TQM, six sigma & lean manufacturing

Apr 16, 2015

what do you know about Poka Yoke ?

Thrashing out mistakes in manufacturing engineering was developed by the Japanese as a tool of mistake proofing that helps reduce waste in areas such as time, energy and resources. The idea stresses on producing zero defects as a part of a quality tool kit to prevent human errors. Although Poka Yoke is applied differently in different situations, the common thread that binds them all is its simplicity; it uses small tools at the point of the anticipated mistake generation itself. Empowerment of Employees As A Tool of Poka Yoke Development The beautiful part of mistake-proofing is the empowerment of employees to identify, suggest ways out and execute the plan to iron out the cause of the mistake at its point of origination. In fact, anybody from a manager to a line employee can be allowed to complete mistake proofing planning. It applies to every other area, including commercial transactions, in the same way. How Can Activities Be Mistake-Proofed? Mistake proofing is simply managed by presence of mind. Sometimes it so happens that an employee notices a mistake in the way things are done in his section or line. Generally, exposure to multiple aspects such as work content and execution procedures let the employee think about ways of rectifying the mistake. One who has noticed the mistake will come up with suggestions for eliminating the mistakes by rather simple methods. Empowered environments nurture enthusiasm in employees, which ultimately results in success. Lets take different simple examples. Colgate Palmolive was losing its market share to a rival toothpaste producer and the people in their marketing department could hardly help reverse the trend, despite their best efforts. This was until an employee in the packing department suggested a rather simplistic idea that ultimately has shown results. The employee suggested enlarging of the tubes opening, which increased the amount of paste issued each time the consumers wanted to brush. Where does mistake proofing figure into the equation in this instance? The mistake was not in the manufacturing, packing or quality of the product but in the way it was marketed. The marketing was centered around an emphasis on quality and not on the quantity the consumers should use, which was irrelevant in the absence of severe competition. Mistake elimination need not have complex solutions that consume lot of time and resources. Simple solutions can sometimes be arrived at by those who work on the shop floor. Let us look into another example which significantly explains Poka Yoke. Take a small mistake in the assembling of pens, such as a forgotten spring for operating the writing tip by a button located on top of the pen. The assembly worker would not have forgotten if he was given all of the components in sets rather than each part like springs, refills etc separately. The Simplicity Of Poka Yoke Quite evidently, Poka Yoke is pretty simple. It does not involve spending huge sums of money, time and complex procedures. It employs making the best use of empowered human minds. If it is used on a continuous basis with the goal of eliminating many smaller mistakes, the results can be wonderful.
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Apr 13, 2015

Value Stream Mapping - Common Mistakes

During many first time Value Stream Mapping exercises, we have noticed some common mistakes. Many times when the mistake is made, it is not recognized and the Value Stream Mapping tool is called into question. It's like trying to use excel as a word processor, it kind of works but you just don't quite get the results you were expecting. So here are some of our observations. 1. You start to follow the people doing the work. We all start out understanding that we are doing Value Stream Mapping on a product or service however at some point, the person doing the job leaves the product and does something else. Rather than staying with the product we start to follow the person. It may even seem like we should follow the person as the task they are doing is related to the product we are following. For example in a dentist's office, the product we will follow is the patient. The patient comes in, they register, they sit down and they wait. They get called into the office and the dentist performs the work, they leave. The nurse takes their folder and does some work to it, she then works on the computer to update the file and finally, she puts the file away. In this case we have stopped following the patient and we have started to observe the work being performed by the nurse. 2. Trying to do a final Value Stream Map without the product or service actually being performed. We all know that it is sometimes difficult when you are training people to do Value Stream Mapping to always 'see' the product move through the entire process. It is sometimes necessary to leave the client with homework to actually observe the process and fill in all the boxes. There are cases however where companies think that there is not enough time to get a complete Value Stream Map, the process is too long or won't be running for another month and they need to present to management a savings plan by the end of the week. They frequently think that they can go to their engineered standards and fill in the information boxes and then predict their savings. In this case the person has forgotten some of the basis of Lean. First without observing the inventory, they don't have a Value Stream Map, they have a Process Map. Second without observing how the time standards were arrived at, how will you determine waste opportunities. Third the person doing the work may have many distractions - for example it may take me an hour to change the brakes on a car but every time I start, I have to do 3 oil changes. We need to observe the work and more importantly what's happening to our product when the work isn't being done. Office Value Stream Mapping A close relative of point number 2 is doing Value Stream Mapping in the office. With so much information on the computer today, many companies have all the information on their processes and value streams on their computers. If you want to know how many people are in an area we can get it, how much inventory between processing steps and what the processing times are are all kept in real time. Layouts of the plant floor are kept and actual distances traveled can be calculated right from the drawing. For many companies it really is possible to put an entire Value Stream Map together in an office and for it to be technically correct. Although the Value Stream Map may be technically correct we are missing the opportunity to observe what is happening. For example a company knew from their standard that a pallet of material could be wrapped in 2 minutes and 30 seconds. They had to be forced out to the floor to actually observe the operation and to prove they were right that they went out there. What they observed was the pallet took closer to 25 minutes to complete because the operator had to answer 4 phone calls. They didn't realize that this was part of the job of the operator. If you don't observe, you will never figure out why your lead-time is so long. Much of what takes place in day-to-day operations is never recorded in any standard. Things like phone calls, interruptions, or reprioritization of work. 4. Double counting of time. It takes a while to understand what to put into an information box and what is a processing step. For example Changeovers. We know that they go into the information box because all the books say so. Sometimes however people still ask why that time doesn't get recorded on the lead time line. How about travel time? I have to travel for 15 minutes between processing steps so I should have a box on my Value Stream Map representing travel time. Should it be counted as processing time? What do we include in processing boxes? The key here is to separate the things that cause inventory to build up, from the actual work to complete the part or service. Long changeover times cause inventory to build up, long distances to travel cause inventory to build up. Therefore these items are causes to be eliminated. They are responsible for the inventory we see in the company. We will account for them in our lead time calculation when we count the inventory. Understand the causes of inventory build up versus the actual steps to completing a product or service for the customer. Shared Resources 5. Ignoring shared resources. In most companies there are resources that are shared. These resources are required to support more than one product family. They may be people, assembly lines, equipment, instruments etc. An example would be a laboratory receiving area. They receive the samples for many labs and distribute them. If we forget this during our Value Stream Mapping process we would get the wrong results. Let's choose a simple example. A receiving area receives samples for 2 labs. Each lab receives 80 samples a day. Therefore they receive 160 samples and over an 8 hour period must supply each lab, 10 samples each. Therefore, they need 20 samples an hour and this requires 2 people. During the Value Stream Mapping, we mistakenly only account for the one product families' work. We believe that they need to supply only 10 samples per hour and we only require one person for 8 hours. This is a simple example and we would probably catch it. However, lets say you have hundreds of products and many product families you may miss this error. Remember to identify the shared resources. If you don't you will incorrectly calculate important numbers like the Takt time and cycle times. 6. Mixing product families. Sometime when Value Stream Maps start to get really complex with many branching streams going in and out of the main Value Stream, it is because the people doing the Value Stream Mapping didn't do a good job of defining the product families before starting the Value Stream Mapping. This problem is generally aggravated by one or both problems identified earlier - either not identifying a shared resource or following a person and not the product. By not doing a good job with the product families we can get distracted and follow the wrong processing path. Let's say we are following a product family that only goes through a lathe machine and is then shipped. The lathe may also be used in a product family that goes to a welding and, then to an assembly area and onto a de-burring area etc. If we haven't properly identified the family we may start to follow the Value Stream Map through assembly and de-burring when we should have gone from the lathe straight to the shipping area. Make sure you know your product families before you start Value Stream Mapping. These are not the only mistakes you can make during your initial Value Stream Mapping sessions; however they are common to many companies when they start to learn about Value Stream Mapping. Avoiding these mistakes will help you to use the Enterprise Value Stream Mapping ® tool better. Like anything else the more you practice the better you will get. Chuck trained in statistical process control at the University of Tennessee and in the design of experiments at MIT. He is certified by the American Society for Quality as a Quality Manager. His diversified technical background leading Lean and other major improvement initiatives across a wide range of industries has provided him with the professional expertise necessary to direct others on how to implement Lean the 'right' way.
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Apr 11, 2015

6 Benefits of Using Statistical Process Control (SPC)

Statistical process control is a method that uses statistical approach to achieve the monitoring and controlling of manufacturing processes, particularly. This will ensure the processes under monitor are able to achieve their full potential and produce the highest rate of conforming products. Real-time statistical process control means instance or near instantaneous data acquisition from measuring equipment or tools to give input to the statistical process control system software. The data can be immediately plotted onto the control charts and tested toward the control limits that are set for the charts. Real time statistical process control software system will provide immediate data update from the shop floor. It gives the operation crews the alert of "out of control" incidence when the upper or lower control limit for the control chart has been violated. The alert can also be triggered by various kind of rules such as trending towards out of control situation, so that immediate action can be taken from the operation crews before it is too late. When statistical process control system is implemented properly, there are tremendous benefits that can be achieved. In this article, 6 benefits are highlighted and these benefits are very crucial to improve the competitiveness and profitability of an organization. The 6 benefits of implementing real time statistical process control software are: The company can achieve a very fast return on investment from the software. Usually this can be achieved in less than a year depending on the processes and the results can be justified by data. Real time statistical process control system is highly acceptable by customers owing to the reliability of data and faster feedback. This is definitely going to improve the customer satisfaction. It will help the operation team to respond to the problem quickly during situations of "out of control", thus it will reduce waste, scrap and rework in the manufacturing processes. It will eliminate human error in the data entry step, as compared to the conventional method that the data is entered by operators. This system will improve the product and process quality tremendously by closely monitoring the performance of the process. Real time statistical process control software enables audit-ability across the processes. This will enables the company to cost effectively meet ISO, TS, FDA and USDA requirements. A real time statistical process control system will have a reporting tool to summarize the data and present it according to the user's requirements. The reports can be used by the process engineer to identify the root cause of process deviation. Proper actions can be taken by the process owner for a short-term and also long-term remedies. Other than this, the data also can be used to calculate the process capability. Once the process is stable and under control, the process capability can be measured to understand how good is the capability of the machine and other process. Continuous process improvement can be carried out by the process department to strive for higher process capability rating. Real-time statistical process control system can help to prevent problems and save the companies millions of dollars that otherwise would have been paid for lost in scrap, rework, warranty, litigation, and market share decline.
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Apr 9, 2015

why we use Pareto Analysis?

The more you analyze business performance and company position in various external environments the more information you get. This information is used in strategic planning and decision-making. As known, it is really impossible to succeed in business without making plans for the future and without getting yourself ready to face difficulties and challenges. The company may face problems that arise in the internal environment. On top of that there are challenges that show up in external environment, and these challenges do not depend on the company. Thus the only thing a business owner can do is to adapt to such changes. Through various analysis types business owners obtain information on what should be done to improve current performance or to achieve adopted future plans. It should be noted that a great variety of analysis types have been developed by business experts. Some of them deal only with internal environments, while others focus on external markets. However most of analysis types deal with both. These are well known PEST analysis, SWOT analysis, ANOVA and others. Some analysis types come from mathematics and statistics. Pareto is one of them. Pareto analysis is known as statistical method that is widely used in decision making. This method claims that a limited number of tasks and variables influence overall performance. Pareto analysis is also called 80/20 rule which means that by performing 20% of work it is possible to get 80% of benefits. Pareto is used in various business management models for example in quality improvement and performance evaluation. This is to say that 80% of problems are actually caused by 20% of mistakes. The name for Pareto analysis was suggested by business guru Joseph M. Juran who offered to use Italian economist's name Vilfredo Pareto. It was observed that 80% of income in Italy was going to 20% of citizens. Studies were performed in other countries as well and results were pretty much the same. Pareto analysis is used in various business models, as already said above. Some of the rules include •20% of company products and services cause 80% of customer complaints •20% of causes resulting 80% of schedule delays •80% of your revenue comes from 20% of your products and services •80% of company revenues are generated by 20% of sales staff Sure thing this list is not complete. Quality control has so many issues, as well as systems of budgeting and cost control where Pareto is particularly helpful. Continuous improvement is a key principle in quality control and Pareto helps obtain very valuable information in this sense. Besides, Six Sigma and quality control systems use special Pareto diagrams that are very important tools. Pareto analysis is successfully used in combination with other performance evaluation, quality control and strategic management tools. Balanced Scorecard is not an exception here as it uses performance evaluation principle for strategic planning purposes. Pareto model is perfect for improvement of co performance, locating problematic areas and focusing on most profitable products and customers.
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Apr 7, 2015

How a Just-In-Time Can Increase the Profit of Your Business ?

If you are still striving to increase the profit margin of your business, do not overlook your inventory management system. The just-in-time inventory method may be what your business needs to increase its profits. Indeed, the ultimate goal of any business is to generate profit. This is accomplished when revenues exceed all the expenses needed to sustain a business activity. Financial analysts have many ratios at their disposal to measure how well a business is performing. Return on Investment (ROI), defined as the "net income divided by the average of total assets," is by far the most important ratio used to measure the profitability of a business. The ROI ratio basically measures how much profit a business is able to generate with the assets it has available within a certain operating cycle. If this concept seems strange to you, just imagine two companies, A and B, which manufacture the exact same product. If the only difference between the two companies is that company B needs to utilize more assets to generate the same amount of profit (because it operates more plants for the same production output for example) it becomes clear that company A is more efficient and profitable than company B. Inventory is an important portion of any business' assets. In the manufacturing industry, inventory is usually divided into three separate segments: raw materials, work-in-process and finished products. Because inventory is often a company's largest asset, the way it is managed can greatly affect a company's return on investment. Generally speaking, with all other things being equal, a company can increase its ROI by keeping its inventory low. Why? Because inventory is an asset item computed in the denominator of the ROI ratio. Any reduction of the denominator will increase the ratio. The amount of inventory that sits on a company's shelves also affects the company's profitability in other ways. For one, inventory ties up capital that the company can no longer use elsewhere. When raw material is purchased on credit, the company will incur an unnecessary interest expense. Second, excess inventory will also cause an increase in the inventory carrying costs, which are costs associated with holding an inventory. Carrying costs can range between 15% and 25% of the inventory value. It is comprised of storage cost, handling cost, utility costs as well as insurance and taxes to be paid on warehouses. Finally, an inventory can also become obsolete, meaning that the parts held in storage are no longer useful (and salable) if the company decides to manufacture a new line of product in order to keep a competitive edge in the market. Obsolete inventory becomes waste which translates into a loss to the company. The just-in-time inventory management is a strategy that was developed by the Japanese auto manufacturer Toyota in the 1970s, whereby inventory is kept at a minimum. The objective of a just-in-time inventory is for a company to acquire only the exact amount of raw material needed to manufacture the exact amount of finished goods for direct sale. This inventory management has been summed up as "having the right material, at the right time, at the right place, and in the exact amount." This inventory management requires that a company maintains long-term relationships with reliable suppliers and maintains a very accurate production and inventory information system. When correctly implemented, the just-in-time inventory system will effectively increase a company's return on investment and boost profitability by reducing inventory carrying costs and preventing capital and investment from being tied up in unnecessary assets.
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Apr 3, 2015

Benefits of Quality Assurance

Quality Assurance is a sort of practice that started during Middle Age when Guilds assured their clients with certain standards of quality while delivering different types of services. Guild was an association that consisted of merchants and artisans. This association controlled the practice of their craft with a dedicated territory. This concept of maintaining certain standards of quality was taken well by the people and soon more and more organizations started adopting this amazing concept. Important Components of Quality Assurance In order to know more about QA, it would be really great if you gain knowledge about the different components of the QA. Here are all those important components explained in detail. Failure Testing The first and the foremost important point is Failure Testing. This is a process that involves checking the product or process until it fails. Another name given to failure testing is called as stress testing. The data that is collected during testing is utilized for the improvement of the product or service. During the Quality Assurance process, failure testing is implemented and as a result the final product that is being delivered becomes more polished, refined and of high quality. Statistical Control With the help of statistical control process, you can collect data during different stages of production or service delivery. This will help you to keep a strong check on the quality of the product. If anything goes wrong during any stage then you can easily improve and deliver high quality product. The same goes true for IT industry where this process plays an important role. Total Quality Management Total Quality Management also called as TQM involves keeping a strong check on the participating constituents. You cannot guarantee a product's quality unless and until all the input and surrounding parameters are of desired quality. For example, if you are manufacturing a metal component then you need to ensure that the raw material that is being used is of high quality and proper dimension. You also need to make sure that the surrounding conditions such as environment, safety and working conditions are also superior. QA Role in Different Fields After reading all of the above mentioned points, you can pretty well judge that QA plays an important role in the growth of an organization and this concept must be implemented seriously in order to get desired results. There are different industries where QA is playing a very important role. Software Industry Quality Assurance in software industry is applied during monitoring of software engineering and project execution process. As a result the final output that is delivered is error free and software can be used for long term without any major changes. This process not only saves time but also money for the software development company. Medical field There are numerous hospitals and medical agencies which apply Quality Assurance concept and always ensure a certain standard while using medical equipments such as CROs, X-Ray machines and much more. Final Conclusion The concept of Quality Assurance is being practiced since ages and the main benefit of QA is that it helps in achieving high quality results. With the passage of time, there has been a regular change and refined effort done. All this have lead to significant improvement in the process. There are three major components of the QA process and those are failure testing, statistical control and total quality management. All these components when combined can help you to get high quality results. Different fields and industries have deployed this process such as software industry and medical institutions.
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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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