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Unformatted text preview: select the most suitable as themes. To identify problems
a. Tasks that constantly cause troubles.
b. Tasks that are difficult to carry out.
c. Tasks that have not been completed.
d. Tasks that present safety problems.
e. Tasks that often produce accidents or defects.
f. Tasks that frequently require reworking.
g. Tasks that take longer to complete than they should.
h. Tasks that no one is assigned to perform.
i. Problems that really need to be dealt with.
j. Areas of wastage of labor, money, materials, or time.
k. Demands and complaints from the preceding or subsequent production processes,
or from other departments, sections or customers. A Roadmap to Quality 29 Unit 9 - Problem solving 05-87581_unit 9.qxd 09/09/2005 11:55 Page 30 l. How well sections and sub-sections have achieved their work targets.
m. How well production plans have been implemented.
5. Decide on your overall goals and describe these as concretely as possible, e.g. rather
than say “Reduce measurement dispersion; shorten the period required to circulate
documents”, say, “reduce measurement dispersion by 50%; shorten the average period
required to circulate documents from 10 days to five days.” (In the next step, ‘Clarify the
problem and set targets’, you will set more specific targets to achieve these goals.)
6. You may choose to work on parts of a large problem as sub-themes. If you do so,
include your overall goals in your description of the sub-themes. You should always keep
the larger picture in front of you as you go along.
7. Think carefully when you are selecting a theme. Here is an example of wrong selection:
“Establish a preventive maintenance system to improve the operating ratio of facilities
and equipment”. However, the lack of preventive maintenance is not the only possible
cause of a low operating ratio of facilities or equipment. The operations may have to be
stopped frequently because product quality is unstable. Or the low operating ratio may
be caused by the need for a long recovery period after operations have been
suspended. So the first theme that needs to be addressed are the concrete problems
caused by the prolonged suspension of the facilities or equipment. Such a theme leads
naturally to the question, 'Why have the facilities or equipment been suspended?' Clarify the problem and set targets
8. When you have identified the problem you are going to deal with, first try to see what
exactly the problem is. Problems can be defined as unsatisfactory work results. For now,
look only at these poor results. Later you can think about what may have caused them
and how to solve this. First of all, free yourself from preconceptions and try to get a
clear, objective view of the problem. If you begin by thinking about solutions you will be
less likely to get to the basic cause and find the best solutions.
9. To clarify the problem, take the following steps:
a. First ask these questions:
i. Has the problem actually appeared or is it latent?
ii. Is it to do with maintenance or with an interruption of the production process?
iii. Is it a problem of: Q, C, D, S, or M. (Q: Quality, C: Cost, D: Volume and
Productivity, S: Safety, M: Morale)?
iv. Is it restricted to my own department or section or does it also affect others?
v. How does it relate to corporate, departmental, or section policies?
(As well as using the data you already have, you may find that you need to
gather further data for a certain period of time. A good way of collecting data is
to use the 5W 1H questions: Why is data being collected? What data has to be
collected? Who should collect it? When, where and how should it be collected?)
b. Then select the criteria to be used to judge the problem:
i. These should have been established in advance so that the assessment of the
results of improvement will be objective.
ii. If you are using inspection items to identify abnormalities, standardise as the
Unit 9 - Problem solving 30 A Roadmap to Quality 05-87581_unit 9.qxd 09/09/2005 11:55 Page 31 criteria for judging problems, a) the inspection items, b) an allowable tolerance
for each inspection item and c) the control limits (UCL and LCL) of control charts.
(An allowable tolerance is the acceptable range given in technical standards and
action limits for target values. The action limit is the limit represented by the
highest or lowest value in a quality control chart. If the actual values fall outside
these limits, a correction in the process is required and/or the cause of the
change in the process must be determined. Target values are the desired
outcomes from a process.)
iii. For abnormalities where there are no inspection and checking items, establish the
criteria creatively on a case-by-case basis, quantifying the data as much as
iv. Now set the target values and target dates for the solution of the problem, if
these were not stated as part of the themes. Target dates are essential if you are
to progress systematically through the problem solving activities.
v. Classify the anticipated result...
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