For the most part, all of us have a robust fear of failure. We are good at counting the cost of trying and failing. We are also pretty much aware of what we don’t want to lose. The result is that we miss opportunities due to not taking the risk of possible failure.
In order to improve my on-time delivery of service, do I add resources to my process, or do I try to improve my process cycle time? The first consideration is that increasing resources increases your cost of operation. Improving cycle time does not. Another way to look at this is to compare your process cycle time with percent utilization of resources.
There is a relationship between variability in cycle time and percent utilization of resources. The source of this variation can be found in quality, rework, employee issues, etc. When variation is high, the percent utilization of resources reflects that variability and can impact on-time delivery, cost, and knowing how to allocate capacity (hiring, capital equipment, etc.).
Typically, the most suspect processes or process steps for introducing variation are manual or judgment oriented in nature. For example, if an individual applies personal judgment within a process you would expect to see bias or higher variation in the process output. Automated processes will typically have more consistent performance and lower variation.
One of the best ways to find these manual or judgment steps in a process is through the use of a process map. As a process is mapped, decision points are represented as diamonds. This becomes the first place to look for variation.
Lean and Mean Process Improvement is now available on CD as a PDF along with an assortment of Six Sigma Tools. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for details on how to purchase this CD.
Work started last week on converting Lean and Mean Process Improvement to an audio book. This work is in progress. I will post notification about availability as soon as it is ready. If you email me at email@example.com, I will notify you when it is ready for distribution.
By following a consistent format the Six Sigma team and its customers can better understand and explain hypothesis test results and conclusions. Reviewers know exactly where to look for information, which will increase their confidence in the results. This is an example format to use.
This is a statement that describes the practical question to be answered by the test. It is written in process owner or customer language and states what is being asked. It is phrased as a question.
The analysis of data is now, and always has been, problematic. We are not machines. Our thinking is affected by intuition and experience, which are not empirical in nature. In business, Six Sigma or not, the ability to see information from both an empirical perspective and from the perspective of human stake holders (not empirical), is critical to quality decision making.
A favorite axiom in management is, “If you aren’t measuring it, you aren’t managing it”. Just as driving a car with your eyes closed will result in disaster, running a business without some sort of performance feedback will result in business disaster.
The collection and use of data is important because things are rarely what they seem to be. Data helps us separate what is really happening from what we think is happening (or what we want to be happening). When we make decisions based on how things feel or how they have always been, we are operating in the “as we think it is” world. This is a prescription for disaster. The successful business operates in the real world. We call this the “as-is” world.
This will not be a post about Six Sigma or personal development. It is a time for being thankful and telling those you love how you feel.
Things I am thankful for and people I care about:
My mother and her recovery from cancer surgery.
My wife who deserves recognition for putting up with me.
My grandson Caleb who brings light into every corner of my life.
My son and the difference his life makes with others.
My daughter-in-law whom I love as if she were my own daughter.
My job and the opportunities it gives me.
My friends. Special mention: Lonnie who gave me a job, Brian and Fadi who share my burden at work.
My readers, who follow my words agree or not.
You might ask why I write about personal development on a website that is supposed to be focused on Six Sigma. This is a question that I hear from those who are trained in Six Sigma, but I rarely hear by those who are not.