TQM, six sigma & lean manufacturing

Mar 29, 2015

How OEE Can Help Your Business to Become More Efficient ?

OEE -Overall Equipment Effectiveness is a KPI that has been implemented into manufacturing and engineering companies across the globe for a number of decades. However there is a general misconception behind 2 key areas which would aid businesses in starting or maintaining their lean journey. Firstly there are discrepancies regarding the right calculations involved and the second area is the interpretation of the final figure calculated with a rule that a company must be world class if its OEE is 85% and above. The calculation for working out OEE is: Percentage calculation obtained by multiplying the availability rate, the performance efficiency performance rate, and the quality rate. If we look at the performance efficiency of a machine, companies are too quick to look at the overall capabilities of the machines and set it to the highest specification through tune ups. However what is the point in over producing just because the machine is capable of doing more volume. Takt time is the vital ingredient here, were the machine produces enough for the demands otherwise there will be too much waste. Availability rate is another area that needs addressing. The machines should be up and ready to go and meet the takt time. If it is always up and running 100% of the time even though there has been no demand then this again leads to unnecessary usage and waste. PPM scheduling should also look into takt time trends and plan their maintenance programs around this. Measuring the quality aspect again is a vital part of the lean journey and OEE calculation. Defects are going to occur but what is important is to define what an actual defect is and that these defects may increase through wear and tear of the machines. One piece flow is the way forward in being able to identify and react quicker to defects as well as the introduction of SPC. Overall it is evident that OEE is a vital ingredient on the lean journey but more often than not is not properly understood and can indeed create more problems. Companies need to analyse takt time, look into the measurement of defects and quality with SPC and look at the availability rates in comparison with the demands. Only when the bigger picture is understood and passed through the workforce will the lean journey begin gaining speed.
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Mar 27, 2015

How to know your organization is successful in implementing TQM?"

Implementing TQM is an initiative many organizations wanted to embark on. Assuming that you are a leader of this organization, a common question you probably asked would be: "How do I know whether my organization is successful in implementing TQM?" TQM implementation has been in my mind for a long time and I wondered how to measure the success of TQM implementation in an organization. If we take an organizations who are winners of the Baldrige Award, then my question is whether taking an assessment based on Baldrige Criteria an appropriate measure to Gage the success of TQM in an organization. There is no doubt that measuring TQM implementation is success rate is of interest with all if not most leaders. Otherwise, how would you as a leader know the effort put into implementing TQM is really worthwhile, more so when a lot of resources such a money, manpower etc are deployed to support the implementation of a TQM initiative. So, would you ask a similar question before the TQM initiative is started? Or You would ask half way during its implementation? How would you like to measure the success of the TQM implementation? Do you accept the opinion of your management comment alone or you rather based on some form of evaluation result? One of the ways to evaluate the TQM success is to adopt a holistic approach of assessing your organization. One of the examples of such a holistic approach is the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award assessment approach. This is a national level award system in the United States to recognize organizations for achieving an excellent in their respective business. To prepare for an assessment, you need to understand the Baldrige criteria which is used a reference for the assessment. Once you have understood the Baldrige Criteria, you would start to conduct an assessment based on these criteria. You may perform a self assessment guided by the Baldrige Self Assessment criteria to ascertain your level of performance with reference to the Baldrige Criteria. For a self assessment, it takes must lesser time. Alternatively, you can go for a full scale assessment. This mode of assessment may be conducted by your management team or a 3rd party Baldrige Assessors. To help you to adopt the Baldrige Criteria, there are eleven core values and concepts used by the Baldrige Criteria. To jump start your assessment effort, perhaps you start with the understanding of these core values and concepts.
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Mar 22, 2015

Importance of quality control

For many industries relating to the manufacturing and engineering sectors, assessment of quality control has become an essential factor to survive in the current world market. It is needed in every industry and other complicated projects. Quality control is an important aspect in the manufacturing process. While implementing the operations of quality control, it is essential to determine which methods have to be used and when and where they have to be applied. Check quality control can be applied to all material, structure, component or system used in the production and management of an industry. This control includes the actions necessary to verify and control the quality output of products and services. In order to ensure to meets the requirements of the industry, it is necessary to inspect quality control of raw material while the process initiates. Subsequently, it recognizes and executes sampling and analytical methodology, thus minimizes faults in the analytical records. If you are not good at quality control management, then quality control services provided by the third company will keep you making sure that the product is up to standard and that the employees are working in a professional and respectful manner. If you put your trust in the quality control experts you will find out very quickly if the product you are putting out meets the standards that the general public. A lot of the quality control inspections can prove to be quite costly and if your employees know that they have someone looking over their shoulders at all times, it can be demoralizing, but a good quality inspector will understand the company and its business goals and will offer an outsider's view of the company and its employees. Hiring a quality inspector will cost some money, but it is surely a great way to make sure that you are producing a quality product with the eyes of an unbiased inspector making sure that your customers are satisfied and keep coming back for more.
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Mar 17, 2015

Can you use Six Sigma in Supply Chain ?

A Manufacturer can provide a quality which is highly dependent on - 1- The Suppliers and the suppliers of suppliers (reaching some times up to mining or extraction of a natural product) 2- Clients and clients of clients. (going through value addition by clients, and moving through Distributors, Stockists and Retailers finally reaching the end user) Somebody who is managing the supply chain has to manage the issues of quality and delivery across supply chain. This means he has opportunities if doing DMAIC and DFSS projects involving suppliers and intermediaries. Some industries impose certain certification programs on suppliers - for example an automotive component supplier needs to have TS 16949 certification and his suppliers need to be ISO 9001 certified. Similarly some other companies (as in electronic industry) have supplier approval and supplier assurance programs. Some other industries are keen to know about labor practices, ethics, environmental and safety consciousness of their suppliers (example - pharmaceutical industry) All such programs can be complemented by Six Sigma because Continual Improvement is a requirement in all such programs. Six Sigma has now become synonymous with continual improvement. Big improvements happen when we convert improvement opportunities into well defined projects, assign the right team members, have the right management support and approval and use a structured methodology (like DMAIC) After tasting success with Six Sigma and setting their own house in order, many companies induce/ recommend/ suggest Six Sigma implementation in upstream and/or downstream companies. Many Companies induced many suppliers to use Six Sigma. Similarly automotive companies are training and developing their suppliers on usage of Six Sigma techniques, Banks are forcing their service providers to use Six Sigma in their BPO environments. Common projects taken up are - Reduce cost without increasing delivery time. Reduce delivery time without increasing cost. Improve quality without increasing delivery time. Reduce delivery time without reducing quality.
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Is Lean Manufacturing Dead?

Some people learning how to implement lean manufacturing may be asking themselves this question, especially with so many websites and books promoting alternative solutions to your manufacturing ills such as six sigma, business re-engineering, etc. The answer is a very firm NO; at the end of the day lean manufacturing is a very simple and clear way of improving your business using a host of long established tools. Lean manufacturing may not be the answer to every problem within your business but then no "off the shelf" philosophy is going to give you the recipe for business success otherwise everyone would be successful! With lean manufacturing what you need to succeed is a heavy dose of common sense and the will to achieve. It is about making common sense changes to improve your efficiency. There is no need to get into heavy statistical analysis as there can be in six sigma, it can be very simple indeed to implement. However as I have already said, no "off the shelf" philosophy is going to turn your business into the next success story. Everything in life has it's limitations. Lean is no different, if your management team is not committed, or not capable of making change then you will need to look at re-organizing and training your team. Many consultancies will focus on this side of your business, saying that the secret to business success is having the right people in the right positions, having the right structure and right management style. However if you don't then provide them with the tools to actually do the job then the business will not climb to the top of the heap. Some will say forget lean, look at six sigma. Why do you have to implement one without the other? Just because one set of consultants wants you to buy their services over the competitors does it mean that you can only have one set of methods? Does it mean that you have to sit in one camp and not the other? The two complement each other significantly, hence the drive for some to promote "lean sigma", you can come up with quick major improvements using lean and then tune them significantly using the six sigma tools to reduce the variability within the processes. Lean manufacturing is a collection of tools that you use to try to give the customer what they want, when they want it using the minimum amount of resource. Six Sigma is about reducing process variability to ensure that you always provide a quality product or service. They overlap in many areas. But neither really addresses design issues, how to come up with that brand new product or service idea that will take the market by storm. Hence various tools for product innovation and breakthrough technology. At the end of the day, if you have no clear idea of what you want to do within your business then you will just wander in circles never moving forward. You must have clear direction, then use each and every tool available, picking and choosing what you need to meet the challenges of your business. Adapt each and every tool to meet your business needs, few if any can ever be implemented exactly as written in the manual. Not every tool in the arsenal of each philosophy is relevant to every company, there will never be a step by step guide to improving your business. Every business is different, every management structure has it's quirks, every leader has his own style despite efforts by HR professionals to define distinctions. Every method out there has it's place, depending on the market you operate in, the maturity of your products and processes, what methods you chose to improve your competitiveness will change. It is no good focusing on tools to constantly improve manufacturing efficiencies and the like if you are in a market that demands new innovative products every six months. No point in producing last year's "must have gadget" cheaper and faster than the competition if the market has moved on! So lean still has its place, it is still a requirement, whether we call it lean or not if we start to make improvements within our business then you can almost guarantee that we will use some of the basic tools of lean. How many successful businesses do you know that implement some sort of housekeeping process, "a place for everything, and everything in its place". Most do, some will call it 5s, 5C, just housekeeping or any other title they can think of, but no business can succeed without some sort of basic organization at this level. What organization does not try to standardize work to prevent variation, standardization through procedures, instructions, and training. All of these are significant parts of lean manufacturing. But no tools can work on their own, there must be a goal. The goal for most businesses is at the end of the day to make money. Does not matter how flowery their HR and PR statements are regarding how they will develop and involve their employees, how they will protect the environment and help the community, each and every business is there with one aim; to make money. They do this by being efficient, by having products that meet market needs. So make money you must have what the customer wants and be able to deliver it to him when he wants it at the right price, right level of quality, and support it as necessary. If you can't then you will not succeed. Lean can help you with ensuring that you can deliver on time, that the quality is right and the price is right.
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Mar 13, 2015

Use data analyzing to achieve organizational excellence

For the usage of data in decision making and planning operations, it is necessary to ensure that the data is of high quality. Generally, when the volume of available data is high, the guarantee of the data being highly consistent in terms of quality is low. There can be simple errors in the data that can be rectified but with great difficulty. Quality includes the validity, accuracy and also the consistency of the available data for usage in specific purposes. It is absolutely necessary to make sure that the quality of data is high. Quality Improvement systems, tools and techniques aim at bringing the quality to its full potential. There are several tools that aid in Quality Improvement. • Profiling of data: The defects in a collection in terms of quality need to be calculated by carefully evaluating the data or profiling it. • Standardization: It is necessary to make sure that the data available qualifies set standards for better performance. • Linking: Comparing data for the purpose of aligning similar data by removing duplicity using fuzzy logic. • Monitoring the data: It is necessary to observe and keep a record of the variations in quality of data over periods of time for quality Improvement. To ensure the quality, consistency and to make sure that the data meets the requisite standards, along with the necessary rules and constraints, Data Governance is used to control the entry of data both by a person and by an automated system. It is a collection of methods that helps in managing crucial data. The principal government is to guarantee that low data quality leading to issues is accounted for. It is merely a set of rules, or guidelines to ensure efficient data management. Numerous Governance case studies regarding various functions of an organization are performed to evaluate and asses the current situation and implement new techniques for the improvement of Data Governance. The functions or the aim of governance is to increase the standards and the consistency in the data, to ensure and improve security and to optimize efficiency. Another technique called Data Cleansing that mainly involves finding errors and correcting or replacing incorrect or corrupt records from the main database. This method is used to improve the quality of data by removing or modifying even the smallest of errors. Data cleansing is mainly correction of errors by comparing to an existing list of correct records. These errors, mainly caused by entries from users can be made free of validation and other quality errors using Cleansing.
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Feb 28, 2015

How to Avoid the Mistakes of Quality Assurance

Why Quality assurance testing is critical for any business model? When talking about Quality Assurance, we are talking about a process by which corporations and other organizations systematically check of the products and services provided to customers. Using such a system ensures that customers are satisfied with the quality received. Even though this by no means offers assurance of quality. As consumers, all rely heavily upon the quality assurance testing that goes on within the companies we do business with. However, there is generally no other way for use to test the quality of products before we buy. This is why it is important for companies to do QA testing prior to bringing them to the market. Here is a glimpse of quality assurance testing gone wrong, and some of the most frequent quality assurance testing mistakes in the software industry. Let's say that you would like to upload new features along with fixes for bugs on your website. That's great, but you also want to avoid any of several bad side effects from this procedure. You also want these fixes to work the way they were designed, without affecting your system. To ensure this, you will be required to do a good deal of testing in two phases. Basically, you want to test before deploying the product to your server and the other after this has been done. Here are the mistakes you should avoid: 1. Don't forget to do QA testing using multiple browsers. That doesn't mean that you should test over all the existing browsers, but you do want to ensure that you do your testing with the most popularly used ones. Using this quality assurance testing method will allow you to see if your visitors are able to work their way through your site without difficulty. 2. It is always a mistake not to delete the browser cache before starting a new test. The result of not doing this is that you could accidentally view a version of a webpage that remains in the cache from one of your prior sessions. 3. Failure to update host files is another QA testing mistake. Your testing should be done in a test environment that requires a special version from your host's file. You should be certain that the IP address and the domain names have been updated and take the time to confirm this prior to allowing testing from the development team. 4. Never fail to address any cookie issues that may exist. You should always check for functionality requirements such as login and passwords to make sure they work with or without cookies being activated. Most browsers allow you to enable and disable active cookies when the need arises. 5. It is not a good practice to fail to test using multiple screen resolutions. Floating designs are particularly prone to bugs when viewing with larger or smaller screen resolutions. It is worth taking a glance at Google Analytics to determine which resolutions are most common as well as which ones are most attractive. 6. One of the worst mistakes that can be made during quality assurance testing is doing the work manually when you can let automated tools do the work for you. In fact, who would want to do that when there are a lot of free tools available to help you with that? In addition to that, there are some tests that you simply cannot do manually anyway. The truth is that it would be impossible for you to check the potentially thousands of links to your site on a manual basis. So, when you are interested in maintaining the quality of your products and services, it is vital that you do QA testing. Such processes help ensure that the products retain the promised qualities and that the services offered are second to none. Regardless the type of product, corporations and small business around the world understand that if they are going to be able to continue to sell to their clients, while generating new business, they must commit to quality assurance testing to ensure consistency. Consistency is assured only by taking steps to ensure quality is maintained throughout the development and manufacturing processes. This can only be achieved when quality testing processes are implemented. Customers understand that even if they do not put products through a series of quality testing before making a purchase, when they buy from reliable manufacturers who have taken the time to build quality into those products they are assured of receiving what they paid for.
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