All entries for December 2010

December 10, 2010

Quality Initiatives

Reading about six sigma, Lean, TQM and the other initiatives is confusing to a certain degree. While it is supposed to be reading about different things, the reader ends up reading about nearly the same thing in different ways. They are all aim at improvement, customer satisfaction and quality. 

However, I have not read about lean using statistics yet. But does that matter? There is no rule in any of the 'initiatives' that does not allow using tools especially if these tools help in achieving its main goals.

Reading in the literature might be a bit different from reality. I don't think that companies will go for a methodology and just read in the book and apply. The idea will be, just use what brings profit. And at the end of the day every company will have its own  mix of many tools and ideas that literature has not finished thinking bout a new name for them. I think it is difficult to find names because quality initiatives are making lots of babies in the market.

December 08, 2010

Toyoda's Lean

Lean is considered one of the most popular and successful models to follow in terms of waste reduction and optimizing profit in manufacturing. Looking carefully at how Toyota 'created' Lean can be innovative. When Eiji Toyoda visited the largest factory in the world at that time, Ford, he used his critical analysis rather than an engineer who had come to learn from Ford. Actually what he did was pointing out many of Ford's problems in terms of process efficiency. By doing this, Toyota's process jumped many years ahead by developing Ford's processes. 

I would imagine what would have happened if Ford noticed Toyoda's ideas and remarks and developed lean? we would have got a different car market shares by now.

December 06, 2010


Nowadays almost all the companies/ organisations that seek excellence are facing the fact that quality is the the main road to excellence. However, interpretation to the meaning of quality varies in the literature. Lots of definitions can be found, each approaches quality differently. Some focus on the quality of the product and some go in more detail into achieving quality in all aspects of the organisation such as finance and use of time. 

The interesting question is: Who put the quality criteria? is it the management? or is it by benchmarking with competitors? the  answer that can lead to sustainable result is: The customer. The costumer is the final judge for the products and the one who will decide what to buy.

Focusing on customers might only lead to more focus on the product without taking other areas such as employees satisfaction into consideration. It might not, however, if the management is wise enough  to recognise the connection between employees satisfaction and the quality of the product and image of the business in the eyes of its costumers.

December 01, 2010

Six sigma, Slow Process?

Although of its effectiveness, development of processes using six sigma can be time consuming. It approaches the processes by isolating the problems and handle each at a time (cycle). Moreover, it does not handle the causes of the problem as a group. only by going through cycles  usually these causes can be revealed and their degree of contribution to the problem is defined. Therefore, achieving a target of 6 sigma can take a quite long period of time.

In such competitive environment some can assume that the advantage for who starts earlier. Stages can not be overstepped hence a business has to go in sequence through the cycles. However, the argument will be about how good the process is designed in the first time and how much improvement it requires.

It would be interesting to look for opportunities to develop six sigma to become more time efficient. In the meanwhile it proves to be one of the best available depending on the results of the companies that have applied it.

December 2010

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