clearly results in scrap or rework.
Poka-Yoke in Services • Task errors • Treatment errors • Tangible errors • Customer errors in preparation • Customer errors during an encounter
Creative Thinking • Brainstorming - a useful group problem-solving procedure for generating ideas, was proposed by Alex Osborn “for the sole purpose of producing checklists of ideas” that can be used in developing a solution to a problem • Checklists to stimulate ideas: Put to other uses? Adapt? Modify? Magnify? Minify? Substitute? Rearrange? Reverse? Combine?
Six Sigma and Lean Production • Lean Production - approaches initially developed by the Toyota Motor Corporation that focus on the elimination of waste in all forms, including defects requiring rework, unnecessary processing steps, unnecessary movement of materials or people, waiting time, excess inventory, and overproduction
Tools in Lean Production • The 5 S’s - seiri (sort), seiton (set in order), seiso (shine), seiketsu (standardize), and shitsuke (sustain) • Small batch or single piece flow • Visual controls • Efficient layout and standardized work • Pull production • Single Minute Exchange of Dies (SMED) • Total productive maintenance • Source inspection • Continuous improvement
Lean Six Sigma • Lean tools complement traditional Six Sigma tools • Applications in “back office” services that have similar characteristics as manufacturing
The Deming Cycle Act Plan Study Do
Plan (1 of 2) • Define the process: its start, end, and what it does. • Describe the process: list the key tasks performed and sequence of steps, people involved, equipment used, environmental conditions, work methods, and materials used. • Describe the players: external and internal customers and suppliers, and process operators. • Define customer expectations: what the customer wants, when, and where, for both external and internal customers. • Determine what historical data are available on process performance, or what data need to be collected to better understand the process.
Plan (2 of 2) • Describe the perceived problems associated with the process; for instance, failure to meet customer expectations, excessive variation, long cycle times, and so on. • Identify the primary causes of the problems and their impacts on process performance. • Develop potential changes or solutions to the process, and evaluate how these changes or solutions will address the primary causes. • Select the most promising solution(s).
Do • Conduct a pilot study or experiment to test the impact of the potential solution(s). • Identify measures to understand how any changes or solutions are successful in addressing the perceived problems.
Study • Examine the results of the pilot study or experiment. • Determine whether process performance has improved. • Identify further experimentation that may be necessary.
Act • Select the best change or solution. • Develop an implementation plan: what needs to be done, who should be involved, and when the plan should be accomplished. • Standardize the solution, for example, by writing new standard operating procedures. • Establish a process to monitor and control process performance.
The Seven Management and Planning Tools • Affinity diagrams • Interrelationship digraphs • Tree diagrams • Matrix diagrams • Matrix data analysis • Process decision program charts • Arrow diagrams
Project Review – Improve (1 of 2) • Team members have received any necessary “just-in-time” training • Process maps have been studied and evaluated in detail • Ideas and suggestions from all the right people have been solicited and considered • All reasonable alternatives have been identified • Both incremental and breakthrough improvements have been considered • Criteria for evaluating alternatives have been developed
Project Review – Improve (2 of 2) • Alternatives have been thoroughly evaluated for feasibility and improvement potential • Improvements identified align with the project metrics (“vital few” independent variables) and goals • Mistake-proofing has been incorporated into improvement ideas • Impacts of proposed changes have been tested and verified through experimentation or a pilot project
Agility • Flexibility – the ability to adapt quickly and effectively to changing requirements • Cycle time - the time it takes to accomplish one cycle of a process
Process Map Analysis (1 of 2) • Are the steps in the process arranged in logical sequence? • Do all steps add value? Can some steps be eliminated and should others be added in order to improve quality or operational performance? Can some be combined? Should some be reordered? • Are capacities of each step in balance; that is, do bottlenecks exist for which customers will incur excessive waiting time? • What skills, equipment, and tools are required at each step of the process? Should some steps be automated?
Process Map Analysis (2 of 2) • Where are the critical points of customer contact? • At which points in the system might errors occur that would result in customer dissatisfaction, and how might these errors be corrected? • At which point or points should quality be measured? • Where interaction with the customer occurs, what procedures and guidelines should employees follow to present a positive image?