Week 4 - Lecture 2 - Continual Improvement Methods with Six Sigma, Lean, Lean Six Sigma.doc

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Chapter NineteenCONTINUAL IMPROVEMENT METHODSWITH SIX SIGMA, LEAN, AND LEAN SIX SIGMA and MoreContinual improvement is fundamental to success in the global marketplace. Companiesthat are just maintaining status quo in such key areas as quality, new product development,the adoption of new technologies, and process performance are like a partner who is sittingstill in a race. Competing in the global marketplace is like competing in the Olympics.Last year’s records are sure to be broken this year. Athletes who don’t improve continuallyare not likely to remain long in the ‘winner’s circle. The same is time of companies thatmust compete global. In addition, customer needs are not static. They change continually.A typical example is the personal computer.Management’s role in continual improvement: Establishing an organization-wide quality council and serving on it. Working with thequality council to establish quality improvement goals with timetables and target dates.Providing the necessary moral and physical support. Moral support manifests itself ascommitment Physical support comes in the form of the resources needed to accomplish thequality improvement objectives. Scheduling periodic progress review and givingrecognition where it is deserved. Building continual quality improvement into the regularreward system including promotions and pay increases.Five essential improvement activities.Maintain CommunicationCommunication is essential to continual improvement. This cannot be overemphasized.Communication with improvement teams and between teams is a must.Correct Obvious ProblemsOften process problems are not obvious and a great deal of study is required to isolate themand find solutions. This is the typical case and it is why the scientific approach is soimportant in a total quality setting. However, there will be times when there is a problemwith a process that is obvious. In such cases, the problem should be corrected immediately.Spending days studying a problem for which the solution is obvious just so that thescientific approach is used will result in ten-dollar solutions to ten-cent problems.Look UpstreamLook for causes, not symptoms. This is a difficult point to make with people who are usedto taking a cursory glance at a situation and putting out the fire as quickly as possiblewithout taking time to determine what caused it.Document Problems and ProgressTake the time to write it down. It is not uncommon for an organization to continue solvingthe same problem over and over because nobody took the time to document the problemsthat have been dealt with and how they were solved. A fundamental rule for anyimprovement project team is “document, document, document.”Monitor ChangesRegardless of how well studied a problem is, the solution eventually put in place may notsolve it or may only partially solve it. For this reason, it is important to monitor the
performance of a process after changes have been implemented. It is also important to

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