Poka Yoke is a series of techniques used to error proof, mistake proof or create a fail-safe process that is designed to prevent errors, defects or mistakes. Even more specifically a poka-yoke is any mechanism in a lean manufacturing process that helps an equipment operator avoid mistakes. Its purpose is to eliminate product defects by preventing, correcting, or drawing attention to errors as they occur. The concept was formalized, and the term adopted, by Shigeo Shingo as part of the Toyota Production System.
Reference: Wikipedia - Poka-Yoke
PDCA or plan-do-check-act is a four step method used in lean, quality improvements and other continuous improvement strategies. In the first stage plan, a plan based on historical background data and root cause analysis is formed. This plan is designed to invoke or effect change in a positive way. In the second stage of PDCA (do) the plan is carried out. This is generally a small scale pilot or initial test run of the plan. The third stage of PDCA is the check stage. Here the outcome of the plan is analyzed or studied as it is often referred to in PDSA. The fourth step is act which is focused on adjusting the do based on lessons learned in the check stage. You may hear the PDCA cycle referred to as the Shewhart cycle because Walter A. Shewhart discussed the concept in his book Statistical method from the viewpoint of quality control.
A problem is a deviation or gap between what is actually happening and what should be happening. A problem can also be defined as any customer need that is not met on-time in the right amount and in acceptable quality (according to the customer).
Problems can typically be categorized into one or more of the following categories:
Topics for discussion:
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Process variability is the variation or lack of consistency in a process. The variation causes the process to deviate from a fixed pattern in such a way that results in inconsistent, unpredictable and non-repeatable outputs (Y).
Process Stability is the consistency of a process in relation to important/critical process characteristics such as dimensions. When a processes outputs show consistency over a period of time that process can be considered stable or in control. Processes often become stable when variation in a process is reduced, resulting in a more consistent, repeatable outcome.
Pipeline inventory is the inventory that is still being transported through your network including, distribution and any intermediate stocking points. This inventory pipeline is one of the biggest reasons for low inventory accuracy. As you might have guessed when inventory items are in transit they are normally considered to be the shipper's inventory if the customer has not yet paid for the inventory, but if the customer has paid for the inventory, ownership normally transfers to the customer even if the customer has not obtained custody of their order yet. This is important to understand because ownership of the in-transit inventory more often than not tells us who's inventory list the order will go on.
Process improvement is any activity that is designed to close a process or systems performance gap. This can be done through the identification and elimination of COPQ, variation or various types of waste. Some methods that are commonly used in process improvement projects are:
Process Control is the activities involved in controlling a process. The includes making the process as predictable as possible, reducing variation, stabilizing and continuously improving so that the process will continue to perform or exceed the standard of performance.
The boundaries/scope of a charter make it clear to the team what the starting and stopping point are and to what level. The scope includes lateral and longitudinal scope. Starting and stopping points are usually outlined with a SIPOC map or a flow chart. Scope sets the in’s and out’s or the boundaries for team members.
A problem statement describes what, where, how big and when the problem occurs. The statement is intended to be very clear and concise, focusing only on the issue or opportunity that was initially discovered. The statement should be neutral and not suggest any type of solutions or assumed causes. The objective of the statement is to define clearly what the problem is (symptoms) and quantify in some way their effects on the organization.
Our cash to cash cycle at the accounting process has not been meeting the standard of 30 days. As a result of this our funds are invested in inventory 50% longer than we expect. It is crucial that we improve this because we are not getting a return on our investments quick enough.
Our (category of problem) at the (where is the problem) have not been meeting (what is the problem). As a result of this (connect a metric with the magnitude/impact of the problem). It is crucial that we (correct or improve) this because (why it is important).
Process time is the time that the product or service is actually being worked on by an operator or employee. Process times can be observed and gathered using a stopwatch.
Process time is often hard to grab in the "moment", using a camera can be a helpful way to ensure you have the complete and accurate process time.
How to Calculate:
Process time is calculated by adding the actual work time to the walking time to the waiting time. Machine time is not included.
George is machining a part. While george is machining John observes a work time of 4 minutes, a walking time of 2 minutes and a waiting time of 6 minutes. That means his process time is 12 minutes total.
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Sam is assembling a tricycle for his daughter. He walks to and from the assembly for tools for a total of 13 minutes during the process. He then waits for his wife Susan to go and pick up some WD-40 for the bike. That takes Susan 23 minutes. When Sam finally completes the assembly he worked a total of 42 minutes. What was Sam's processing time?
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A pull system is a technique used to produce only what has a demand attached to it. Pull systems are also used to replace inventory items which may have been taken to fulfill a demand. Pull systems use triggers to notify individuals when a demand or a need has been generated for the part or service.
One very common everyday example of a pull system is at a grocery store. Items are not replenished until a customer "pulls" the item from the shelf.
A process is a sequence of interdependent and linked procedures designed to transform inputs into the desired outputs. Each stage of a process consumes some type of resource (e.g. time, energy). Some parts of a process are intended to create value while other parts of a process are intended to support the creation of value. Primary processes are end to end processes that directly deliver value while focusing on the core creation activities of an organization. Secondary processes support the primary process and do not directly deliver value.
A primary metric or a primary process metric is used to measure process level performance. The metric is generally reported in a time series format showing the baseline or current state data, target or future state data and actual performance data. The primary metrics must be aligned and consistent with the problem statement the team defines and these types of metrics can be used to track progress towards your project goals and objectives as defined in the project charter. The primary metric will ultimately measure or determine your level of success as it pertains to your project.
1. Cycle time reductions
John and Bill were given a project to reduce the cycle time associated with unloading luggage for passengers at the airport by 50%. The baseline time was a calculated average of 12 minutes and 43 seconds. After the project was complete customers reported feedback which improved the customer service measurements dramatically. On a scale of 1 to 5, 200 customers reported a 4.0 or higher service rating. Along with improved service Bill and John were able to reduce the cycle time associated with unloading luggage from the initial 12 min. and 43 sec. to about 8 min. and 43 sec. Even though they did not meet the goal many of the employees Bill and John work with were very pleased at how simplified this process became.
A project budget is a comprehensive assessment or estimate of all costs related to a project. The project budget is more detailed than a high-level budget that may have been developed in the initial stages of project development.
What is included in a project budget?
1. Labor or manpower costs.
2. Material costs.
3. Direct costs such as training
4. Equipment costs including ongoing equipment fees.
5. Overhang and consulting fees
6. Project reserves or contingency planning
7. Subcontracting costs or vendor fees.
There may be other costs unique to your project. Keep in mind the project budget is your best estimate of how much the project will cost and ultimately determine the initial cost to benefit analysis for sponsorships decision.
A product family are products which pass through similar processing steps and share common equipment prior to leaving your company (shipping to customer). In general product families share about 80% or more processing steps or equipment. The significance of the "product family" as it relates to lean or six sigma is that the value streams of our organizations are in some way related to a product/service, when we group them into product/service families we are then able to see which product/services share the same processes and which value stream will be the greatest improvement opportunity for the organization.
A push system is the production or performance of any item or activity performed at required times by a given schedule that has been planned in advance. Many push systems build mainly to forecast. Push systems can also include issuing material or performing an activity based on a schedule rather than need. Push systems create excess inventory which is one of the 8 forms of waste.
Process mapping refers to a tool used to make business processes visual. The process map documents an entire process step by step. The process map is generally used towards the beginning of initiatives in order to understand the flow of a process but it can also be used in support of almost every phase of improvement projects.
Pareto’s concept suggests that most effects come from relatively few causes. To be even more specific Pareto’s concept suggests that 80% of effects are directly related to 20% of causes. The principle is often used in the narrowing down of choices and focusing in on priorities. To Learn more about Pareto's Concept visit our recent post in our blog entitled Listen to the Gemba, "The Pareto Chart." You can also learn more about the Pareto Chart and learn how to build your own in our Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt Course.
The Project charter is an informal contract between the organization and the team. A project charter will define the focus of a project, the problem, the goal, the scope, team and metrics linking the team's objectives together. The project charter often is revised multiple times throughout a project.
The Pareto Priority Index or PPI is a method of performing a cost to benefit analysis used in quantifying potential projects. The analysis weighs the savings and probability of success against the cost and time of completion. This measure often includes no customer input. When prioritizing your project options it is a good idea to take into consideration customer surveys and other qualitative means before final project selections are made.
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