March 21, 2014

RDM Reflection 2

Writing about web page RDM

The past 2 weeks have been a great experience for me. Making decisions as a group is not an easy task. It is a very complicated job as different individuals in the group have different thought processes and priorities.

The major problem we faced during this exercise was to come up with the decision on what all decision tools should we use to solve the case study. We sat down together and analysed the advantages and the disadvantages of each and every tool keeping in mind the current situation. We had democratic discussions in which every person was allowed to put forward his/her point of view. We finally decided upon the decision tools that we would be using during the exercise.

After this, we divided the work amongst the group members and finally gave the presentation today. While the other groups were presenting today, I realised that even if we use the same decision tools for the same situation, it is not necessary that we end up making the same decisions. This is because every group has different priorities, think differently and work differently. Today, five out of six groups chose their location to be Lymington whereas one group chose it to be Exmouth. We can’t say that this group made a wrong decision. It is a fair enough decision as they might have found certain aspects of Exmouth very vital for their business. In the real world also, not all firms in an industry make similar decisions.

This exercise helped me understand various decision tools even better as I used them practically. During the lectures in the first two days of the module, I was a bit confused, as I did not get a clear understanding of these tools. But this exercise given to us by Mr Jeff was a masterstroke. Because we used these tools ourselves, their importance and usage became very clear to us. This module has been a great learning experience for me.

January 05, 2014


Working on this PMA has helped me understand the importance of waste and variation reduction and removal. Earlier, I never thought that removal of variation and waste is such an important aspect of business excellence. I never thought that these are primary areas of concern. As I worked on my PMA, I came to know that removing wastes can bring down cost and therefore increase the profit margin. On the other hand, removing variations can increase customer satisfaction.These approaches are now one of the most important aspects of continuous improvement. They are related to each other but are distinct. I also learnt that the success of integrating lean and six sigma depends upon the integrating architect who must take into account the strengths and pitfalls of both the programs and devise a program that avoids these pitfalls.


The PIUSS PMA has actually helped me understand how lean is different from six sigma. Initially I though only one of these approaches could be applied in an organisation but I was definitely wrong. These two approaches complement each other in such a way that the shortfalls of one approach are covered up by the positives of the other approach. In such a way they together emerge to be a superior improvement philosphy called Lean Six Sigma.

The growing popularity of LSS proves that it is successful as a tool of improvement all over the world. This concept has intrigued me in such a way that I am really excited to apply this approach in my manufacturing business back in India. Because my organisation faces problems of variation in processes and too much watse production during the processes, this concept is definitely going to beneficial in my organisation. The real challenge would be to design LSS with the appropriate tools and methodologies that are helpful and needed in the organisation as different organisations use different versions of LSS according to their needs.

January 04, 2014


What is the difference between six sigma and lean? This was the one BIG question I had in my mind before I started working on my PMA. As I read more and more about these two approaches, I found these to be very different from each other. Six sigma is about removing variations and lean is about removing wastes. They follow different processes and methodologies. The tools of six sigma are also different from the tools of lean.

But, there have been attempts to bring them together in the form of lean six sigma. There are question regarding the compatibility of lean and six sigma. Some experts say they are antagonistic to each other. But as I read on about them, I realised that they can be compatible to each other in certain organisations depending upon the type and level of problem faced by the organisation. There isn't any framework about how to integrate lean and six sigma. The integration depends upon the requirements of the organisations.

December 01, 2013

PIUSS and Helicopters

After the plane activity we were told to make paper helicopters. The longer the helicopter stays in the air, the better it is considered. We had to decide upon 5 factors which mattered the most in making the helicopter better. This helped me understand the importance of identifying the factors that affect the production process of a product. The taguchi approach was applied on our results and then Graeme showed us how it is useful in a process. This approach cleared all my doubts about the use of maths and statistics in business and how can these be helpful in process improvement. I am willing to apply this approach in my manufacturing business as well and compare the result. It has sharpened my team working skills as this activity was all about team working not solo working.

PIUSS and Aeroplanes

The plane activity was one of the most interesting and engaging activities that I have come across in warwick. This act gave me an insight into the manufacturing process of an organisation. It made me realise how people from different departments come together and work towards the goal of an organisation. I actually learnt the use of DMAIC cycle through this activity.
We had to brainstorm a lot to come up with new ideas so that more planes could be made without defects in less time. We came up with different ideas like the positioning of the manufacturing people and the logistics people. We also planned to make the work of the water spider a lot more easy so that she had to cover less space between the logistics department and the manufacturing department. This gave me a view of how coordination amongst the people in an organisation can lead to an improvement in its process. This activity has helped me understand the working of a process but on a very small scale. This is definitely going to be beneficial for me in my future.

October 20, 2013


On Monday, we were told have a meeting per group. We were handed with a sheet randomly with our designation written on it. Along with the designation, our responsibilities and challenges were mentioned on it as well. I was the Personnel and Training manager.All we had to do was to prioritise our challenges and raise and discuss them in the meeting which lasted for 45 minutes.

This case study taught me the importance of prioritising our issues both in professional and personal life. I cannot solve all my issues at a time. I will have to pick one at a time and then move on to another. This gave me an insight into the professional meetings that I would be attending in my future. We have to give importance to urgent and important matters followed by not urgent but important matters. I learnt from this meeting that professionalism is all about being to the point.

If we would have been taught this theoretically, I would not have understood the point very deeply. The advantage of learning practically is that it gets into our sub-conscious mind. This is what makes the MBE learning environment different and awesome. As Paul said, it is a very safe environment. We won't suffer huge losses if we make wrong decisions. It is the time to be free and innovative without having fear of anything. So, lets go out and learn.

EI and Leadership

Leadership is often associated with qualities like determination, vision, intelligence and personality. But these are not sufficient. Nowadays, leaders who lack emotional intelligence are hardly successful. Emotional intelligence includes self-awareness, self-regulation, empathy, motivation and social skills.

A leader should be aware of his/her feelings so that it can be used accordingly. For example- If a person knows that tight schedules and deadlines brings out the worst of his capabilities, he/she would plan their work and try to complete it way before the deadlines. He/she would increase the size of their quadrant 2 activities.

Self-regulation is a very vital part of EI. A good leader must be able to regulate his/her feelings. If a leader is not happy with the work of employees, he/she has two options, either shout at them or keepl calm and find the reason of their poor performance. Leaders who lack self regulation would shout at them which would decrease the morale of the employees. To be a successful leader regulations of personal feelings is very crucial.

Empathy means understanding the feelings of others. A leader must understand the feelings of employees and use it as a tool to motivate them. When a leader asks an employee to work overtime, though the employee agrees, there is a disappointment in the tone of the employee. The leader should be able to catch the tone and understand the feeling and try to respect the employee for working extra. He/she should motivate and recognise the employee for the extra effort he is putting in.

Most of the leaders do use EI in day to day life unconsciously. To be a great leader, a person must know how to use EI in their work. After reading about EI , I think I can answer- 'What makes a successful Leader?'.

October 19, 2013

Performance related pay

In the last week our class had a lot of debate on 'performance related pay'. Science says that financial incentive works only when the employees have to use mechanical skills not cognitive skills. Some managers even say that finanacial incentives may lead to negative results.

The financial incentives work only when the workforce is paid salary or wages below the market rates. However, in certain countries (developing) , even if the workforce is paid according to the market rates, they still are not willing to miss a chance to earn extra money by working for extra hours. In the past I have seen people working hard to get financial incentives although they were paid higer in comparison to the workforce of the same level in other organisations.

Respect and recognition play a vital role in increasing the morale of the workforce. In my company , I have seen that praising the employees for the work they have done does wonder. Next time they work even harder to get recognised. But gradually they start feeling that they are superior than the others working with them and expect higher pay for their effort. If their pay is not increased they lose all the motivation and put in less effort than before. It brings down their performance level. This brings in the concept of 'performance related pay'.

An alternative to 'performance related pay' is that the workforce should be trained and educated for higher level jobs with higher pay instead of giving them financial incentives. I agree to this but it works only to a certain level. In an organisation which has only 3 levels ( CEO , Managers , Employees) , the managers cannot be trained to be the CEO of the organisation. Training has a limit. Moreover, employees after getting trained and educated may leave the organisation and join any other company with higher pay ( not all organisations have equal payment scheme).

So, in the end I think that there should be a balance between performance related pay, recognition and training in an organisation because relying on any one of these would limit the scope.

October 11, 2013

You become what you want

You become what you want if you have the right motivation and attitude towards it. Ask yourself a question - What is in your head?

1). Think about your aspirations and have a mind set. Without it you are just playing around. The first thing to get clear on is that becoming the person you want to be is not an outside search. You must have a very clear aim.

2). Believe in yourself and in your dream because if you don't trust your dream, why would the others do?

3). Understand your strengths and find your weaknesses or areas of improvement ( according to Paul ). Strive to improve your strengths and strengthen your weaknesses. Every step in your life is important for achieving your dream.

4). If you want to be successful, don't spend too much time planning. Start working towards your dream immediately.

5). Train hard.

6). Sharpen the saw.

7). At times of unforseen situations - Act, Learn, Build and Repeat. Never ever give up.

Don't follow your dreams , chase them!

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  • Hey Miriam, I mean that employees do need motivation to work. If not the financial incentives, they … by Kaushal Bhanger on this entry
  • Hey Kaushal, good entry, however, I do not understand your statement: "An alternative to 'performanc… by Miriam Auer on this entry

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