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Make Something Happen – Establish Accountability!

Posted by on Jan 31, 2014 in Continuous Improvement, Organizational Goals, Problem Solving, Process Improvement | 0 comments

Yesterday I met with a potential client that is looking for problem solving training for his employees.  We discussed the logistics of the training, topics to include, and a variety of other training issues.  He told me his organization would be very quick to say they know the reasons for many of their problems, based on past experience and opinion.  Very few of their problems are addressed by collecting data and good root cause analysis.  They keep applying one band-aid after another. He then made a statement that made me cringe.  He...

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A Little Workplace Organization Can Make A Tremendous Difference!

Posted by on Jan 8, 2014 in Continuous Improvement, Lean, Lean Six Sigma | 0 comments

Ever watch employees in your company perform their jobs?  It can be a real eye opener when you observe employees running around looking for tools and equipment to do their job.  With just a little effort and organization, large gains can be made in making a company more efficient and productive.  Here are just some of the benefits of becoming more organized: Less downtime Better efficiency Increased production Improved morale Here is one example of how you could organize your work areas better: Figure 1 shows a work table in disarray....

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Understanding the Difference Between the Mean and Median

Posted by on Jan 6, 2014 in Process Improvement | 0 comments

The other day I was listening to a reporter on CNN talk about the median price of an apartment in New York city.  The price was a staggering $820,000.  During the discussion that followed he said something that made me cringe.  He stated that very high priced apartments, those over $2 million dollars, were causing the median to be higher than it should be.  What he failed to realize is the median is the middle value in a set of data and not the mean of the data. Here is an example I use that demonstrates the difference (I call it the Bill...

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Don’t Let Operator Issues Be An Excuse Not To Do Your Job!

Posted by on Dec 18, 2013 in Continuous Improvement, Customer Satisfaction, Problem Solving, Process Improvement | 0 comments

I recently visited a client that is experiencing a number of quality issues both internally and externally with their customers.  A large portion of their manufacturing process relies on operators doing their job properly.  In reviewing their process, it was evident that operators were not handling material properly, not using process fixtures, and not following the methods they were taught.  The comments I heard were “We really have a lot of people problems in our plant!”  As we toured the plant no one stopped and corrected...

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10 Ways to Improve Your Organization’s Ability to Solve Problems

Posted by on Dec 6, 2013 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Problem solving is a skill that anyone can learn and become more proficient.  As individuals, we constantly solve problems everyday.  But it seems that problems in the workplace are much tougher to solve for a variety of reasons.  Much of this is due to the complexity and technical nature of the problems we encounter at work.  In thinking about this, I’ve identified 10 ways that organizations can help improve their ability to solve problems. Take enough time to understand the current situation.  Don’t just start throwing...

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Does Your Organization Continue To Have The Same Problems?

Posted by on Jul 26, 2013 in Continuous Improvement, Problem Solving | 0 comments

Continuous improvement is an on-going effort to improve products, services, and processes in an organization.  It is typically conducted incrementally, i.e., making small frequent improvements versus breakthrough improvements where it is done in large steps.  Many organizations use the kaizen approach to making incremental improvements.  Key features of kaizen are: Improvements are based on many, small changes rather than the radical changes Since ideas generally come from the workers themselves, they are less likely to be radically...

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Process Improvement Isn’t Rocket Science!

Posted by on Jun 27, 2013 in Continuous Improvement, Lean Six Sigma | 0 comments

A pet peeve of mine is how the consulting industry has made continuous improvement a skill for only a select few.  By that I mean it takes an engineer, math major, or someone with a master degree or PhD to understand what many are teaching in Lean Six Sigma courses.  Many consultants believe that Green Belts and Black Belts need to understand and be able to derive every formula.  Students eyes glaze over and instead of torturing data, the student gets tortured. Continuous improvement should be simple so that anyone can make improvements to...

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Don’t Let Luck be the Major Factor in How You Define and Transfer Critical Process Knowledge

Posted by on Jun 7, 2013 in Continuous Improvement, Efficiency, Process Improvement | 0 comments

One of the largest contributors to inconsistency or variability in an organization is caused by lack of a written method, i.e., a procedure, work instruction, or standard work.  When no documented method exists, knowledge of a particular job is based on tribal information and most workers have their own way of doing the work.  Often their is a lack of an effective method for defining what is truly critical and important for the successful completion of the job.  Many times, personal preference takes over, which can vary from one person to...

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Keep Your Company Communication Crisp and Varied

Posted by on Jun 6, 2013 in Efficiency | 0 comments

I’ve seen on several occasions where struggling companies are plagued by a common enemy, i.e., the failure to communicate.  Sales doesn’t talk to engineering, engineering doesn’t talk to operations and one shift doesn’t talk to the other shifts.  Failure to communicate can create waste that leads to inefficiencies and reduced profits.  Here are a few examples of what I mean: Sales agrees to make a product change with the customer, but fails to communicate the change to manufacturing.  The next time the product is...

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Learn to Work Smarter, Not Harder!

Posted by on Jun 5, 2013 in Continuous Improvement, Efficiency, Lean, Process Improvement | 0 comments

Many employees go to work each day frustrated because of all the non-value-added activities that occur in their work day.  Good, accurate information is hard to get, answering all the emails that come each day, interruptions that occur, and unproductive meetings are just some examples of the daily activities that cause anxiety and frustration.  On top of all this, no one seems to care and the days drag on and frustration builds.  In today’s environment everyone is busy, but there is little consistency and a lot of waste occurs in most...

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