Implementing a Problem Solution Requires Careful Planning

Posted by on Oct 18, 2012 in Continuous Improvement, Lean Six Sigma, Problem Solving, Process Improvement | 0 comments

You’ve done a lot of hard work, analyzed your process, and have come up with a root cause and a viable solution.  How do you proceed from here?  What steps do you need to take in order to ensure the solution is properly implemented and the problem doesn’t come back.  Here are some things you need to consider:

First, have you piloted the solution.  Have you conducted a trial run?  In some cases, the pilot may be a simulation of a new workflow, in others, it might be a trial run of one or two days.  Try to push your pilot to its limits to determine it’s operating limits and robustness.  Use Plan, Do, Check, Act (PDCA) and allow time and resources to capture changes or tweaks you need to make that weren’t anticipated.

Other important points to consider are:

  • Anticipated improvement:  How much will this new practice contribute to the department’s effectiveness and efficiency?
  • Timing:  How soon can the new process be installed and show results?
  • Probability of success:  What are the risks and certainty of success?  Have you determined what can go wrong?  Do you need to establish contingency plans?  Have you conducted an Failure Mode & Effects Analysis (FMEA) on the new process to determine any new failure modes?
  • Cost:  What resources are needed to make it happen?  What will the cost of implementation be?
  • Facility:  Will there need to be a rearrangement of the office, department, etc.?
  • Staffing:  Will changes in personnel be required?
  • Training:  Who will need to receive training?  What?  Where?  When?  How long?
  • Controls:  What controls will you need to have in place?  Documentation of the new process?  Procedures and work instructions?  Visual aids?  Monitoring system?  Internal audit?

Implementing an effective solution takes careful planning.  Don’t assume anything and make sure you revisit the process on a regular basis to ensure everything is going as planned.

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