A3 Paso 3 - Definicion del Objetivo

El Paso 3 - "Definir el objetivo" es una consequencia logica de completar el Paso 2 o Analisis de la Situacion Actual.  Requiere que el problema grande y vago, p.e. "Falta de capacidad", pueda ser mejor entendido y transformado en pequenos y mas specificos problemas en los que uno puede concentrarse y resolver. 
Entonces "Falta de capacidad" se convierte en "50% de tiempos muertos en proceso cuello de botella XYZ."
De hecho, el paso 2 lo llamo "Romper el problema"  en el Memory Jogger como traduccion directa de "Break down the problem" - por que es el objetivo de analizar la condicion actual es entenderlo en sus partes. 

Un error tipico en el Paso 3 es parafrasear la definicion del problema como objetivo. Asi "Falta de capacidad" erroneamente se convierte en "incrementar capacidad por un 25% para el 15 de Julio...". Que hay de malo con ello? No sirve. Un objetivo vago con el anterior es una muestra clara que el paso 2 no se ha entendido aun. El Paso 3 requiere mayor especificidad. el bien objetivo deberia parecerse mas a: "Reducir los tiempos muerto por 30% en proceso XYZ...".
Una forma grafica para entender como el Paso 3 es resultado directo de completar el Paso 2 se presenta abajo: 
La percepcion inicial del problema se desdobla - rompe - en problemas a traves de la observacion directa de los procesos, en problemas mas pequenos y mas especificos y luego se priorizan para entender el punto de occurencia donde debemos concentrarnos. 

Usando el cono de Toyota's Practical Problem Solving, El Paso 3 - Localizar el Punto de Causa corresponde a definir el objetivo antes de comenzar la investigacion de la causa raiz. Note que hasta el paso 3, es "Grasp the Situation" que significa "Entender la situacion Actual"

Eliminating bolts and nuts

In SMED, bolts are the enemy. They take time to remove and place back.

  • These 12 simple but clever ideas can be applied in many cases. 

  • One-touch clamps brought thanks to IMAO. See below below

    • How to do line balancing (dedicated lines)?

      Line balancing is a power tool to remove waste if you do it properly. Here are four steps for balancing a dedicated line (versus a shared or mixed product line) by using a simple example:

      1. Identify the process steps, materials and process time. This step is usually done using a Process Graph (see figure 1.)
      Figure 1
      A Process Graph depicts each material or component in the sequence they are assembled together to create the final product. The process time at each assembly or process step is also included. 
      In the figure 1, materials and components are in blue (i.e. "Tubes") starting from top to bottom and from left to right. Assembly steps (i.e. "P1") are in yellow while the process time (i.e. "16 seconds") are in green. 
      For example, process P1 take 16 seconds to assembly Tubes using screws while process M2 requires the sub-assemblies completed by process M1 and P2 and it takes 6 seconds.
      The final assembly is presented at the bottom (i.e. "Assembled Plug") 

      2. Calculate the takt time. Takt time gives you the production time required to meet the customer demand (the pace of the demand.) For our example we will assume 29 seconds per plug

      3. Group operations. Starting at the top of the process graph (figure 2), add the the process time until the total time is equal or less Takt time. In the example, 
      Figure 2
      • Workstation 1: P1+M1+P2+M2 = 29 seconds
      • Workstation 2: M3+M4 = 28 seconds
      • Workstation 3: M5+M6 = 28 seconds

      4. Build a Balancing Chart or Yamazumi Chart by using magnets or post-it for each process within each workstation operation as shown in figure 3.

      How to use the Balance Chart? 
      The benefit of building a Yamazumi or Balance Chart is that actually you can "see" waste and opportunities for improvement. For instance,

      • Any improvements to reduce the total cycle time in workstations 2 and 3 will not increase the overall line's throughput. In fact, improvements in these two stations will create more waste as idle time or waiting which is one of the 7 deadly wastes. Why? Because workstation 1 is the bottleneck (the one with the longest cycle time) "holding" the flow of production to 29 seconds even workstation 2 and 3 can run faster. 
      • On the other hand, workstations 2 and 3 have 1 second each per every cycle. if we improve workstation 1 to 28 seconds, the overall line can produce one unit every 28 seconds. In that case, the line is evenly balanced and there is not waiting time. 
      • However, if each workstation produces at 28 seconds, the line will be overproducing  given that the takt time is 29 seconds. As you might know, overproduction is the worst waste as that would create additional waste such as inventory, transportation and others.    

      What can Americans and Scottish whiskey distilleries learn from the car industry?

      These days Americans and Scottish whiskey distilleries might feel uncomfortable on the news that the title of the finest whiskey in the world has been given to their Japanese competitor (The telegraph Nov 4, 2014.)
      The Yamazaki Single Malt Sherry Cask 2013 became the "World Whiskey of the Year" out of 4,500 others by the recognized connoisseur Jim Murray. However, this prize is perhaps just the tip of a long learning and continuous improvement journey. Yamazaki has been doing whisky since 1923 in Japan and "Japanese distillers regularly wins whiskey competitions, even in Scotland" (Washington Post Nov 5, 2014)
      How an Asian maker is beating its Scottish and Americas such as Jack Daniels in a craft that has been part of their history and tradition for hundreds of years?

      Searching for an answer, I found little written about the reasons behind the Japanese whiskey successes. In an article at qz.com, its author mentions two reasons: (1) a less rooted tradition that allowed experimentation and (2) good quality water:
      "New York Magazine’s Jordana Rothman points to the youth of Japan’s whisky industry, which she says makes it “less shacked to tradition.” Yamazaki also has the benefit of its mineral water which “is treasured enough to be bottled and sold on its own.” Its wood barrels, meanwhile, are made of a native oak, mizunara, which Rothman writes “impart an almost ecclesiastic perfume you won’t find in any Scotch.”
      More than just great quality water
      While the lack of tradition and the availability of great quality water may be necessary to create the finest whiskey in the world we must recognized they are absolutely not sufficient. Industry experts should look deeper and perhaps learn from the challenges of their counterparts in the car industry.

      In the 70's and 80's, the American and European automobile industry faced a similar situation when Toyota challenged the status quo of the well established big 3 (GM, Ford and Chrysler.) It took several decades and a billions of dollars for these companies to recognize that need for change. It was in this context that the Toyota Production System was studied by MIT and other universities for the benefits of a diverse range of industries far beyond just the car industry or even manufacturing. Are there lessons learned from the car industry that whiskey makers should review? Or are they doomed to repeat the same struggles?

      Feeling uncomfortable is not pleasant but it can be a great source to propel innovation and growth for all, even for people who don't drink or care about whiskey. What do you think?

      Organizing a Lean office workplace

      "Where do you want me to go now?"
      When helping teams to improve their office or transactional operations (i.e. Stanley Black & Decker) I have been asked 'How should an office be organized to make value flow towards our customers with the minimum cost, time and errors?' 

      Although there are well proven solutions for organizing manufacturing workplace such as implementing U-shaped cells to tear down large batch production lines, little has been shared about designing office space using Lean principles. This post is an initial effort to address this void by discussing some important findings and sharing examples from companies such as Kaas Tailored in the US and HOKS in Japan that I had the opportunity to visit thanks to the Kaizen Institute.

      How office workplace affects teams performance
      In the 70's, MIT professor Thomas Allen led a series of experiments to understand what factors make some teams more innovative and effective than others. He discovered that the most relevant factor shared by innovative and highly effective teams is their physical proximity. In other words, teams that have their members very close are much more effective than similar teams that have their team members farther away.
      The explanation behind this finding is based on how team members exchange critical information. Professor Allen found out that interpersonal communication rather than technical reports, publications, email or any other written documentation is the common means how teams collect and transfer relevant information. In practical terms, any documentation is most useful when knowledgeable people is directly available to explain and supplement its written instructions or content.
      In this way, office spaces where people are separated by walls, cubes or other physical structures have lesser interpersonal communication and thus lower overall performance. On the other hand, workplaces in which people can quickly and effectively communicate allow teams to be more effective.

      Professor Allen's conclusion supports the importance of information flow in an office environment. However, based on this finding, how should be set a lean office workplace be organized? Before answering this question let's review two relevant studies about workplace and team effectiveness.

      Developing smarter teams
      In 2010, two academics from MIT identified that the smartest teams, better decision makers teams, were distinguished by three characteristics: (1) their members contributed more equally to the team's discussions, rather than letting one or two people dominate the group, (2) their members can better read emotional states, and (3)  more women team members. This last characteristic, as explained by the study, it is not about diversity but related to the fact that women are better at reading emotions. What these findings have to do with a office workplace? A lot. Any office space that allows members to contribute equally and to better read their emotional state would definitive develop smarter teams.

      On-site versus online work
      How online collaborative tools (Skype, email, etc.) would affect the way we organize office workplace? A new study from MIT Center for Collective Intelligence identified that emotion-reading matters just as much for teams online teams or off-line. They findings indicated that it is not physical proximity but emotional perception what make the difference. However, reading emotions is much harder using  a phone, email or Skype than in a face to face conversation.

      Examples for creating lean office workplace:

      I. Kaas Tailored USA
      Kaas Tailored is a company with many years practicing kaizen (continuous improvement.) Their office space has several interesting solutions from which we can learn a lot.  

      • Avoiding stopping communication flow. Contrary to traditional office space, their office layout does not have cubes or walls. The desks are organized forming a circle allowing information to flow quiet efficiently by rolling their chairs or just walking. 
      • Health and flow. Desks are high enough so people can work standing-up; however, they have high chairs if they wish to sit. There is a lot of evidence that sitting for long periods of time is bad for our health so stand-up desks with high chairs appear a great solution from health and flow perspective. 
      • Continuous Improvement. The office space is designed for experimentation.  Power, network and phone cables are "dropped" so changes in the layout are easy to implement by the associates with limited need of facilities or contractors. Note that all desks are wheeled.
      • Visual. The space is immersed in visual clues. By just standing, you can have a good idea of the information flow.

      These workstations are built using a flexible system based on tubes and joints that can be put together by anyone with non or little experience and few simple tools. In this way, people can take ownership on improving by their own, allowing faster cycles of experimentation and improvement. Some well known providers in the US and Europe are:
         - Creform, www.creform.com
         - Fastube, www.fastube.com
         - NIS, www.nisusa.com
         - Flowstore, www.flowstore.co.uk

      Although most of these systems were original created for manufacturing, they are evolved and used in hospitals, retailers and offices in general as you see with Kaas Tailored above.  

      II. HOKS (Japan)
      Another company with many years applying Kaizen principles is HOKS. Their policy is that anything, even vending machines, must be in wheels so continuous improvement can easily be done by all associates. As in Kaas Tailored, you can see people working standing-up with high chairs by their sides. In this case, a cost effective solution was use to increase the high of traditional desks.

      Should you have a Master Black Belt in your Lean Six Sigma transformation?

      The role of Master Black Belts (MBBs) is a point of controversy, confusion and even frustration. The lack of a common standard on their role, the proliferation of different organizations offering MBB certifications and the late response of the ASQ to put together a Body of Knowlege (BoK) for MBB did not help. 

      The role of Master Black Belt according to ASQ
      The ASQ MBB Body of Knowledge reflects a positive evolution of the Master Black Belt role. The statistical and probabilistic acumen, characteristic of Six Sigma practitioners, have been complemented by a significant doses of project management and mentoring concepts. It cautions MBBs from becoming just statistician experts to actually embrace the role of agents for meaning change at all levels of the organization.

      ASQ have done an outstanding work. The topics included in the ASQ MBB body of knowledge provide a great guide to Six Sigma practitioners to understand the role that MBBs:
      • Enterprise-wide planning and deployment (25%)
      • Cross-functional competencies (15%)
      • Project management (15%)
      • Training design and delivery (10%) 
      • Mentoring responsibilities (10%)
      • Advanced measurement methods and tools (25%)
      In addition, the percentage of questions, values in parenthesis, set by ASQ for each topic gives a clear direction on the relative time that MBBs might spend their role when helping organizations. with 75% dedicated to alignment, planning and mentoring. Even further, the level of mastering of each topic, as presented by ASQ using Bloom's taxonomy, ensure that topics included in the body of knowledge are treated well aligned with the expected role of MBBs. 

      Beyond Six Sigma Training and Project Management 
      However, the ASQ MBB BoK has its limitations. The highest level of mastering in Bloom's taxanomy, "create", is mainly assigned to project and training management topics shown below: 
      • Pipeline management
      • Leadership for deployment 
      • Executive and mid-level management engagement (project engagement)
      • Project status communication 
      • Project management infrastructure
      • Training plans
      • Training effectiveness evaluation
      • Project reviews (Mentoring champions, change agents and executives)
      • Mentoring belts and non-belt employees
      While a solid foundation for training and project management for any Six Sigma MBB practitioner are clearly necessary, the role of any MBB must refocus on becoming a transformational leadership role. The success and failures of the Six Sigma efforts in Motorola, Xerox and GE should be review to strengthen the role of Master Black Belts towards the success of their organizations.Why Motorola failed despite its Six Sigma successes and brilliant Master Black Belts? More analysis is needed but it is evident that Six Sigma project and training management expertise can't create sustainable adaptive organizations.

      To Be or Not To Be: The MBB question for your organization
      Should you include a Master Black Belt in your Lean Six Sigma deployment? It depends of many factors. For instance, "Belt" titles bring positive and, unfortunately, negative memories to cost cutting projects that meant firing people in some instances. In either case, you need to account for the connotation that MBB could mean in your organization; However, regardless whether you call it MBB or not, the transformational role is necessary to ensure Lean Six Sigma efforts last beyond the initial euphoria