iSixSigma

Precision

Definition of Precision:

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Prevision is a nuanced concept with a high potential for misunderstanding, often thought only as a singular process or a set of actions that can be performed to achieve success. While it’s true that there are specific actions and processes that should be taken to ensure preciseness, those processes alone do not ensure the level of preciseness needed for continuous improvement.

Overview: What is precision?

Preciseness is the result of processes built to reduce variation and achieve predictable results on demand. The goal is to achieve the same results as a process that used higher levels of variation, but with a smaller impact on the process. This type of preciseness is about more than a positive impact on the bottom line.

When products and processes are designed for maximum efficiency and minimum waste, there’s a positive impact on the bottom line and also on the quality of the final output.

3 benefits of LSS precision

Businesses across the globe have been implementing lean manufacturing techniques to increase their productivity, safety, and output. Increasing the level of preciseness is another necessity, with specific benefits of its own. Three of those benefits are listed below.

1. It involves close-to-zero tolerances to eliminate waste

As a result, the manufacturing process becomes faster and more efficient. From a company perspective, the cost of production decreases and the quality of the product increases.

2. It increases employee productivity

Studies show that a worker who is more productive and skilled is worth an average of $11,000 more per year than a less-skilled employee. When a company trains its employees accordingly, they see their employees becoming more productive as well as better at their jobs.

3. It leads to increased quality

This means the customer is getting something that is safer, more durable, will last longer, and is easier to use. All of these things ensure product recalls are avoided, and ultimately, the customer is happier as a result of getting a better product.

Why is precision important to understand?

The concept is an essential component in understanding the nature of work and how to develop a lean production system. It is important to understand because it helps managers create supportive environments that set their employees up for success with this endeavor. This includes building an efficient production process, which managers can only do when they have metrics to track quality and identify and remove waste.

It’s also important because it involves more than just measurements. It includes the basic principles of quality, such as inspecting parts at the earliest stages of production. This ensures that the product is built right the first time, with no errors or defects.

An industry example of precision

It doesn’t take groundbreaking innovations to use the tool to its fullest potential; companies that change their formulas or products very little need to be just as precise as those that do.

For example, preciseness ensures that Coca-Cola products are always the same, no matter where they’re produced. The amount of sugar and combination of ingredients that creates the distinctive flavor profile remain consistent in every can or bottle, from plant to plant, which helps achieve the desired taste and consistency from one Coca-Cola product to another.

There are no surprises with Coca-Cola, and considering over 10,000 Coca-Cola products are consumed every second of every day, that level of preciseness is staggering.

3 best practices when thinking about precision

When the concept is implemented successfully, there is a profound impact on an organization, improving the quality of products and services while also increasing efficiency and reducing costs. Following some established best practices is a straightforward way to start the implementation process.

1. Understand it takes — and be prepared to provide — constant communication, planning, and problem-solving

All three parts of this approach require constant analysis in order to improve processes consistently and achieve success.

2. Use root cause analysis

The concept begins with the idea that problems are not random, but have identifiable root causes. Root cause analysis is the first step in any problem-solving effort and can be applied to both operational and business issues. To perform a root cause analysis, start by listing all of the potential causes of the problem. Then, for each cause, ask why it is a cause — and then ask why again. This process will help you determine the true root cause of the problem.

3. Don’t confuse it with accuracy

The words are used interchangeably in everyday communication, but in the world of lean production and system analysis, they are very different.

  • Accuracy weighs the average of observed values against a standard value. For example, thrown darts (observed values) landing all around the bullseye (standard value) are the result of accuracy.
  • Preciseness weighs observed values against each other — there is no standard. For example, thrown darts landing in a cluster close to one another, regardless of bullseye proximity, are the result of preciseness.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about precision

Q: How are preciseness and measurement related?
A: The term is used to describe the ability of a measurement system to measure a quantity or characteristic with a specified degree of accuracy or repeatability.

Q: Is preciseness the same as reproducibility?
A: No. They occupy the same space conceptually, but they are different. Reproducibility describes preciseness — it is one of the measures of variability evaluated to define preciseness. In other words, preciseness is the ability to do the same thing over and over again, and reproducibility is the ability to do the same thing every time.

Q: What is a Gage R & R study (repeatability and reproducibility), and how is it related?
A: In Lean manufacturing, it is not enough to simply measure a process, or parts of a process. The measurements themselves are audited and measured as well, to ensure both accuracy and preciseness, and the measuring device in this specific application is a Gage R & R study. In the context of manufacturing, R & R is a key metric for determining how much of a manufacturing bottleneck a machine or process is.

What sets the best apart

Preciseness is the difference between a product that requires a lot of work to use and one that gets out of the way so you can get the job done. It’s about more than just using products; it’s about interacting with them. It is the fine line — and huge difference — between having a good experience with a good product and an excellent experience with an excellent brand. And ultimately, it is how the best separate themselves from the rest.

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