Archive for June, 2010

Daily Management & Problem Solving

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

Many of us are involved with corrective and preventive actions as required by ISO-9001. It is not unusual to see the following “story” in a corrective action:

* Problem – Customer received defective material.
* Root Cause – The test technician was new and was not adequately trained.
* Corrective action – Retrain the technician and evaluate the training effectiveness.

In world-class lean organizations, this is known as a level-1 corrective action where no in- depth root causes analysis was done on possible issues. In the example above it is quite possible that the entire training program and evaluation of effectiveness is problematic, not just the training received by the technician. A level-2 corrective action is where in-depth analysis is conducted but the solution did not include a poka-yoke or error proofing. Obviously a level-3 corrective action will include error proofing.

Individual incidents as indicated above are symptomatic of more widespread systemic issues. Understanding the root cause of systemic issue is a painstaking process and an investigator and the team will cross boundaries of many functions. It is very common that a systemic issue will have multiple root causes and each of them will require its own corrective actions. It is the responsibility of leaders of organizations to mentor the staff to ask more questions (“why did it happen?”) and made decisions based on facts. Those of you use 5-Why techniques know that asking “why?” about 5 times will get you to the root cause.

Let us walk through a typical scenario of missed on-time delivery at JR manufacturing .The firm was struggling to get 95%+ on-time delivery (OTD). During Lean Daily Management, OTD performance of each department was discussed and each incident of delivery miss was discussed during the meeting. The discussion and investigation that followed one particular delivery miss is very revealing and shows the effectiveness of the system.

Adriana the planner, “We had scheduled this item for last week, but production and testing was not completed in time.”
Daniel, the cell supervisor (who was listening, was prepared): “True. But we got P/N 342 just yesterday (Oct 17) and there was no way we will make and test that product in one day.”
“Ok, Bob the department manager said, “This must be a supplier issue. But let us find it after the meeting.”

After the daily meeting, Bob and the cell leaders visited the warehouse to check the data on material receipt. In fact, the material was received on the day it showed on the purchase order – the day before it was issued to the floor. So the supplier shipped it on time. Then, someone commented, “I bet we didn’t order it in time.”

“I don’t know,” Bob replied. They walked to the sales area and found that sales entered the order on Sept 18 and PO for P/N 342 was issued on Sept 21, very reasonable. The purchasing group is relieved that they didn’t make a mistake. Bob was sure there was something out there that he is not seeing yet. He went back to the planner Adriana asked her how the lead time for the finished product was determined. By this time there were emotions and “not me” attitude. By second day, Bob found Adriana used 5-day lead time for this raw material P/N 342 but the purchase order indicated 11 days lead time.

Continued investigations revealed that the supplier changed the lead time, informed purchasing (who then changed the lead time for material receipt). But no one challenged the increase of lead time from 5 days to 11 days and no one thought this will affect lead time of existing orders.

On third day, Bob wrote down the root cause of this issue:”1) Suppliers are allowed to change lead time with only approval from purchasing, and 2) No system in place to incorporate changes in supplier lead times to existing orders and to communicate it within the organization.”

That was for one item. But the fixes will make sure the same issue will not happen again.

Looks painful? Yes it is. Finding true, actionable root cause of problems takes patience, and continued asking of “why?” Once you find the issue, you address all possibilities of the same issue happening again.

John Shook, in his book, Managing to Learn, published by Lean Enterprise Institute, details why managers should not propose solutions to issues – they should teach their staff to ask the right questions, “peel the layers of the onion,” and to make the root cause visible to all. Once there is an agreement and buy-off on the root cause, that associate now has the authority to propose solutions to specifically address those root causes. Thus the process of Daily Management and Problem Solving is all about empowering shop level associates to make decisions based on facts and to make continuous improvement as a way of life.

Good implementation of problem solving in any organization is a vital component of waste reduction and continual improvement.

Written by Mathew Nadakal, our Senior Consultant and Lean Six Sigma Blackbelt. Contact Mathew for more information on Lean Daily Management, and Problem Solving development.

Daily Management & Problem Solving- Part II

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010
Performance Improvement Solutions for Your Business Needs June 2010

In this issue

  • Daily Management & Problem Solving
  • ISO 26000 Social Responsibility Final Draft
  • ISO 9001 Supply Chain Relationship
  • Lively Listening – Nine Simple Steps
  • Training Courses
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    Daily Management & Problem Solving

    Many of us are involved with corrective and preventive
    actions as required by ISO-9001. It is not unusual to
    see the following “story” in a corrective action:

    • Problem – Customer received defective
      material.
    • Root Cause – The test technician was new and
      was not adequately trained.
    • Corrective action – Retrain the technician and
      evaluate the training effectiveness.

    In world-class lean organizations, this
    is known as a level-1 corrective action where no in-
    depth root causes analysis was done on possible
    issues. In the example above it is quite possible that
    the entire training program and evaluation of
    effectiveness is problematic, not just the training
    received by the technician. A level-2 corrective action is
    where in-depth analysis is conducted but the solution
    did not include a poka-yoke or error proofing.
    Obviously a level-3 corrective action will include error
    proofing.

    Individual incidents as indicated above are
    symptomatic of more widespread systemic issues.
    Understanding the root cause of systemic issue is a
    painstaking process and an investigator and the team
    will cross boundaries of many functions. It is very
    common that a systemic issue will have multiple root
    causes and each of them will require its own
    corrective actions. It is the responsibility of leaders of
    organizations to mentor the staff to ask more
    questions (“why did it happen?”) and made decisions
    based on facts. Those of you use 5-Why techniques
    know that asking “why?” about 5 times will get you to
    the root cause.

    Let us walk through a typical
    scenario of missed on-time delivery at JR
    manufacturing .The firm was struggling to get 95%+
    on-time delivery (OTD). During Lean Daily
    Management, OTD performance of each department
    was discussed and each incident of delivery miss
    was discussed during the meeting. The discussion
    and investigation that followed one particular delivery
    miss is very revealing and shows the effectiveness of
    the system.

    Adriana the planner, “We had scheduled this item
    for last week, but production and testing was not
    completed in time.”

    Daniel, the cell
    supervisor (who was listening, was prepared): “True.
    But we got P/N 342 just yesterday (Oct 17) and there
    was no way we will make and test that product in one
    day.”

    “Ok, Bob the department manager
    said, “This must be a supplier issue. But let us find it
    after the meeting.”

    After the daily
    meeting, Bob and the cell leaders visited the
    warehouse to check the data on material receipt. In
    fact, the material was received on the day it showed
    on the purchase order – the day before it was issued
    to the floor. So the supplier shipped it on
    time. Then, someone commented, “I bet
    we didn’t order it in time.”

    “I don’t know,”
    Bob
    replied. They walked to the sales area and found that
    sales entered the order on Sept 18 and PO for P/N
    342 was issued on Sept 21, very reasonable. The
    purchasing group is relieved that they didn’t make a
    mistake. Bob was sure there was something out there
    that he is not seeing yet. He went back to the planner
    Adriana asked her how the lead time for the finished
    product was determined. By this time there were
    emotions and “not me” attitude. By second day, Bob
    found Adriana used 5-day lead time for this raw
    material P/N 342 but the purchase order indicated 11
    days lead time.

    Continued investigations revealed that the supplier
    changed the lead time, informed purchasing (who
    then changed the lead time for material receipt).
    But no one challenged the increase of lead time
    from 5 days to 11 days and no one thought this will
    affect lead time of existing orders.

    On
    third day, Bob wrote down the root cause of this
    issue:”1) Suppliers are allowed to change lead time
    with only approval from purchasing, and 2) No system
    in place to incorporate changes in supplier lead times
    to existing orders and to communicate it within the
    organization.”

    That was for one item.
    But
    the fixes will make sure the same issue will not
    happen again.

    Looks painful? Yes it is.
    Finding true, actionable root cause of problems takes
    patience, and continued asking of “why?” Once you
    find the issue, you address all possibilities of the
    same issue happening again.

    John Shook, in
    his book, Managing to Learn, published by
    Lean Enterprise Institute, details why managers
    should not propose solutions to issues – they should
    teach their staff to ask the right questions, “peel the
    layers of the onion,” and to make the root cause
    visible to all. Once there is an agreement and buy-off
    on the root cause, that associate now has the
    authority to propose solutions to specifically address
    those root causes. Thus the process of Daily
    Management and Problem Solving is all about
    empowering shop level associates to make decisions
    based on facts and to make continuous improvement
    as a way of life.

    Good implementation of
    problem solving in any organization is a vital
    component of waste reduction and continual
    improvement.

    Written by Mathew Nadakal,
    our Senior Consultant and Lean Six Sigma
    Blackbelt. Contact Mathew for more information on
    Lean Daily Management, and Problem Solving
    development.

    ISO 26000 Social Responsibility Final Draft

    The way is now open for the publication of ISO 26000,
    which gives guidance on social responsibility, as an
    International Standard by the end of year.

    The
    multi-stakeholder ISO Working Group on Social
    Responsibility (ISO/WG SR), which includes experts
    and observers from 99 ISO member countries and 42
    public and private sector organizations, approved the
    draft ISO 26000 for processing as a Final Draft
    International Standard (FDIS) at its 8th plenary
    meeting on 17-21 May 2010 in Copenhagen,
    Denmark.

    The document is now being edited to take account of
    the consensus reached at the Copenhagen meeting,
    prior to which 2,482 written comments had been
    received for processing. ISO 26000 will be
    released for a two-month FDIS vote by ISO member
    countries in August-September, followed by
    publication as a fully fledged ISO International
    Standard by November.

    ISO 26000 is a guidance standard, not a specification
    document intended for third party certification, and that
    ISO would be vigilant in seeing that this was
    respected. The ISO Secretary-General reiterated the
    market expectations for ISO 26000, which include:

    • Global agreement on SR definitions, and on the
      principles of SR
    • Global agreement on the core subjects of SR
    • Guidance on how to integrate SR throughout an
      organization.

    For more information on ISO 26000 and the ISO
    Working Group on Social Responsibility, see the
    dedicated Website: www.iso.org/sr.
    This Website includes documents giving the
    background to ISO’s SR initiative, documents and
    press releases on the progress of the work and how it
    is being carried out.

    ISO 9001 Supply Chain Relationship

    Are you someone who is involved in the selection of
    suppliers, and potentially responsible for purchasing
    decisions? How can you be sure that your suppliers
    understand what you expect from them, and are
    capable of providing you with a consistent, conforming
    product?

    An informative document found through the
    International Organization for Standardization (ISO),
    provides some answers to these questions and will
    inform you about how you can get the most out of
    using ISO 9001 as a supply chain tool.

    The brochure provides good information and answers
    question such as:

    • What does “conformity to ISO 9001” mean?
    • How does ISO 9001 help you in selecting a
      supplier?
    • How can you have confidence that your supplier
      meets ISO 9001?
    • Can suppliers claim that their goods or services
      meet ISO 9001?
    • What to do if things go wrong?

    If you are not satisfied with the performance of your
    supplier, you must provide them with the appropriate
    feedback. Learning from complaints helps
    organizations to improve their future performance –
    that is what ISO 9001 is about.

    The free
    brochure, ISO 9001 – What does it mean in the supply
    chain?, can be found through this link to the
    ISO web site.

    Lively Listening – Nine Simple Steps

    According to Helen Wilkie, Listening is an important
    communication skill that is widely underused. That’s
    because although we consciously learn to write and to
    speak, somehow we think listening should come
    naturally. That’s not always the case. Here are nine
    simple steps to improve your listening skills and
    make you a more effective communicator both at
    home and at work.

    1. Decide to listen.
    Listening is not the same as hearing, and it’s not
    waiting your turn to speak. For each conversation,
    make a conscious decision to listen, and then do it
    actively.

    2. Avoid selective listening.
    Listen to the end, and don’t assume you know what
    the other person was going to say. Also, don’t tune
    people just because you don’t like them.

    3.

    Give acknowledgement and feedback.
    Verbal acknowledgement such as “I understand”, or
    body language such as a nod or a smile (or puzzled
    frown) let the speaker know you are listening and
    encourage more effective conversation.

    4.
    Ask appropriate questions.
    Use open-ended questions (i.e. those that can’t be
    answered in one word) to elicit more information, and
    closed-ended questions to confirm facts.

    5. Listen for non-verbal cues.
    For clarity and credibility, a person’s words, tone of
    voice and body language should be congruent. If they
    are not, lean towards believing the non-verbal
    message.

    6. Listen with your whole
    body
    .
    If you sit forward and maintain eye contact, you not
    only give the impression of listening, but you actually
    do listen more effectively.

    7. Separate fact
    from opinion and propaganda
    .
    We all recognize the propaganda that comes at us
    from the advertising industry, but we don’t always
    realize it can come in regular conversation too. When
    someone makes a statement, ask yourself if it is fact,
    or just what that person wants you to believe. It can
    make a big difference to your response.

    8.

    Control your emotional response.
    Learn to recognize when someone has pressed one
    of your ‘hot buttons’. You can then decide how to
    respond, rather than give in to a ‘knee-jerk’ reaction.
    The person who can control emotional response
    always has the upper hand.

    9. Make
    notes
    .
    Notes can be physical on paper or a computer screen
    or mental. Practice the technique of making mental
    notes and your conversational skills will increase
    dramatically. Many people never have the sense they
    are being listened to. By giving them the gift of
    listening, you can create a bond that automatically
    contributes to better ongoing communication and
    effectiveness at work.

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    on-line
    registration click on the course title below. View all our Courses.

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    AS9100C:2009 Process Based Internal Auditor-
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    ISO14001:2004 Environmental


    ISO14001:2004 Process Based Internal Auditor


    The Five Pillars of a Lean Workplace
    Organization

    Continuous Process
    Improvement

    Lean Six Sigma
    8 Disciplines (8D) of
    Problem Solving

    Understanding and Implementing ISO 13485:2003
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