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Process Improvement

Graeme Knowles
Warwick Manufacturing Group

Process Improvement: The Need


No matter how good you are, how well regarded
your products and/or services are, you cannot
stop improving. You cannot stand still.
When you do, you really arent standing still, you
are slipping backward because your competition
is constantly improving.
The very best have to run to stay the very best,
because if you are not improving, there is only
one direction you can go, and thats down.
H. James Harrington, 1991

Get better or get beaten


1986

1956

BSA
Matchless
Norton
Triumph
Royal Enfield

Honda
Kawasaki
Suzuki
Yamaha

Improvement Grid

Process Improvement

What to Improve?
There are essentially 3 things which can be improved:

Quality of process output


Speed of performing the process
Cost of performing the process
Contrary to popular belief, these are not mutually exclusive

Process Improvement

How to Improve?

Improve Key Focus:


Variation
Quality
Increase Key Focus:
Waste
Speed
Reduce Outcome of
previous two
Cost
Process Improvement

The 7 Wastes
Correction
Time and materials to correct defect

Over-production
Producing more than required, or early. JIT.

Processing
Does not improve quality or advance production

Conveyance
Unnecessary moving about of parts / components

Inventory
Holding costs, hidden defects, obsolete stock

Motion
Excessive / unnecessary walking

Waiting
Idle between jobs

Process Improvement

Realisation of benefits
0.9
0.6

0.8

0.7

Present condition

0.4

Redistribution

0.4

0.85

0.85

0.85

0.85

Even distribution

Process Improvement

Process Improvement

Key #1: Process Focus

Good results happen through effective processes


Simply rewarding results leads to gaming
Sustainability comes from understanding how results
were achieved
Process Improvement

Key #2: Choose Your


Approach
Kaizen

Small-scale changes - evolutionary


Incremental change
Starting from where you are now
Involving everyone
Never ending

Step Change
Revolutionary
Blue skies thinking
Team based (often multi-functional)
Process Improvement

Step Change or Kaizen?


Step Change

Kaizen

Expensive
Large improvement
Takes time
Ability to start afresh
Technology / System focus
Project team

Profit focus
Specific
Often non-transferable
Good for fast growth economy
High Profile

Low cost
Small Improvement
Quick
Improve whats there
People focus
Everyone as individuals or
teams
Focus on means to ends
Ongoing
Transferable
Good for slow growth
economy
Low Profile
Process Improvement

Step Change and Kaizen


Performance
Target standard
Actual standard

Innovation
Step change without maintenance of standard

Performance

Time

New standard

Innovation
Imai (1990)

Step change with Kaizen

Time
Process Improvement

Expert-led or Involve Everyone?


Expert Led
Six Sigma
Business Process Reengineering
Quality Improvement Teams

Involve Everyone
Kaizen
Lean
Quality Circles

Process Improvement

Key#3: Change Process


Def i ne
Measur e

Process
Customer requirements
Opportunity
Likely benefits
Possible contributors
Current Performance
Sources of Variability

Anal yse

Key Variables
Relationships

Impr ove

Implemented solution
Predicted & tested results

Cont r ol

Key variables controlled


Plan for stability
Training plan
Standardise across shifts
Apply to other processes
Evaluate the improvement
process

Measure of benefits achieved


Record of the process

Process Improvement

Key #4: Environment


Explain why as well as how
Ensure people feel safe to challenge
and engage
Train, train, train
Empower people as much as
possible

Process Improvement

Empowerment
Your firms are built on the Taylor model; with your bosses doing the thinking
while the workers wield the screwdrivers, you are convinced deep down that
this is the right way to run a business. For you, the essence of management
is about getting the ideas out of the heads of the bosses and into the hands
of the labour.
We are beyond the Taylor model; business we know, is so complex and
difficult that continued existence depends on the day-to-day mobilisation of
every ounce of intelligence. For us, the core of management is precisely the
art of mobilising and pulling together the intellectual resources of all
employees in the service of the firm. M Konosuke Matsushita (1979)

Key #4: Environment


Explain why as well as how
Ensure people feel safe to challenge
and engage
Train, train, train
Empower people as much as
possible
Respond to the levels of commitment
Process Improvement

Commitment
Top down and bottom
up
If youre not part of
the solution youre
part of the problem
Commitment is active
not passive
Resources (especially
time) are the currency
of commitment

Process Improvement

Conclusions
Businesses need both step change
and Kaizen to win
Process improvement is not simply a
skill, it is a way of life requiring a
cultural change
Process improvement needs to be
managed to work to the full
Process improvement needs
commitment to work to the full