All entries for November 2012

November 29, 2012

SIPOC rules!

I am now learning about the selling process in one small fashion company and I must say that SIPOC really helped to understand the process better and identify possible quality characteristics.

I and the owner of the company (this is my aunt) spent the whole day on thinking and filling in the SIPOC Diagram. The more we went deeper into the process research the more obvious its characteristics appeared. For example, we identified few steps into the ordering and selling process, then we filled in measures for each step, present data, goals, sources of variation and the impact on business. When we came to the last criteria (impact) she told me that basically there are only two sub-processes or steps that really affect the business. We then realized that her company don’t control these strategically important sub-processes because she couldn’t provide any data in that field. Finally, we came to the conclusion that from now on she will regularly monitor these two sub-processes and collect the data for further analysis.

In the end of the day she told me that I made her to reconsider the way that she used to operated her business. Wow…, I now can see clear the "output" of my studies and happy "customer"))!  


November 28, 2012

Steps in Statistical Process Control

As I probably mentioned before I decided to choose PIUSS topic related to the Statistical Process Control, which I can actually apply to a process of some small company. So, when I usually try to apply theory on practice the first thing that I do is identifying the steps of implementation. It shouldn’t take much time, but not in this case.

The problem is that Statistical Control appeared before Six Sigma. So, while early school of statistic analysis and control suggest 9 steps following each other in a particular order, Six Sigma combined and comprise this steps into DIMAC circle in another order. Thus, according to early studies, as the second step, just after the process description, goes cause and effect analyses, whereas in DIMAC we meet this analyses almost im the end stage “Analyse”, where the Pareto and fishbone diagram can be used to identify causes and effects and its relation by Scatter diagram.

Where is the truth?

November 26, 2012

To build control chart

Today I tried to identify what are the differences between two types of control charts: average and range chart VS individual and moving range charts. It was important for me to know the key features of both charts, because I wanted to use one to control the sales process.

As I understood, to decide which chart to use you have to know how many subgroups you will consider in your process. For example I am considering sales – so, basically this is ONE subgroup, which means that I need to use Individual and Moving Range Chart. If I had 3 or 5 subgroups it will be much easier for me to use Average and Range Chart. It seems to be not so difficult, BUT!!! One thing is choosing and building a chart and another is analysing and describing it.

November 23, 2012

Difficulties in keeping the momentum going

motivWhile writing the PMA I realized that the more I put effort to PMA, the less motivation I had to finish it. May be it happens because continuous improvement usually takes so much time and after spending week or month or even year there is still no guarantee that you will come to a solution in the end. So you may experience disappointment of putting so much effort and still not observing any results. To keep the momentum going without strong motivation is difficult and probably even not achievable, so what I need for my motivation? I need two things:

        • I need a feedback – if I am doing something I need to know what other people think about it. Is it really changes something or just adds a small/insignificant value? The feedback provides us visibility and communication of our work with recognition going straight after the latter.
        • I need a leader – Someone, who inspires me. In my case, this is my mum, nobody can inspire my as she does. I think everybody needs a muse that encourages us to dream and create. It can be our friend or sister,….or it can be your boss. Why not?

        November 22, 2012

        Stop and learn first!

        During this week with PIUSS we had many case studies and experiments. You know sometimes one experiment can teach you more than 100 lectures. I tried to apply SIPOC to airplane production and design a helicopter using Taguchi methods. This gave me some knowledge of how to apply Six Sigma approach and Taguchi to a real situation. Doing Six Sigma experiment with the airplane I realized that we were focused on the result all the time and didn’t pay as much attention to the learning about the process as we should. I think, it is extremely important to study the process first.

        If we think about the Six Sigma as a practical guideline or a cookbook for companies’ transformation it becomes clear that it involves practical approach, where every cause of variation can be translated into a cash and every process has a deadline. So, what else can we expect from this practical tool! Of course, if you want a quick recipe to transformation than you have to be ready that you won’t go to deep to the analyses - just because of the lack of time. But maybe this is a reality, - we don’t have time in our modern world to think.


        November 21, 2012

        The bad influence of competitive spirit

        Today we had a PIUSS seminar, where we were divided on two groups and asked to prepare a solution of how to improve the production line of airplanes. The aim of this case study was to learn how Six Sigma can be applied to a real situation. Unfortunately, as Deming suggested when people are put into competition, they forgot about the original purpose and start to play or fight to each other.

        I can’t say that we were not using Six Sigma approach. We tried to create SIPOC diagram and identify special causes but we were more focused on the result, rather on the process, that is why we put the main emphases on training and testing than on learning about the process. I guess, this happened because of that ugly and awful feeling of competitiveness, when in the end you can become either winner or loser. No one wants to become a loser, so we use all methods to win, even cheating.

        Maybe, it could be more effective to do all steps of DIMAC together, with exception of testing process, where the group can be divided on two teams? It can look weird but I am happy that we face this problem. At least now I know the outcomes of competitiveness!


        November 17, 2012

        E–learning as a step in becoming Learning Organization

        It is so strange how things can go. Process Improvement Using Six Sigma module helps me to learn something new about my CBE-PMA. For example, while doing e-learning I realized that this type of learning can be the key to transformation to a learning organization.

        It is a tool to make the organization to study in a more flexible way and to satisfy different requirements, i.e. to learn something new and see how it can be implemented on practice. Moreover, e-learning doesn’t put a student (in our case - employee) to stressful conditions where he is continuously being assessed by others. The common propose of such learning to do it for yourself, so this is a reason of non-assessment approach.

        It seems much easier to do this type of learning when you are not assessed. I wish it always could be like that. And this non-assessment approach really works for me, because I finished my TMI module over one day - I just was so absorbed with six-sigma that I couldn’t stop myself and wanted to explore more.

        TMI e–learning

        I finished my e-learning and I found it very useful. However, there are some difficulties that I faced with and also some questions appeared during this TMI learning. This is not a discussion entry. I am writing it just to structure my thoughts.

        1. The real good thing about this learning is that TMI module involves theory + practical example. That really helps me to understand theory, BUT after completing all 26 modules I get so much new information and none approach of how to put and structure this data in my head.
        2. I didn’t understand “streamline and standardize” part. Is streamline = solution, standardize = problems?
        3. What are differences between Team Leader and Facilitator? I mean, example with Pesto Pizza showed us that this is a Facilitator, who lead people through the process and Team Leader just allocated responsibilities among team members. Is it how it should be?
        4. I didn’t understand why we need all three measurement tools: run charts, histogram and control chart. Can’t we use only control chart, because it combines two previous tools?
        5. Example with Pesto Pizza showed that Project Team also considered the stable process and tried to change it. Why? I thought we should deal only with special causes, when the process is unstable.

        I hope in the end of the module I will get the answers!

        November 16, 2012

        Is stable process good?

        During my PMI e-learning, it was pointed out that to improve your business you have to try make all processes in the company to become sustainable. But, than if in the process variation there aren’t any special or assignable causes, how we will know what to improve in our business? There won’t be any stimulus or indicators that process should be improved.

        For example, I can consider a challenge in my life either as a problem, or as opportunity to change something and make it better. In terms of variation, assignable causes also can be treated as an opportunity not as problems that we have to solve! Maybe companies shouldn’t push themselves to achieve sustainability, because sustainability can be converted to stagnation? And maybe it would be better to have your variation unsustainable, which can support your further improvement???


        November 2012

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        Most recent comments

        • I would say knowledge "lean" folks understand the and the need to respect people (share success and … by John Hunter on this entry
        • Come on Cheryl, these all are just my observations based on lectures materials!))) by Arina Borodina on this entry
        • i think u get a lot material to write ur PMA!! good for u by Tzu-i Yang on this entry
        • Your welcome and I couldn't agree more with your post. Indeed many companies have heads and not lead… by Lorraine Karuku on this entry
        • Thank you for comment! And I totally agree with you that "we need good quality leadership to improve… by Arina Borodina on this entry

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