Continuous Improvement

A New Paradigm Shift Is Still Unthinkable In Many Organizations

A management paradigm is the way people think and act in conducting business.  It consists of the values, beliefs, practices, methods, tools, etc. that members of a social group construct to integrate the thoughts and action of its members. Paradigms typically change slowly.  Science evolves as new theories are advanced.  Current views are regarded as more valid and truthful.  As science...

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Fix Low Hanging Fruit To Build Momentum

When starting any improvement initiative, it’s important to have early successes in your efforts.  The saying, “Nothing motivates a team like success” is so very true.  If a team has to wait months before it sees improvement in the process it’s working on, there will likely be a drop in motivation for the team.  To make sure this doesn’t happen teams should begin...

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Use Gemba Walks to Uncover Problems & Promote Accountability

Gemba is a Japanese word that means the real place where value is created.  A gemba walk is a management tool whose purpose is to have managers walk the front line where they can see problems as they are occurring, ask questions and allow them to create follow-up on problems and promote accountability.  Problems are most visible where they occur and the best ideas for solving them will come...

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Importance of Monitoring Processes and Having Good Data

We’ve all been taught that without data our understanding of problems is just an opinion and in order to understand a problem or make a decision we must have good data.  During our training in continuous improvement and Lean Six Sigma we are taught the importance of a good data collection plan, having an accurate measurement system and the need to establish operational definitions if...

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VOC: An Important Source of Customer Information & Improvement Projects

  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...

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Making Sense of Process Capability

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...

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