The House of High Quality Articles for Everyone in the World

Sep 29, 2010

SMED Kaizen - Rapid Improvement in few Days!

Single Minute Exchange of Die (SMED) is a lean kaizen event designed to reduce the changeover times between production runs. It's measured as the time from the last good product of the current production run to the first good product of the next run. Two different companies have used this SMED Kaizen to improve their business performance within the last month.

One is a molding company, where the changeover times on a molding machine averaged 8.8 hours before the kaizen. A team of 18 people attacked this problem. The team was subdivided into three groups:
a) A mold preparation team,
b) A quality assurance team, and
c) A scheduling team.

The results achieved on this kaizen were:
1. Reduction of mold preparation time from 8.8 hours to 4.2 hours,
2. Reduction of quality assurance time from 2.8 hours to 45 minutes, and
3. Scheduling changes to run products in a more logical sequence in smaller batch sizes.

The other is a medical devices company, where the changeover time on a packaging line averaged 18 minutes and there were approximately 30 changeovers per 24 hour day. A team of 18 people (coincidently the same number) was divided into three groups to attack this problem:
a) A TPM (Total Productive Maintenance) team,
b) A SMED team, and
c) A scheduling team.

One surprising discovery of the TPM team was that OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness) on this particular packaging line was only 28.8%. This means the line was only producing good product 28.8% of the time it was scheduled. The largest loss of effectiveness was in minor stops and jams, averaging 38%.

The results achieved on this kaizen were:
1. Improve throughput in packaging by 30%,
2. Reduce the changeover time from 18 minutes to 9 minutes, and
3. Increase OEE from 28.8% to 37%.

Although #3 was a modest gain at best, it was determined to conduct a special TPM Kaizen as soon as possible on this packaging equipment to eventually achieve 85% OEE, which is world-class.

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Sep 26, 2010

Just in Time Production (JIT)

Just in time is a method of production and it is a part of Supply Chain Management. This manufacturing process is driven by a series of indicators that are known as Kanban. These signals inform manufacturers when it is necessary to make the next step. Kanban commonly take the form of 'tickets'. When the system is implemented to its optimum, the Just in time method can improve the quality and efficiency of a manufacturer dramatically. In addition, it can also increase the levels of return on investment.

When this method of Supply Chain Management is employed, stocks are not replenished until current levels drop below a pre-determined level. This means that warehousing remains uncluttered and any available space can be used to its best effect. The main drawback top this style of operating is that re-order levels are always determined by the previous demand levels. Therefore, if there is a sudden up-rise in demand stocks can end up being depleted as a consequence. This can have a very negative effect on customer service and lead to unhappy customers. It is vital that the Just in time system is managed well in order for it to reap rewards. Another term related to this method of manufacturing is 'Kaizan'. This means 'the continuous improvement of a process'.

One of the first companies to implement the Just in time strategy was the Ford Motor Company. They used a 'dock to factory floor' concept, whereby incoming materials went straight into the production area and were never stored idle on site. This meant that there was a massive dependence on the reliability of the freight or logistics company that supplied the parts. The Japanese car company Toyota was also an early employer of this process. The Just in time strategy has roots in Japan and is very popular there due to the high premium required for any kind of warehousing or storage space.

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Sep 25, 2010

How to Implement Kaizen in Our Daily Life!

Kaizen is a Japanese Management Concept. It means continuous improvement in all areas. Little drops of water make the mighty ocean. Similarly little improvement on a continual basis will lead to big development within a short period of time. We can implement Kaizen concepts in our daily life . The following are some of the ways to implement this concept in our daily routine.

A big self-improvement book can be easily read if we keep on reading a chapter daily and start implementing what we have learn on the next day on a continual basis. Housewives can make small improvements on a daily basis in the dishes they cook to make it a delicious food.

We can save in the fuel consumption of our vehicle by constantly monitoring our driving habits and keep on improving it.

Housekeeping and gardening are the areas where we can do a lot of improvements on a daily basis by implementing this concept.

Budgeting is another area where there is large scope to monitor and control our expenses so that we can save money.

Even in the areas like routine exercise, meditation, yoga, walking, cycling and breathing practices, we can do a little improvement daily and see that our body and mind are fit always!

Executing a family function or get together is a mammoth job but if we take it as fun and split the responsibilities among our family members and if they are taught simple techniques of Kaizen then they can do a marvelous job by putting their best efforts and make the function a great success!

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Sep 24, 2010

Advantages of Total Quality Management

Quality is the first target of TQM and the target is the first characteristic of TQM. Quality is customer satisfaction. This means that you can never become satisfied with your level of customer service you must continue to strive to do better. The key to this is to continue to be innovative and to keep trying new ways doing things in an attempt to satisfy a customer.

The next characteristic is scope. Scope ensures the quality of the product. TQM states that you need to extend production processes and standards to suppliers and sub-contractors therefore making them partially responsible for the quality of the product. This means that a supplier will have to ensure the quality of the material that he is supplying. Scope also means that you may need to amend your ordering process in order to match production processes.

Form is the next step or characteristic of TQM. Simply put it is putting plans and programs in place that can catch and correct problems before they happen. Instead of taking a finished product and reworking it, you fix problems in the production process so that the end product does not require any fixing.

Unlike many forms of quality management TQM focuses on the human input. It also takes other factors into consideration such as supplies, machines, money, and manufacturing processes, but the focus is the human input into the quality of the end product. If the employees are quality people who clearly understand the level of quality you require, they will strive to reach those goals. Implementing TQM means that you have to bring your employees to your quality level with training.

Organization and teamwork are the next characteristics of TQM. All levels from the highest management to the newest hourly employee have to work together and communicate in order to reach the highest level of quality. The last characteristic is management skills and tools. Management must ensure that employees understand that the goal is to do the job right the first time in order to achieve quality and control the cost of doing business.

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Sep 23, 2010

Six Sigma vs Lean Manufacturing

Six Sigma and Lean Manufacturing are separate process that help organizations eliminate defects or waste in the business process. Both these process are helping a business save huge costs that come about due to waste generated in the process. Although Six Sigma and Lean-Manufacturing have a similar purpose, there is a thin line of difference between them. While Six Sigma focuses on reducing variation, Lean Manufacturing focuses on improving productivity:

Six Sigma - Six Sigma methodology is aimed at eliminating or reducing defects in a business process by utilizing fundamental process knowledge. Six Sigma methodology integrates principles related to business, statistics and engineering to achieve desirable business results. The principles of Six Sigma can be applied in almost every field such as Production, Sales, Marketing, Design, Administration and Service. When applied skilfully, Six Sigma can offer significant benefits to a business. The principles of Six Sigma are designed to reduce wastes, reduce costs by at least 50%. Through Six Sigma, a company can better understand the customer's requirements and align delivery and performance accordingly. Six Sigma uses internal resources to improve performance.

Lean Manufacturing - Lean Manufacturing works to reduce waste and thereby streamline business processes. It strives to achieve this by reducing inventory and floor space requirements in a manufacturing process. Lean Manufacturing also ensures proper delivery systems and ensures a proper work layout so as to increase flexibility. Besides, lean manufacturing also requires a replacement of old factory tools with latest ones. By taking care of all these factors, lean manufacturing gives rise to a robust production system.

Since every defect in a manufacturing process leads to delays in production, increases in costs, lessening productivity and increasing lead times, every organization desires an error free production process along with high levels of productivity. To successfully achieve this, organizations will need to implement principles of Six Sigma as well as Lean Manufacturing. Hence, a combination of the two give rise to a new concept called Lean Six Sigma. Some of the tools used by Lean Six Sigma today are:

5 Whys
Affinity Diagram,
Analysis of variance (AN OVA)
Balanced Scorecards
Cause Effect Diagram
Cause and Effect Matrix
Cellular Manufacturing
Control Charts
Design of Experiment (DOE)
Failure Mode Effect Analysis (FM EA)
Force-field Analysis
Hypothesis Testing {t-test (two-sided),Chi-Square test }
Kan ban

Although lean Six Sigma combines the principles of both disciplines, It is better to use Ono's discretion depending on the problems being faced. For instance, if the problem is more related to wastes or less productivity, it is better to implement more principles of lean manufacturing. However, if the problem is more related to product variation, then Six sigma must be applied.

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Sep 22, 2010

Quality Control Vs Quality Assurance

It's not uncommon to hear the similar phrases quality control and quality assurance1 used interchangeably. This tendency, though a seemingly benign blunder, is actually a revealing reflection of an unhealthy quality management system.

What is quality control?

First of all, quality control is the "check" or the "end-of-the-immediate-task-at-hand" record or analysis that determines the acceptability or unacceptability of a product, a product plan, a product part, etc. Tasks related to quality control may include documented reviews, calibration, or additional types of measurable testing (sampling, etc.). Tasks related to quality control will reoccur more often than activities associated with quality assurance.

The Final Determination

Essentially, quality control is determined by the comparison of a product against the original specifications that were created before the product existed.

Who is involved with quality control?

Tasks related to quality control will usually require the involvement of those directly associated with the research, design or production of a product. An employee in charge of quality control related tasks is likely to report to his "local" department head and no further.

Quality Control Software: What functions should it perform?

Quality control software should be able to automate electronic "checks" and "tests" (best if done via a web-based system).

These checks may include the following quality control tasks:

• Customer complaints documentation.

• The record keeping of electronic forms or documents associated with step-by-step quality control processes.

• Forms routing.

• Automatic distribution and grading of training exams.

• Collaborative tasks.

What is quality assurance?

Quality assurance is more or less the determination of the processes that will determine the template and pattern of quality control tasks. Quality assurance assignments do not have to be measurable, although quality assurance evaluators will often use past experience or regulation as a guide for process determination.

The Final Determination

Essentially, quality assurance is determined by top-level policies, procedures, work instructions and governmental regulations.

Who is involved with quality assurance?

As opposed to quality control checks, quality assurance reports are more likely to be performed by managers, by corporate level administrators or 3rd party auditors.

Quality Assurance Software: What functions should it perform?

A quality assurance software solution should provide tracking and analytics (i.e. plus reporting features). A complete CAPA digital management solution is also a plus.

The most important function a quality assurance software solution however is flexibility and capability to be customized. After all, every quality assurance process determination will vary from company to company and a software solution should ideally be molded to the various needs of those companies.

The Importance of Distinguishing Quality Control from Quality Assurance Activities

It is important to treat the quality control tasks as separate from the quality assurance activities for the following reasons:

1) A product with continuous quality control checks may be entirely successful but the processes that govern those checks may still prove faulty (take too much time, too much revenue, etc.)

2) One person should not be performing both quality control and quality assurance assignments. Since quality assurance essentially controls the ebb and flow of quality control, having one person over both types of tasks is inherently a conflict of interest.

3) The two types of tasks are different. Why think about quality control and quality assurance as the same sort of process when quality control tasks are measured by specific details (i.e. numbers, specifications, etc.) and quality assurance activities are measured more by written policies, higher level work instructions or even by the opinions of management?

4) Some companies devote too much energy to quality control and some to quality assurance. Both processes must receive evaluation and management.


For life science and high-tech professionals an understanding of why quality control and quality assurance are important and how quality control and quality assurance tasks can best be accomplished are foundational building blocks for a strong regulated company.

Quality Control and Industrial Statistics. Fifth Edition

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Sep 20, 2010

Production Part Approval Process - PPAP

The pre-production part approval process (PPAP) is a new requirement being flowed down by many industrial customers to their suppliers. The Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) originated this requirement in the ISO/TS 16949, the requirement for doing a PPAP remains. Other industries have grasped these concepts and this requirement is growing ever larger spanning many industries not previously concerned with such formalities. Many suppliers being suddenly required to comply with these new requirements are often baffled by the vast array of paperwork they suddenly have to confront. In truth the PPAP is not as dizzying as it might seem and in many ways offers substantial benefits to the company facing the preparation of one.

A PPAP is simply a series of analyses of various aspects of a production manufacturing process. Prior to beginning production, the supplier needs to prove out his processes and procedures, on actual production tooling. The PPAP is simply a way of reporting the results of this process testing to the customer so they know the supplier has the ability to fulfil the production at the quality level required by the customer. It also demonstrates the recovery techniques to be used in the event non-complying materials are discovered during the production run. This allows the supplier to approach a zero defect quality level in his shipments. The author has created such robust manufacturing systems and procedures to produce assemblies used in critical automotive applications that have maintained a zero defect level at production levels of multi millions of assemblies per year over spans of several years.

The PPAP begins with the quality-planning phase of the production. This starts with a Process Flow Diagram that outlines each step in the process from the time the raw materials arrive, until the completed parts are shipped out to the customer. Any event in the plant from the storage and moving steps, to the processes applied, to the inspections performed are identified and listed in this simple, sequential diagram. Any quality procedures or specific work instructions, if required, are identified in the steps where they may be needed.

From the Process Flow Diagram, a Process Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (PFMEA) is derived. This simply takes each of the production tasks and looks at what can go wrong, how severe the results will be if it goes wrong, and what can be done to minimize those risks.

Using the Process Flow Diagram and PFMEA, a Control Plan can drawn up that encompasses each phase of the production, how it will be controlled, and probably most importantly, how you will react in the event any out-of-compliance parts are discovered. It also lists the production equipment and tooling, the inspection tools, and other facilities needed to produce a zero defect part.

The control plan is the heart of the PPAP, and should be a document used extensively in your own shop when performing the production processes. Everyone who handles the part and has anything to do with the production should be familiar with this document, able to read it, and to recognize that it is the governing document in how the product is produced. In the event the customer audits your manufacture of processing, they will undoubtedly ask for the control plan and then ask to see each of its steps being performed.

To ensure that the inspection methods as identified on the control plan are repeatable and reproducible, an analysis of the gauges is performed. This is called a Gauge Repeatability and Reproducibility Analysis, or Gauge R&R for short. It requires three inspectors performing inspections of the characteristics that gauge will be used to inspect, on 10 parts three separate times. These results are inserted into a straightforward statistical formula and a numerical evaluation of the capability of that gauge is determined. This is repeated for each of the gauges measuring each of the characteristics identified on the control plan.

The next phase of the PPAP requires the manufacture of a sample number of parts on actual production tooling, using the same procedures, personnel, production facility, and all other aspects of the expected production run. This sampling is of some finite number, usually something like 300 pieces. These are then analyzed in several ways to ensure the production run meets all of the requirements the customer requests.

The first of these analyses is the layout inspection. Generally at least two parts from each different tooling cavity (in the case of a plastic injection molded part) or each assembly machine, each production line, oven or other piece of production machinery, is fully inspected with each characteristic identified and inspected. This is referred to as a layout inspection, and is generally accompanied with an annotated drawing identifying which characteristics were inspected.
Next a process potential study is performed where major characteristics on a certain number of these production parts, usually 30 or 50 are chosen and inspected. These are usually important fit and function characteristics. It may be an interface dimension, for instance in a machined part, or something like a plating thickness or other characteristic deemed important by the customer. When these results are plugged into a statistical formula, a good reading of the process' capability to produce consistent production is easily determined.

Doing a PPAP is not just a task in paperwork only useful for the customer, but rather a valuable tool usable by the supplier to help identify possible trouble spots in the production ahead. It gives the supplier a chance to formally think through how they can handle future problems that may arise in production. It gives supervisors and managers a simple road map to follow to perform their production tasks. It is also a valuable training tool for employees charged with making the production.

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Sep 14, 2010

Six Sigma Tools

Six Sigma is perhaps one of the best known improvement management tools in use around the world today – While Six Sigma is known for its use of statistics (which can turn some business executives off the power of the toolset) at its heart is a couple of simple methodologies DMAIC and DMADV – which look at “fixing” broken processes and building “new” processes respectively.

As an improvement methodology Six Sigma seeks to remove defects and the causes of defects from business processes. In the case of improving existing processes DMAIC offers a structured series of steps to follow which should if followed correctly bring about the desired outcome

DMAIC’s five steps are:

• Define – Define goals in line with customer and strategic requirement – Basically define the goals that the improvement program will deliver.
• Measure – Collect data and measure the state of the current process (e.g. collect defect information and statistical evidence)
• Analyze – Analyze the data collected at measure stage and identify causal issues of the process problems – typically this will be defining cause and effect relationships (i.e. finding the parts of the process that can be changed to affect the desired outcome)
• Improve – Change and improve the process to produce the desired outcome
• Control – Implement the new process and establish appropriate controls to ensure that the new process is sustained and that mechanisms (i.e. Measures and metrics) are set up to monitor the process.

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Sep 12, 2010

The Advantages of Lean Manufacturing

Lean manufacturing is the processes, techniques, strategies and initiatives being implemented by companies around the world that aim to reduce unnecessary and unproductive tasks, activities and behaviours in the work environment.

Because the times have really gone hard, demanding and intense due to political and turbulent concerns affecting all nations, firms are currently facing challenges to be able to keep their profitability and efficiency.

Lean manufacturing not only reduces operational costs but also targets to boost, restore and significantly raise the competitiveness of a company.

There are seven identified 'forms of waste' within the work environment and systems that lean manufacturing principally aims to alleviate, if not totally eliminate. These are over production, over processing, transportation, motion, inventory, waiting and scrap and defects.

Several advantages of adopting lean manufacturing principles

The first advantage identified by experts from implementing lean manufacturing techniques and strategies are the reduction of manufacturing time.

When the manufacturing lead-time is significantly lowered, it follows that the operational costs incurred from the use of energy, utilities and wages from labour's time will also be significantly reduced.

Thus, lean manufacturing helps companies retain, maintain and significantly increase their earnings, widen their margins and help them generate savings from lower costs.

Space is another area where lean manufacturing advantages are clearly and effectively exhibited. Working space, it is understood, is one of the primary and basic factors that keep operations of businesses going.

Labour and human resource experts estimate that adoption of good and effective lean manufacturing techniques and strategies will likely help companies reduce their physical floor space requirements by as much as 5% to 30%.

The figures involved could be small and miniscule for your eyes, but, actually, that will significantly contribute too much more efficiency and savings. That would be an advantage almost all businesses will surely look after.

The advantage in productivity

It is found that in general, companies implementing and adhering to lean manufacturing practices significantly boost and increase their manufacturing productivity by as much as 75% to 125%.

It is because time and efforts are principally targeted by lean manufacturing processes. Thus, elimination of wastes, practices, behaviours and unnecessary and disturbing objects in the work place will surely and practically help workers get on to their tasks with much smooth pacing and comfort.

You know how it is when workers work without any distractions and interruptions. Productivity is very much maximised. Thus, lean manufacturing becomes a necessity for companies to be able to achieve that goal.

The advantages in terms of waste to profit relationships

It follows that elimination and reduction of wastes will gradually and efficiently help boost and raise up earnings and profits in companies.

Thus, elimination of wastes and unproductive activities, objects, tasks and behaviours in the work place will surely help the company and its personnel focus on the requirements and demands of the customer.

The advantage of that, above all is that, when customer satisfaction is achieved, sales will surely rise. The best way to establish a good relationship with customers is to improve the products and services offered to them.

Lean manufacturing would be of great help to achieve a good customer or client relations.

Another advantage brought about by lean manufacturing techniques among various companies and firms adopting it worldwide is streamlined, rationalised or lean structuring of the organisation.

You should know that elimination of excess and unnecessary job positions and tasks in a company is a sure way to help that firm reduce labour costs and eventually lead to generate savings.

Lean manufacturing without a doubt brings that advantage of leanness upon organizations and companies practicing and adopting it.

Advantage on culture improvement

Various companies around the world are practicing and implementing different cultures. It is usually a cause of problems, conflicts and issues around and within the organization.

In lean manufacturing, the cultures are standardised, thus, unfavourable practices and behaviours of both the employees and the management are reduced, if not eliminated.

The greatest advantage of lean manufacturing in terms of cultures adopted by companies is that lean manufacturing makes the differences between management and personnel reach to a verging point.

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