Monday, April 26, 2010

What is Six Sigma

The Six Sigma methods
The origins of many Six Sigma principles derived from the teachings of influential thinkers such as W. Edwards Deming Quality and Joseph Juran. In some companies belong together quality and Six Sigma. Unlike other quality programs, Six Sigma strives for quality not only for the sake of quality; Six Sigma aims only to provide quality, if that value to the customer and the company increases.
The systematic five-phase model is to improve processes. The removal of key sources of error will cause results to improve substantially and provides the conditions to improve whole systems, and thus increase the profitability of organizations.

The five phases of Six Sigma improvement process, short-cycle called DMAIC.
  • Define    : What is the problem?
  • Measure  : How can we measure the impact?
  • Analyze   : What is the core causes of the problem?
  • Improve  : How to eliminate the problem?
  • Control  : As the long-term solution is anchored in the organization?
This method is derived from the classic PDCA (Plan / Do / Check / Act) by W. Deming.
Based on this method are numerous tools (the 7x7-Toolbox) to help identify problems in existing processes and documenting processes to make measurable and analysis.

Benefits of Six Sigma:
  1. Achieve growth and stock markets in fast-paced, but in ongoing innovation and change in the organization can be achieved. Six Sigma provides the basis for a new culture and a constant renewal, which is called "closed loop".
  2. Six Sigma is for any performance targets. Each department, each division and employee has different ideas and objectives. Six sigma uses this basis, processes and customers to create a self-contained target bundle. Anyone who understands his customer needs to evaluate its performance compared to the performance "perfect" Six Sigma objective of 99.9997 percent.
  3. Only good or error-free products as well as traditional company can guarantee at the present time no lasting success. Six Sigma means to live out what customers have expectations and ideas, and then plan how they are to perform efficiently and economically.
  4. In the 90's was the first time the idea of learning organization, a concept that many like it but difficult to implement is. The methodology of Six Sigma is here an approach that may enhance the development and dissemination of new ideas within an organization.

Lean Manufacturing through factory floor innovation

Taking the concept of the Toyota System and enhancing them with information systems technology today is the key to allow some manufacturers to unlock the door that leads into a short-cut the process improvement projects. They are rethinking the good ideas of lean manufacturing and use of factory floor is now the tools of information quickly and easily improves factory floor performance, customer responsiveness and their bottom line.

Method of improvement by a leaner approach and finite scheduling for factory floors showed a number of ways:
  • Reduce cycle time
  • Reduce inventory
  • Meet customer expectations on quality and delivery
  • Find ways to improve changeover
  • Empower workers
  • Create a culture for continuous improvement
Creating a culture for continuous improvement is realized through another lean the use of visual aids. By making the factory floor activity visible through the use of Manufacturing Execution System (MES), and measuring the flow times of parts on a continuous basis, the factory has a benchmark from which to identify areas that need improvement and the system to show improvement.

For example, in factories to switch to lean manufacturing, how many have put a machine monitoring equipment in place to measure the flow time of a part? If there is a system that allows the primary metric, how many can say the percentage of time that parts are "value-added" verse the waste (or value-added) time? Time is wasted in a downtime event, waiting for a tool / killer / mold or other necessary pieces of equipment. Other examples of waste of time spent waiting for a quality check or unnecessary time in changeover / setup.

By information systems for factory floor data collection, analysis of the factory floor processes and the flow of parts, sometimes referred to as a "current state map", can be made visible. If your company is going to take action to improve the process then why not make the process flow visible and available all day, every day. If the improvement is truly continuous, then why make the diagnosis of episodic flow.

So why not think creatively from the get-go and put on a factory floor information system in place that will help you and your company move forward with Lean concepts of identifying problems, the flow of parts, and the proposed changes over time? Just because Toyota did not use the electronic information system, will not make it wrong to install them on the floor. To the contrary, it is the American Manufacturer that the opportunity to improve these Lean concepts in information systems who may have married into a Lean process improvement program.
  1. Make sure the entire floor of the factory is related to the system and that they are empowered to identify problem / alert situations.
  2. Allow the system to provide a JIT production approach, which is dynamic and can be reactive to customer needs and floors.
  3. Find a way to record changeover times tracked to specific assets and people.
  4. Identify opportunities for process improvement and keep a record of it.
  5. Allow the floor to access the staff to better communication like email where appropriate.
  6. Improve operator access to data by providing electronic "paperless" display of current, as well as, newer style electronic image and video documents.
  7. Perform quality checks of the process and get it electronically to alert conditions of non-conformance conditions can be captured in real time.
Implementation of Lean Manufacturing through a factory floor system can save time and money and put you in the driver's seat to more profitable production.
Use information tools creatively. Use information tools that are designed to improve the process.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


GENBA or GEMBA is a Japanese word meaning "real place", where the real action takes place. In business, GEMBA is where the value-adding activities to satisfy the client are carried out.
Manufacturing companies have three main activities in relation to creating money: developing (designing), producing and selling products. In a broad sense, GEMBA means the sites of these three major activities.
In a narrower context, however, GEMBA means the place where the products are made.
The term is often used to stress the that real improvement can only take place when there is a shop-floor focus on direct observation of current conditions where work is done, e.g., not only in the engineering office.

Five Golden Rules of Gemba
Masaaki Imai promoted Kaizen to people outside Japan through his two highly acclaimed books:
  1. Kaizen: The Key To Japan's Competitive Success.
  2. Gemba Kaizen: A Commonsense, Low-Cost Approach to Management
He preaches the Five Golden Rules of Gemba, the first of which is 'When a problem (abnormality) arises, go to gemba first'. So what's gemba? It's the shop floor, or equivalent. Once there, you apply Golden Rule Two: check with gembutsu (relevant objects). Three: take temporary counter-measures on the spot. Four: find the root cause. Five: standardize to prevent recurrence. Standardization is the managing part of getting good gemba. You also need good housekeeping (Imai is very keen on cleaning machines) and muda, the elimination of waste. But all hinges on getting away from your desk. Obey the master Imai. GO TO GEMBA!

Similarity between 3 Gs and MBWA
The 3 G's (Gemba, Gembutsu, and Genjitsu, which translate into “actual place”, “actual thing”, and “actual situation”).
In the early days of Hewlett-Packard (H-P), Dave Packard and Bill Hewlett devised an active management style that they called Management By Walking Around (MBWA). Senior H-P managers were seldom at their desks. They spent most of their days visiting employees, customers, and suppliers. This direct contact with key people provided them with a solid grounding from which viable strategies could be crafted.

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