VOC: An Important Source of Customer Information & Improvement Projects

Posted by on Nov 17, 2019 in Continuous Improvement, Customer Satisfaction, VOC | 0 comments

  VOC or voice of the customer is a set of tools, method, and techniques that allow an improvement team to methodically collect and analyze customer needs and how customers value those needs.  Some basic needs are unspoken and expected.   If those needs are not met, the result will be extreme customer dissatisfaction.  An example might be buying a new car and finding it won’t start.   Performance needs help differentiate one supplier from another relative to price, functionality, or the ability of the supplier to provide the...

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Making Sense of Process Capability

Posted by on Nov 10, 2019 in Continuous Improvement, Process Capability | 3 comments

Process capability is the inherent variability that a process exhibits due to the variability in the process’ inputs.  To better understand what this means, let’s take a look at a simple IPO (Input, Process, Output) diagram for making a morning pot of coffee. Our output for this process is a strong, bold cup of coffee.  We designate the output of our process as the Y and it can be associated with the Critical to Quality (CTQ) characteristic that our customer wants.  The inputs shown on the left and are called the X’s and...

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Affinity Diagrams – A Process For Organizing Your Thoughts For Improvement

Posted by on Nov 3, 2019 in Continuous Improvement, Decision Making, Quality Tools | 0 comments

Affinity diagrams are a useful in that they can help you organize your thoughts and develop action plans when you are overwhelmed with many problems and not sure where to start.  They are also useful when issues seem too large and complex to grasp or when group consensus is needed to take action.  They can also be used when you need to analyze verbal data such as survey results and can help to reduce attributes to categories.   You begin by brainstorming or thinking about all the problems you’re currently faced with without trying...

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Make Sense of The Improvement Data You Collect

Posted by on Oct 27, 2019 in Continuous Improvement, Data Collection, Organizational Goals, Process Improvement | 0 comments

Most organizations can honestly say they have an abundance of data, but many flounder when it comes to having the right information to lead their companies to improvement.  We collect data on all kinds of things but we rarely take the time to analyze it properly to learn what it tells us. Some Basics Regarding Data First of all, data is all around us!  Everything we do produces data, every action, every process, and every system we interact with produces some kind of data.  It’s available and we can capture it if we want.  But a lot...

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Standardize Work Process To Provide Customers Better Products & Services

Posted by on Oct 20, 2019 in Continuous Improvement, Kaizen, Lean, Lean Six Sigma, Standard Work | 0 comments

Much of the work we do consists of repetitive tasks:  changing a die in a stamping press, closing the books every month or running a weekly or monthly meeting.  These repetitive tasks can be studied and improved to make them more efficient, reliable, easier, safer, and more productive.  We  then document the best method and teach it to everyone associated with the task.  This will make training new employees easier and improve our ability to solve problems and improve the process even more. Standardized work is the effective combination...

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Does Your Organization Have A Learning Disability?

Posted by on Oct 13, 2019 in Continuous Improvement, Learning Organization | 0 comments

Organizations fail at alarming rates and in most companies that do there is an abundance of evidence in advance that the firm is in trouble.  Organizations fail to recognize these impending threats and understand their implications even when some individual managers are aware of it. It is no accident that most organizations are poor learners.  The way they are designed and managed, the way employees think and interact create learning disabilities.  Many employees see themselves working in a system over which they have little or no...

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Invest in Employees And Make Them The Center of Your Lean Transformation

Posted by on Oct 4, 2019 in Culture, Lean | 0 comments

Much has been written about why few organizations succeed in making a lean transformation.  Some have stated the number to be less than 10% and when compared with Toyota the number becomes even worse and as low as 1%.  What is the reason for this?  What’s missing? I think it centers on employee involvement and not making employees the center of the lean transformation.  Companies that invest in their employees and challenge them to experiment and learn are far more likely to succeed than those who don’t.  Here are six actions...

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Creating a Culture That Gets Results – It’s a Matter of Survival!

Posted by on Sep 29, 2019 in Continuous Improvement, Culture, Decision Making, Organizational Goals | 0 comments

Achieving results and getting things done are the dreams of many business owners and executives.  No one goes into business with the attitude of playing it safe and not rocking the boat.  Most people go into business trying to achieve the highest performance they can but often get stuck in organizations that put a damper on their ambitions. Why does this happen?  Is there something about organizations that foster our inability to get things done?  Is it because priorities get in the way and we constantly juggle between our daily activities...

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A Fascinating Story About Henry Ford And How Asking Why Opened Toyota’s Eyes

Posted by on Sep 22, 2019 in Creativity, Henry Ford | 0 comments

It’s universally recognized that Henry Ford was a pioneer in perfecting the automotive industry.  He knew in detail every material used in his vehicles and his knowledge was not superficial.  Ford thought flexibly about things without getting caught up in existing concepts. In his book, Toyota Production System, Beyond Large-Scale Production, Taiichi Ohno relates what Henry Ford talked about in his book Today and Tomorrow about the textile industry and how his ideas opened Toyota’s eyes about how it conducted business. “We...

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A Supervisor’s Job Is Difficult and Challenging

Posted by on Sep 8, 2019 in Continuous Improvement, Decision Making, Efficiency, human resource utilization, Organizational Goals, safety, Training Effectiveness | 0 comments

Supervisors have a challenging job and have to juggle a lot of things in order to keep things going in the right direction for their organization.  They have to show leadership, promote safety, schedule and prioritize work assignments, improve efficiency, train new employees, continuously improve their operation, and settle employee squabbles. There are two main functions that every supervisor is tasked with.  They are producing the quantity required and providing quality assurance.  They have to make sure every employee is trained so they...

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