Importance of Variation
Today, we had a class on variation where we were told about how to distinguish between a common cause and a special cause variation. A common cause variation is which is in built in the system and is uassignable whereas a special cause variation occurs because of a particular reason outside the system. It is assignable and it should be identified and eraicated as soon as possible.
In organizations what managers usually do is consider a good produce one day as good work done by the workers and a comparatively lower prodcue during the next day as workers being inefficient. To consider the different produces of each day, we cannot just see the flow chart and see how we are doing. What is necessary is to identify the variation in production each day as common cause variation or a special cause variation. If the thing being produced is withing the limits of variation, we identify it as common cause variation where the ups and downs in production are not really due to the workers' effort but ae in built in the process of production. If we want to reduce this kind of variation we need to change the system as a whole. If a point comes outside the limits of variation, then we may see that it is because of a special cause. Production may be unusually low due to the absence of some workers or due to a machine breakdown! In such a situation, immidiate action must be taken to eradicate such cause and bring the production inside the limits.
What I really found useful in this lecture is how often even hoighly experienced managers do not understand the concept of variation and try to reduce the common cause variation by taking acions as if it was a special cause variation, thus, making the variation all the more out of bounds. I really understood the concept of first identifying common cause variation and then bringing our production inside this common ause variation so that our system becomes stable. Only after this is where we can thing of applying tools like six sigma to make a breakthrough and improve the production and reducoing even the common cause variation.
Today's lecture really provided me an insight as to how important it is to develop an understanding of variation before we even think of going for an innovation or improve our systems. Without understanding this concept any changes to the system more ofthen than not lead to a step backwards rather than forward.