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Identifying Opportunities

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  • #48158

    Samantak
    Member

    Having introduced process control and QMS some time ago, we are now in the initial stages of introducing DMAIC style process improvement projects in our services environment. Is there a structured way of identifying “Low Hanging Fruits” ? Will be glad if someone can share a methodology or templates etc.

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    #161314

    mand
    Member

    There is no template as such to identify the “Low hanging fruits”, but yes definitely you can use Pareto tool along with CI matrix; to priortize and select an area to apply DMAIC
    Regards,
    Sam

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    #161315

    Ron
    Member

    Your companies projects should be closlely linkedto your companies annual goals and objectives. I suggest using a modified Hoshin Kanri approach to trickle down projects from high level corporate goals to individual projects.
    The strucutre in your organization should include a series of what I like to call Productivity councils starting at the executvie levels and filtering down to individual sites or departments.
     

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    #161316

    Gopal Ranjan
    Participant

    Hi Samantak,
    You can get all your Managers together in a room and have a brain-writing session to identify chronic problem areas. These can then be affinitized into similar categories. To make this more effective you can also use a pre-written business case template with blanks to identify problem areas. The problem areas or projects thus emerging can then be prioritized using Pareto priority Index which is basically given by PPI= Saving*Probability of Success / Cost * Time taken to complete the project.
    Regards,
     
    Gopal Ranjan
     

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    #161319

    Samantak
    Member

    Thanks for ur answers on project prioritization and link up with strategic goals. My question was more in terms of identifying and classifying “low hanging fruits”.

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    #161329

    Brandon
    Participant

    I agree with Gopal. The best way to find the pain is to ask those who are tasked with process management.
    Got to eBooks on this site or opensourcesixsigma.com and look at the Project Selection Process. It’s a structured approach to brainstorming for projects then quantifying them then prioritizing them.

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    #161340

    BritW
    Participant

    Walk the Floor!  Go ask the people who are workin gto tell you what’s wrong.  The low hanging fruit is there – not in management. If management new the low hanging fruit, they would have picked it.  Ask the workers!

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    #161343

    Samantak
    Member

    By your definition….low hanging fruits are those pains that management is unaware of or those that it doesn’t care about. Is that the correct definition?

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    #161344

    Brandon
    Participant

    Don’t get sidetracked to the “management is stupid/workers know everything” garbage.
    Low hanging fruit is simply that which is easy to pick. Applying y=f(x) thinking, isolating the critical X’s and gathering some data leads to an improvement in the process.
    As the fruit gets more difficult to pick, more sophisticated techniques are necessary to identify a solution. It’s about continuous improvement – moving from a sigma value of 2..3..4…5+.
    The fruit picking analogy is simply speaking to the complexity of the issue.

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    #161357

    Samantak
    Member

    Yes, but how do you know at the outset whether the problem you have picked will require sophisticated tools or is one that is simpler to solve? Do you realize midway through your project?

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    #161361

    Brandon
    Participant

    Good question, samantak. It will become a matter of feel after some level of experience. Until then idebtify areas of pain and try to find those where your firm is already collecting viable data. Having existing data is a great start for low hanging fruit. Additionally, look for rather simple processes – few steps.  Look for processes with numerous defects – many may be identified and eliminated quickly.
    No real magic.

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    #161364

    annon
    Participant

    S,
    Your opportunity analysis can focus on internal performance measures derived from basic process management efforts (ie OEE approach) or the external measures which greatly influence customer loyalty and their intent to rebuy (ie On-time delivery, fitness for use, etc). 
    If your sphere of influence is limited to the process level, one approach would be to arrange your on-the-floor assets into product families (see VSM), identify the consumers (current and desired)  of each product family, determine their collective NPV, prioritize the lines accordingly, define and map the critical value-adding and support processes, and follow an OEE approach (ie cycle time, defect rate, machine uptime) for prioritizing  process level improvements. 
     If the organzation could initiate the creation and deployment of actionable VOC instruments (led by your marketing team), the organization would then have the option of moving toward a customer-driven, rather than cost-driven,  project selection focus.
    Good luck

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    #161719

    John W
    Participant

    Pencil & paper. Draw a square. Divide it into quarters, using a plus sign. On the left side, lower half write “big savings,” on the upper half write “little savings.” On the top side, left half, write “hard to do,” on the right half write “easy to do.” You’re “low hanging fruit” will be “hanging” in the lower right corner.

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    #161727

    Houston Lean Six Sigma
    Participant

    My company is organized globally by business and functional units.  They use a modified Hoshin Kanri approach to Opportunity Identification.  All opportunities are screened using a prioritization matrix which is heavily weighted to strategic alignment with the business/function strategy and goals.  We typically chose one of four methods to generate these opportunities: Value Stream Mapping, Creativity tools, Data mining, or data modeling.  The one to choose depends on the type of business goal.  In addition, each employee can input ideas/opportunities into our company-wide database for consideration/evaluation versus the business/function selection criteria.  When this approach is used, we capture all levels of opportunity and act on those that have highest impact on the business/function goals.

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    #161729

    O’Connell
    Participant

    As I was reading through the post I was wondering when some one would mention the Customer and a VOC.  I feel that some of the easiest ways to identify low hanging fruit is to make sure you’re giving the customer what they want. I see too many process get off track because of the folks performing the work assuming what the client wants.
    We absolutely have to ask the people performing the process what works and where the frustrations are but we must make sure this supports the ultimate goal of delivering the right product to the customer.
    In addition to the VOC, I would take a look at building a SIPOC chart as well. What do we need to supply to get the result the customer (and we) want?
    Good Luck.

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