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Black Belt Project – Time Savings?

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  • #55053

    David Stevens
    Participant

    Hi everyone,

    I’ve undertaken the theory at black belt level, and have to deliver a project for accreditation purposes.

    I work in the retail sector and have decided to look at a retail process that to a large extent takes too long to complete, essentially it’s a convoluted process, to a lesser extent I believe that the non compliance is higher than it should be due to the nature of the process.

    When writing a problem statement I want to focus this project as a time saving project rather than a reduction in non-compliance project as I believe the real big win here would be a reduction in process steps and time.

    My question is can a six sigma project be focussed on time saving rather than a defect level? OK a defect is present and will be addressed but I don’t think it’s the big win here.
    Can a problem statement say “To reduce time from x to x…” or should it be “To reduce non-compliance from x to x…”

    Hope I’ve made myself clear, and appreciate any help.

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    #198410

    JB
    Participant

    @Davidstevens

    Absolutely a problem statement can be specifically tied to reducing the time taken to complete an operation or service. The “defect” is every occurrence of the operation or activity that exceeds the time limit required by the customer.

    Many six sigma projects are focused on reducing the time to complete an operation, or produce a product.

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    #198411

    JB
    Participant

    Here is an example of a time focused project from this site. I’m sure if you google “six sigma cycle time projects” you will find many other examples as well.

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    #198412

    David Stevens
    Participant

    Thanks @JRBGuy currently the main operation takes place (within the time limit required by the customer) then a ‘back checking’ operation takes place the following day which is after the time limit and might uncover some defects which would have been present.

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    #198413

    Shelby Jarvis
    Participant

    @Davidstevens

    What has your mentor said about these questions? If your process is meeting the time requirements of the customer, what benefit are you seeking? Capacity? Ability to reduce headcount?

    I would also ask for more information on the “back checking” process. When does this occur (within the process or after the process)? Who performs this function? Does the customer pay for this? What is the output?

    The purpose for asking these questions is to help you think through what problem you are trying to solve. If you are already meeting your customers requirements for service level, what will you gain?

    Although I can’t put my finger on it, it feels like your earlier post suggest you have problem(s). It will help you form your team and make progress if you take time to clearly define your problem. Again, don’t be afraid to speak with your mentor. He/She will be happy to help you.

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    #198414

    David Stevens
    Participant

    Hi @ShelbyJarvis

    Thanks for your response, I’ve got a meeting with my mentor in the next few weeks, just trying to figure some bits out myself before hand if I can!

    The process itself meets customer requirements, however a back check is completed after the process (the next day), this check is ensuring that the previous process has been carried out correctly and it forms a legal check (needs to be checked and recorded as a legal document)

    My question is I believe that a back check shouldn’t be carried out the following day as this is after the time requirements from the customer.

    I will raise these points with my mentor when I see him so thanks for your advice so far.

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    #198417

    Amit Kumar Ojha
    Participant

    Hi David,

    Just a few important points to keep in mind at the onset:

    1. First and foremost do finalize on the scope of the process. A tool (you might be well aware of) – COPIS would help you in finalizing the high level process map along with the process boundaries. It would help you in your discussion with the mentor.

    2. When you are writing Business Case or Problem Statement, please do not focus on one aspect such as cycle time or defect. You need to identify the pain area and not what is causing the pain / delay etc in the process. A pain area could be something like this:

    The current process requires manual rechecking at the end which taken almost 2 Hrs of storekeeper’s efforts per day impacting the productivity.

    (Problem statement must have What, Who, When and By How Much)

    Hope it helps..

    All the best !!!!

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    #198426

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    @Davidstevens Lets get one thing abundantly clear. DMAIC is problem solving methodology. Nothing more and nothing less. It does not have to be focused on a “defect.” That is in general this nonsense that people write who think they need to differentiate between SS and Lean. Don’t allow them to drag you into that predetermined predefined world of no thought.

    If I want to move a process that is baseline at X to a new process time of Y then that is the project. The change is define in terms of time doesn’t change a thing. If you have to get into some exchange with a MBB who wants it defined as a defect then spending time you don’t have to spend is a waste. I would push back on allowing anyone to shove you into that corner.

    Just my opinion.

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    #198434

    David Stevens
    Participant

    @AmitOjha Thanks for your help!

    @Mike-Carnell Some great advice there Mike, food for thought!

    Thanks again all, I’ll keep you posted on my progress!

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    #198436

    Norbert Feher
    Participant

    Hello,

    One more thought:
    It could be a classic Lean Six Sigma project because time saving can be realized because of improvement in the flow (process, information, etc.)

    I would use defect rate as a secondary metrics in order to make sure that speeding up a process would not yield bad results.

    I agree with the other comments. Saving should occur in two ways: You reduce headcount therefore labor cost per transaction would be lower or increase capacity if business is growing. These are the only two ways to realize hard savings. Otherwise I would not go for soft saving especially with a BB project.

    With best regards,

    Norbert

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    #198449

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    @Nfeher Reducing time is not a given in terms of reduced headcound.

    You need to be careful with the term “only.” Let’s take a capacity constrained process when there is a shortage in world wide supply i.e. platinum. World wide shortage. Remove a constraint and the mine output increases. Every extra ounce produced was counted (and should be counted as a Hard Benefit. When the term savings is used you back yourself into a corner. You track benefits not cost savings.

    When a Leadership Team (an enlightened team) chooses to use something like an increase in EBIT as opposed to “savings” you open up both revenue increases and cost reductions as possible projects. When you have products that are high value such as platinum it is a lot easier to increase output at $2200/oz (price at the time) than to reduce cost.

    There are a large number of factors that are involved in selecting a strategy to a deployment. It begins with what the Leadership Team wants to accomplish before you even begin to hand down absolutisms.

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    #198455

    Norbert Feher
    Participant

    Thank You Mike!

    I agree with You.

    Regards,

    Norbert

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