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Keeping the Improved Process in Control

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  • #32537

    Vitto
    Member

    I am pretty new to the field and would like to ask opinion of the more experienced: how do you make sure that the improved process that you are leaving behind after the project is done is actually kept in control? Do you revisit any of the processes for revision, and if so how often?
    The reason behind my somewhat trivial question is that I am observing quite a disturbing consistency for some of the improved processes of “spiking up” and getting back to being out of control after few months of the project completion (at least in my organization). The common speculation is the fact the after the BB leaves the ownership portion is lost.
    How common is this phenomena and how do your organizations battle it?
    Thanks much.
    Vitto
     

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    #87009

    Heebeegeebee BB
    Participant

    Control Plans and establishment/review of Metrics.
    heebee

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    #87023

    Eileen
    Participant

    Vitto,
    Your concern is very common and a troublesome area of project work. I don’t believe it is as much an issue of using certain tools or methodology (control charts with control plans/QOS) as it is with organizational ownership. I agree with your concern.
    With any improved process, it is critical to have ownership by the management – executive level to local level. If they do not see it as critical or important, most processes will slip back to where they were unless extreme measures are taken to prevent this from occuring. Perhaps the question you should be asking is how to get the local management to take ownership.
    Generally, if the project is selected as critical to the business, most management will at least see this as important in the beginning. The more you can share with the management group as the project is progressing, the better. If they feel part of the solution and have some understanding of the processes issues, they are more likely to take ownership once the projected is done.
    Easy to say, not so easy to guarantee.
    Eileen, Quality Disciplines
     
     

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    #87026

    faceman888
    Participant

    Vitto,
    Good question.  I agree with SPCrecomendation in the previous post.  Look for opportunities to apply it higher in the hierarchy of control (i.e. try to apply SPC to the x’s that control your y – this is more preventative then just controlling the ouput, the y, with SPC).  Try to push higher up the hierarchy towards poka-yoke if you can.
    Establish a system of metrics (as mentioned in previous post), once again the more you control inputs the better.
    Create a detailed control plan of all controls that you need maintained in order to protect the gains made in your project.  If necessary document proceures in more detailed job instructions / standards as appropriate (visual standards are often more effective).  Have a transition meeting with process owners and the sponsor (preferably somebody with substantial organizational authority and who REALLY wants the fix permanently implemented).  Make sure that everybody understands what needs done and that it is realistic and doable. 
    Finally, if it is a manufacturing process and you found various x’s, you might consider periodic (monthly maybe) EVOP events in order to detect for and correct for noise and nuisance factors that might be beyond your ability to control (stuff from way earlier in the value chain, weather, etc.). 

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    #87388

    Capoiera
    Participant

    I agree with both of the postings, you cant drop any of these things you need them all a good clear control plan, understandable metrics and management buy in.
    What I would like to add though are some points of view not mentioned here,
    1) There is no better feeling than running your control charts monthly and seeing the improvements..its really a good feeling.
    2) I have used loads of different approaches on getting things done, forcing people to control stuff works but after the control phase it all falls to pieces…make it robust and control should be EASY!!! dont make it complex IT WILL NEVER STICK! its tough enough getting the people to fill in an excel sheet every month nevermind anything more complex.
    3) Ownership of the process, fine on paper its him or her responsible for it, but at the end of the day…1 important piece of advice for the BB. LET IT GO! I have run control phases all myself  with the drive of getting the thing done…in my experience you need to build a self reliant system, develop something that you management likes to see every month, you asking your sponsor/team or your management asking your sponsor/team for metrics is a world of difference. Dont hold on to it because your sponsor wont pick it up, you will never get the project properly closed!!!
     eg: I have two projects in the same area, I have all of the metrics in one place one chart, everyone understands them, sees the direct link to our business performance, and enjoys seeing them develop in the correct direction, this results in a self propelled metric :-)
    It sounds like a minefield but honsetly there is nothing better than seeing it work properly!!!
    P.s. dont be afraid to cut fat on your metrics, somethings you think need to be seen by all are really non value added, these are generally the things that stop getting done first!!
    Good Luck,
     
     

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    #87397

    HC
    Participant

    By mistake proofing, CAGs and source inspection.

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    #87404

    T. Uphoff
    Member

    A few ways:
    1. Build in controls at critical points within the process to ensure continued compliance (be sure that the time spent tracking does not exceed the benefits gained)
    2. Audit process on routine basis to monitor both performance and compliance, making adjustments as appropriate

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    #87408

    Tierradentro
    Participant

    As a software provider, we hear this concern quite often. How do you maintain control of your implemented business process?To better answer this question, I would like to ask one… “Have you web enabled your business process to be able to gather the metrics of the improved process?”If the answer is no, then you may want to consider a BPM tool.Good luck and I hope that this is [email protected]

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    #87410

    Wicho
    Member

    Sorry for my ignorance……!.  What does CAG mean?
    Thanks and best regards.

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    #87413

    Wicho
    Member

    Sorry for my ignorance….! What does BPM mean? ….. Business Process Metrics?
    Thanks and best regards

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    #87415

    Tierradentro
    Participant

    Business Process Management

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    #87417

    requisitous
    Participant

    I´d assume that “keeping the improved process in control” implicitely includes “IN OPERATION, under control”
    Thanx…

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    #87420

    Nicholaus
    Participant

    Hi friends !     Seems as if all that´s been said above applied not only to improved processes, but to any kind of new or already ongoing processes or programs.  Just an opinion.     Nicholaus

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    #87425

    Helper
    Participant

    Hello Vitto,
    You ask a very good question and I hope some of the responses you have recieved have been benficial.  Please allow me to add my 2 cents.
    1.  The important thing to recognize is that your new and improved process is nothing more than a series of new requirements that must be satisfied to keep special causes out and stay productive.  Having said that, management accountablity is essential to ensure that those requirements are continually met.  The best way to do that is to make the process requiremnets/inputs part of the line supervisor/managers accountablilty.  If those requirements are not met, the supervisor does note get his/her bonus or incentive.  Simple.
    2.  Monitor your process continually with 2 tools:  a) Control Charts and b) process capability histograms.
    These two elements are essential if you expect your process to remain in control.
     
    Hope this helps……………..Helper

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    #87428

    AJ
    Participant

    The issue you bring up highlights the absolute necessity of correctly identifying the true process owners, and including them on your team. This does not necessarily mean the direct supervisor. Often, you will discover that the unofficial team leader (the one everyone on the line looks to for advice) is your real potential ally. The supervisor often will not buy in until LONG after the process improvement is self-evident.
    Your process owner, having been part of the team generating the solution, will become your real time champion on the shop floor for the improved process. Others on the line will follow that person to hell and back, simply because that’s the way it has always been.
    In our organization, the BB tracks the process performance monthly for a year, just to keep tabs on the project to make sure the controls implemented have stuck…taking necessary steps to improve the control system if there is a breakdown.
    In less than a year, your “new and improved” process has become SOP, and people will be very reluctant to turn back to what they were defending with a passion only 12 months prior.

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    #87430

    HC
    Participant

    I apologize for the lack of clarification – CAGs are Corrective Action Guidelines that can be used in the event of “defects” and problems. Tehy ensure (if followed) that business impact is low and improvemnets can be locked in.

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    #87439

    Guest
    Participant

    Are you using your CTQ’s as your metrics or are you implying more of a business metrics?

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    #87465

    Wicho
    Member

    H.C. :    I kindly appreciate your explanation, very clear and substancious !      But please pardon me again……   What about  “mistake proofing”   and  “source inspection”?   That is, how do you involve them or put’em to work, for what we ‘re looking after :  “control of a newly improved process”  ?
    Thanks!

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    #87472

    HC
    Participant

    Hello.
    Let’s put it this way, if “defects”, “failures” and/or “wastes” that you have eliminated don’t happen again, then your new process will stay strong and you would be able to maintain your new state.
    Now with regards to inspection, in my experience, you can never mistake proof EVERYTHING – you try but you can’t so what you do is implement methods that will allow you to visually see deviations from your new process or “defects” ASAP minimzing the impact on your business.
    I hope that clarifies the role they would both play in your goals to control your gains ….

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    #87477

    Wicho
    Member

    Thanks again, over.

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