Almost every project will include brainstorming of some kind at some point in the project lifecycle. Brainstorming sessions can be a powerful gateway to unlock solutions, make issues visible, prioritize actions and bring experienced minds together. When individuals come together as a team, innovative ideas can be born. One of the struggles of being a part of a powerful and productive brainstorming session is that they generate many great ideas and often reveal a large amount of issues. This can leave a group feeling overwhelmed. Often times, the wide array of ideas can be hard to organize, understand, validate and act on. Worse yet, many members of a team might leave feeling invalidated, unheard or completely shut down.
The first day on the job is always an exciting experience for any new employee. A new chance to show your skills, meet new people and grow in a new organization. Excited to learn something new in training you get thrown to the wolves and here the phrase "you will figure it out." That can be a bit scary to say the least. Surprisingly as you start figuring out everything has procedures connected to it. Three days later and you have mastered erp, assembly and every office function in the organization. A bit surprised by this you're off to a great start!
In one of our Online Courses, a participant recently posed the question, "What is the Difference between Standards and Standardization"? To answer this question we need to first define each of the two terms.
A few months back I received a phone call from an old friend. After we had finished catching up for a bit he began describing to me how he had his employees calculate the yield of his pizza's. each day the employees would mark how much came out and how much was put in. The employee would then divide the out number by the in number giving him the yield percentage. Sound familiar? The method that was being used to calculate yield is known as traditional yield calculation. Out of curiosity I asked him, "what is your yield percentage?" He then shared with me that his yield for each day was always right about 96%. So what was the issue? 96% production rate is not the best, but it's not the worst either. That's when he mentioned that things didn't seem to add up.
So where do we start? Let's look at the process right! First I asked him to give me a run through of the process that was being used to make the pizza's. As it turns out he had two separate processes, one for popular orders and one for unique orders. We will look at the "popular order" process here.
What is First Time Yield?
The first time yield, first pass yield or throughput yield is a metric used to determine how a process is performing in relation to the number of good units or services it produces. In other words it tells us the number of good units to the total number of units excluding wasteful activities like rework and scrap on units that can not be fixed. In the case of our pizza we actually have a 90% first time yield not 96% as the traditional calculation showed us.
How is it Calculated?
6% change in a measurement is quite significant. Can you imagine if that change was in car parts, airplane parts or computers and not pizza's? The way we calculate first time yield, throughput yield or first pass yield is simple by dividing the number of GOOD UNITS (excluding any rework or scrap) by the THE TOTAL NUMBER OF UNITS GOING THROUGH THE PROCESS. If you are interested in a template the bottom of the page will give you a free download.
Why use First Time Yield?
So why do we use first time yield instead of traditional or final yield? The most obvious reason is that using final or traditional yield methods keeps the "hidden factory" hidden. The final yield only divides the number of acceptable pieces by the number original number, or what comes out in comparison to what went in. Looking back on our pizza's we can understand now that the yield was not really 96%, in other words using the traditional yield calculation hides wasteful activities like rework, lost time and many other forms of waste. However when a metric like first time yield is used we take into consideration only process steps that yield good parts or services and exclude rework (first pass). This gives us greater insight as to what is actually going on in the process. Using metrics such as first time yield also helps combat the famous, it's just the way we always do it behaviors by exposing rework and other wasteful activities so that they do not get built into future processes.
In the case of my friend he was losing 6% on every 100 pizza's which could turn out to be a significant opportunity to improve his process and gain additional resource time in the near future. Ultimately first time through yield is a significant step in the right direction, however most processes are linked together in order to create a systematic way of accomplishing tasks along the way. When there is a string of processes involved FTY is not the ideal way to measure. These cases like we will see in our "unique order" pizza's are better suited using a rolled throughput yield. So stay tuned as we calculate the complex unique orders of our pizza process using rolled throughput. Don't forget to download your free template by clicking on the link below.
Have you ever gotten into a discussion of why? because. Why? because. Last weekend I had the great pleasure of this discussion for what seemed to be the first time. I never really put much thought into it but asking why never really was a difficulty for me.
Oftentimes when we want to use the 5 whys to drill from issue to root cause we end up in a pattern of why, because. Why, because. Or, we conduct a long analysis only to find out that none of our levels of causation matched at all. One of the best known examples of a 5 why analysis was performed by the master Taiichi Ohno. He used the example of a welding robot stopping in the middle of its operation. Like a sensei does he naturally went from initial issue to root cause with almost no difficulty at all. So, how do we begin developing this level of mastery with regards to root cause analysis? Here are a few important things to keep in mind when looking for the ROOT cause.
For years now teams have come together on baseball fields, football fields, soccer fields, race tracks, offices and homes in what has become known as the huddle. These quick and spirited standups often last no more than 5 minutes and help team members refocus their efforts while planning for things to come. Whether the purpose is to realign or align team members focus towards an objective, the daily 10 - 15 minute scrum, stand - up or huddle works.
With the new year upon us posts regarding health are widespread. Resolutions have begun, talk of parking further away and staying in the green aisles of the grocery store seem to whisper to our ears on every social media channel known to humans. Well this post will do the same. If you're looking to grab a few extra steps during your day, strap on the fitbit and let's head on out for a "waste walk."
What is a waste walk?
The waste walk is one of the best ways to train employees, reveal waste and discover opportunities to improve. Simply put it is a time where teams or individual's head to the gemba and look for waste. The waste walk can be a standard activity, planned event or a now and then practice. The only thing that is required for people to have during a waste walk is a basic understanding of the 8 forms of waste.
How to Perform a Waste Walk:
Before you can begin your waste walk you need to make sure that everyone is aware and understands the 8 forms of waste. A few ways that you can help people understand waste might be:
2. Once everyone has a good understanding of the 8 forms of waste you may want to consider establishing a standard time for activities such as waste walks to be performed. Setting a standard time will allow teams and individuals to plan for their waste walk. It will also help people to understand the importance of going to the gemba regularly. Along with establishing a standard time it can be very helpful to develop a spaghetti graph or a roadmap that charts the waste walk out. This will help you focus and can also be used on specific value streams or areas.
3. While you walk the area/value stream look for as many forms of waste as you can. Take a moment to write down every form of waste that you find. Be sure to be very specific, every form of waste is an opportunity for improvement.
4. Prioritize your list and select forms of waste that can be removed right away. If there are other forms of waste that need analysis place them on a suggestion form or a kaizen paper.
Waste walks are a very easy way to discover waste and develop lean thinking minds. As you begin to walk value streams or areas daily you will learn to see and act on even the most intricate forms of waste. This type of approach drives kaizen (small, incremental) improvements. Whether it's a lean journey or a new year's resolution taking a regular waste walk will certainly add to your lean vision.
Jesse Allred - firstname.lastname@example.org
Lean manufacturing offers a number of tools and strategies to complete projects, streamline processes, identify wastes, and improve efficiency. One tool that’s often overlooked is the project management concept known as the Obeya room.
Obeya, sometimes spelled Oobeya, is a Japanese term translating to the "big room." These physical rooms utilize visual management and collaboration to ensure projects are seen through completion and in a timely manner. Using posters, charts, and graphs allows everyone who enters the room to quickly understand thought processes, plans, and offers a space for people to review the relevant information easily. An Obeya room is a great area for managers, workers, and planners to get in the zone when working on projects. Obeya rooms foster an environment that will help keep the project on track.
Memorial Day is a special holiday that is celebrated every year. Though many of us may think of those we have lost every single day for one day an entire country stops to celebrate the lives of fallen soldiers.
Did you know?
Memorial day was not always referred to as Memorial Day. Originally the holiday was in fact known as Decoration Day. The day was referred to as Decoration Day because it was not a specific day of any battle.
What do people do on Memorial Day?
When Memorial Day comes many families plan trips, bbq or go and visit those they have lost at cemeteries or gravesites. Often times those that we celebrate on this special day may be people we never knew. You may choose to celebrate continuous improvement masters like those on our Masters of Lean and Six Sigma page or you may have someone close to you that served in a military capacity at some point in their life. Whichever category you fall into please know that many of the improvements today are a result of those brave individuals. Though some veterans may never have heard the words:
lean, six sigma or continuous improvement let it be known on this day the most appropriate word for you to share is: Thank You.
In the comments section below please leave a comment with someone you wish to remember. Share their legacy, their story or just their name, but please share. We would love nothing more than to support you in honoring those close to your heart this memorial day!
Many years ago, newspapers lined the streets of almost every city in the world. People would gather at the "newspaper stands" and browse each page while sharing a story or two. Word of mouth and the rugged ink stained paper were the main drivers of news, suggestions and ideas.
Today we still have ideas and suggestions, but things aren't quite as simple as the good ole days. Today making a suggestion often involves filling out a tedious small slip with more information than you can even read, shoving it in a bin that nobody collects and then hoping it gets "approved." Here's the idea! Workers see it all, touch it all and often have the closest connection with a process. Why is this significant? That connection can act as the perfect vehicle when looking to identify issues, collect improvement suggestions and or come up with innovative new ideas. The best part is, you don't have to walk to a newspaper stand to do it.
The Kaizen template or improvement newspaper is a powerful tool that can be used with employees. They can suggest improvements, possible solutions and even create opportunities for improvements without necessarily having any idea of a solution. Sounds a bit crazy doesn't it? Well it is! We’ve all been there before, a problem you see all the time and no ideas on how to solve it. The Kaizen template enables employees to support improvements whether they have a fix or not. So how will this tool help employees? To start, the suggestion or person filling out the kaizen template will need to capture a few pieces of information and document the information on the kaizen sheet.
Here's the important thing to understand, no matter how much information you capture, it will do no good if it's shoved in a box waiting for review or hidden on a desktop only to become trapped in cyberspace.
Like any other lean tool, the kaizen template works best when it is made visible. Here are a few important things to keep in mind when using improvement newspapers for a suggestion system.
1. Make it Visible
Like we mentioned earlier improvement newspapers should not be contained within a network or hard drive, they need to be visible. Think for a second to a problem you’ve had before but couldn’t solve. Eventually you share with a friend and they share a possible solution. Immediately you think, “why didn’t I think of that?” When opportunities are visible everyone can see, understand and help each other. One advantage when using a computer to fill out the suggestion is that there will be no sorting through legible and illegible papers. You can fill the paper out and print it out, placing it in an area where everyone can see the idea and before you know it someone is there to support you in finding a possible solution.
2. Keep them Alive
About the era when tv was in full swing and computers began to emerge newspaper stands were laid to rest. Now we get quarter machines by selected restaurants and no more standing with our friends talking and sharing the latest news on the front page. Fortunately, Kaizen templates are far from dead. They are in fact one very effective way to obtain opportunities for improvement but they must be kept alive. Monitoring the suggestions during a huddle is one way to keep status up to date and ensure that each suggestion is moving forward. In a huddle you can address the needs of the suggestion and help ensure ideas continue moving forward. Possibly the most valuable aspect of this constant and continuous activity is that the people who make the suggestions will begin to understand that they are part of a team and their ideas mean something to others. When people get a sense of belonging, support, action and appreciation your possible improvements will increase sufficiently.
If you have ever used a new tv changer there is a bit of a learning curve to it. Directions in hand and a thousand different settings to program it will never be as simple as walking to the newspaper stand to get some information. The same principle should apply to our kaizen templates or improvement papers. Not everyone knows how to use excel and not everyone will understand the process right from the start. That makes it the perfect opportunity to train employees and go for a Gemba walk. The bottom line, make it easy for the people filling the papers out. The only thing that employees should be responsible for is filling out the template and doing their best to discover the root cause.
Although we may never see newspaper stands lining the streets again, kaizen templates or improvement newspapers could line the huddle boards of your organization. They could fill white boards, line the walls and flow from the mouths of team huddles. All while capturing innovative ideas from talented employees and driving improvement initiatives day in and day out. The best part about this great tool is that it won't even cost you a quarter.
If you would like a template for a Kaizen/Improvement newspaper to get started click on the button below and begin experimenting with different tools that will help transfer improvements from idea to action.