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The Eighth Waste

By Drive, Inc. on Thursday 15 July 2010.

In an organization operating or implementing a Continuous Improvement Program, it is imperative that a method be put into place for ensuring the continuation of the improvements. Often the methods that were used to start the Lean process are used again, later, in an effort to recreate the initial levels of success – hire another Lean guy, hold another workshop, hire another consultant, or publish the corporate goals – again. Although all these may work to get, or increase, Continuous Improvement activities, often there is a decline in improvements as the low-hanging fruit is eventually all picked. Once the easy wins are realized, some organizations struggle to maintain the continuous improvement momentum. In some drastic cases, companies will revert to their previous ways.

System Pressure

By Drive, Inc. on Tuesday 15 June 2010.

Most of us have experienced that, before going on a trip, we can get the Inbox emptied, the Outbox filled and the post trip recovery plan implemented before the day ends. Why? Pressure. When the order is due yesterday, and somebody is screaming into our ear on the phone, we get the order shipped today. Why? Pressure. Pressure motivates people, to move, to act, to decide.


By Drive, Inc. on Saturday 15 May 2010.

This is a question that befuddles many an executive. In fact, 70% of companies who have embarked upon a Lean Journey are dissatisfied with the results they’ve achieved (McKenzie & Bain study). Millions of dollars are spent each year by companies hiring consultants, creating Continuous Improvement departments, attending training and seminars, doing Kaizen Events, moving equipment, and implementing Lean tools. Yet most companies who do this are not happy with the return on investment. Why is this?


By Drive, Inc. on Thursday 15 April 2010.

Hoshin what? Many organizations who are years into their Lean Journey have never heard the term, yet it is the heart of the Toyota Production System. Hoshin Kanri helps ensure that an organization works on the right things in order to get the expected results. That sounds attractive until I mention that an organization usually needs to turn their entire approach to managing manufacturing upside down; product development, back-office business processes… indeed, the entire enterprise needs to be managed differently. Can you get results without it? Sure, albeit limited results. As an example, SMED will work as a stand-alone process. A mass manufacturer can use SMED to reduce changeover time and therefore make more parts on the same equipment, amortizing the capital cost of the equipment over more parts, thus reducing cost per piece. However, with Hoshin Kanri, it might become evident that it is more important to use the changeover time reduction to reduce batch size and change over more often, leading to greater flexibility to meet customer demand and lower inventory carrying cost. So the tool without the holistic approach of Hoshin Kanri can get some results, but likely won’t lead to the best result and the greatest return on investment.


By Drive, Inc. on Tuesday 16 March 2010.

As mentioned in last month’s newsletter, we stated the three basic steps to creating a Hoshin Plan. They are: (1) Establish goals, (2) Establish a plan to meet your goals, and (3) Establish a system for progress review that ensures your plan is executed on time with the expected results.


By Drive, Inc. on Tuesday 16 February 2010.

Six-Sigma is a problem solving methodology that synergizes well with any Lean enterprise initiative. In some companies, the term “Lean Six Sigma” is used instead of separating the two methodologies, since they complement each other in their objectives. Lean is a system to eliminate waste, unevenness and overburden by identifying and solving problems utilizing people. Six-Sigma can be the methodology that is used to identify key problems, validate root cause, and solve the problem properly and permanently using statistical tools. It was developed by Motorola in the 1980’s and has stood the test of time. As popular as it is, there are still many companies that have not benefited from the tried and true process that has shown its value time and time again at some of the world’s largest organizations. GE, American Standard, Motorola and many other companies have attributed billions in savings to the Six Sigma business methodologies.


By Drive, Inc. on Friday 15 January 2010.

In the last newsletter we discussed the phases of Six Sigma. There are 5 phases in the Six Sigma problem solving process. Each phase is very important to the overall success of the project. This month we will dive into the first phase of the Six Sigma process, which is called the DEFINE phase. There are four main steps within the DEFINE process to ensure there is complete understanding of the project and process being addressed. Those steps are: Initiate the Project, Define the Process, Determine Customer Requirements and Define Key Process Output Variables.


By Drive, Inc. on Saturday 14 November 2009.

Last month, we focused on the “A” in the DMAIC cycle for Six Sigma. We discussed the processes and tools used to ANALYZE the output performance of the process. This month, we will focus on the “I” in the DMAIC cycle, which is the IMPROVE phase. In this phase, we should now be ready to develop, implement, and evaluate solutions targeted at our VERIFIED cause. The goal is to demonstrate, with data, that our solutions solve the problem and lead to an improvement. We must VERIFY the effectiveness of the solution. Failing to VERIFY the effectiveness will lead to false hope and busy work trying to maintain the improvement.


By Drive, Inc. on Thursday 15 October 2009.

Last month, we focused on the “I” in the DMAIC cycle for Six Sigma. We discussed the processes and tools used to IMPROVE the output performance of the process. In this issue, we will focus on the “C” in the DMAIC cycle, which is the CONTROL phase. In this phase our goal is to ensure the problem stays fixed and make certain that the new methods can be further improved over time. Have you ever ‘fixed’ a problem only to see it surface again just a few months later? We observe that the lack of sustainment of improvements (including the lack of permanent corrective actions to problems) is the number one inhibitor to DMAIC success.

Hands-on Six Sigma

By Drive, Inc. on Tuesday 15 September 2009.

The following is an actual example of how LMSPI applied “Hands-On” Six Sigma to help a customer solve a problem that had crippled them since a product’s inception. The client is a US manufacturer of custom thermoplastic profile extrusion that engaged LMSPI to apply our brand of Six Sigma.

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