Lean Six Sigma

Business901 Podcast of 2014 0

Yesterday’s post, Top 10 Business901 Podcasts of 2014, was somewhat misleading. I only listed Adam Zak, one time, even though his interview was separated into 2 podcasts. The truth is that both podcast rated in the top 4 and one of them was clearly ahead of all others in viewership.

Related Podcast #1: Secrets on Learning about PeopleAdam-Zak

Related Podcast #2: Secrets on Learning about People, Part 2

You can download a PDF transcription or read the content on line at: Learning about People with Adam Zak

Adam Zak is the founder and CEO of Adam Zak Executive Search. He is an accomplished senior executive with more than 25 years of experience spanning the areas of management, consulting, financial and operations management and talent acquisition. He co-authored the book, Simple Excellence: Organizing and Aligning the Management Team in a Lean Transformationclip_image001 detailing the role of senior management in achieving a successful transformation to organizational excellence.

Using The Big Picture Map 0

A few other maps that can be used in Lean was explained by Steven Borris in his book Strategic Lean Mapping. It includes Big Picture Map, Process Mapping, Capacity Mapping, Value-Stream Mapping, and closing with how to use this information for better problem solving and decision making.

Related Podcast and Transcription: Lean Mapping

An excerpt from the podcast:

Joe:   I thought what was interesting about your book when I picked it up is that Value Stream Mapping is a powerful tool but people really think that is the only mapping tool in Lean and they have a tendency to, “Oh, we need to value stream map this…” like out of the blocks or something, but you wait pretty far in the book to introduce it.

Steven Borris:   Yes. I’d have to be honest; I use Value Stream Mapping less than most. What I find is that when you have got the other map itself laid out, you can use that map for anything at all. You can use it for risk analysis, you can use it for manpower, you can use it for looking at capacity problems and bottlenecks, and you can use it for process mapping. Even with what I call the Big Picture Map, once you’ve got the Big Picture Map, and you find all the issues, you can then just add the VSM part in the bottom. Because really the VSM part is just a little castle- wall part where it either adds value or it doesn’t. I usually find that people don’t know how much time they spend doing stuff or how much time they spent waiting, so it tends to be quite hard. You got to go in and get rough ideas to make some measurements. I think the Value Stream Map comes at the end of doing the mapping.

Joe: Can you talk about the flow of your book? You start out with what you call…I think a Big Picture Map.

Steven:   Yes. The Big Picture Map is the one that Agnes Pollock taught us. When I worked for SMAS, it was different when I worked for National Semiconductor. We used to do process maps and analyze what we were actually doing. But the Big Picture Map was trying to see how the whole company operates. I used to have to go into a company, and I’d have a day, originally it was a day, basically we had a day to try and analyze their issues. We were government based, so we had to save the company money. If you do a map, you don’t really save any money. The map tells you what you will save, but it doesn’t actually save anything. I was going into companies, and I was struggling to find all of the issues we had. We had to do more gamble work, more talking to directors and eventually what would happen is that if a company was good enough and it would accept to go for some project, we would try and start with the map.

We could do a Big Picture Map with all the senior managers in a day, possibly two, and that way you can call up all of the issues that we have because it looks at the customers, it looks at the suppliers, it looks at all of the admin, and then all of the production plus goods and shipping. It looks at every part of the company, but what it doesn’t do is look at people.

If you’ve got all of the managers in there, one guy is doing something, it was maybe a company and they all think that if we do this modification, they would be able to wake up the productivity. Usually that can happen but you have no idea that the next place down the line suddenly gets flooded with what they can’t handle. When you’re doing a Big Picture Map, somebody can say, “Well when you did that, we had these problems…” and suddenly it gets things into perspective.

Whenever I try and analyze a company, the best place to start is with a Big Picture Map. That way you can find all the key issues, you find the ones that you know about, but you can usually bring up a few that they don’t know about. Some of the things they’ve discovered have been quite amazing, and these are only the superficial problems. The sort of bigger problems that people have an idea are there, but a lot of them they don’t even think exist as problems.

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Can Lean Help you Co-Exist with Regulatory Bodies? 0

I asked Jerry Rosenthal this question in last week’s podcast: A few years ago, Lean sort of butted heads with ISO and it was like we kept 2 separate books. Is that what happens with food safety and the USDA and FDA protocols or are you explaining that there is common ground because they have given us that flexibility to operate Lean and meet the requirements?

The answer is an excerpt from this Related Podcast and Transcription: Using Lean in Food Processing

Jerry Rosenthal: I’ve seen over time on a company by company basis that compromise if you will the collaboration that these things can work hand in hand without being too much of a burden to a company. The example I like to talk about is, in any manufacturing site you go to, almost anyone, you certainly see there’s a certain level of conflict between production and quality. Right, production says, “We need to make a thousand cases of X today” and quality sometimes has the perception of “what, I’m the police force here. I’m going to look on that production line and I’m going to see, anytime I see something that’s a defect, I’m going to stop the production line and we’re going to get it fixed because we want to make it right. In more mature organizations, they find ways to be collaborative. How can production quality work together to ensure they get that thousand cases out every day, that is the finest product possible that the consumer is going to pay for that’s of value because it’s a good price and the company can be profitable.

I see the same thing co-existing here, with me with the different regulatory bodies. I think they go hand in hand. I think again if you go to ISO and the different standards that are out there, again, they set out the guidelines of what you should do, you should have a recall program in place. They don’t tell you how to do it. They certainly set out the elements of a recall program, but it’s up to a company to put a process together, that should there be an unfortunate event such as a recall, great, what are we going to do? How are we going to stop production? Who do we notify? Where do we pull our batch records or our documentation for, when was this lot made, what were the raw materials that came in, who are the employees that worked that day, where are the sanitation records located? How can we gather the documentation in the most efficient cost-effective way possible to address the needs of the agency? I think as time goes on, there’s a tremendous amount of balance out there. Is it perfect? No, but it’s trending in my opinion in the right direction and, certainly, I can see over the last 10 or 15 years tremendous strides moving in the right direction.

Joe: In manufacturing, I’ve seen where continuous improvement, especially with TPS, has just become the way we do the work, and that’s how it’s driven. In the food industry, I still see in food safety a process that is event-driven, “Oh, I have an audit.” Maybe we’re not there yet, but are we moving towards where it’s just part of the way we do business.

Jerry: That’s a big philosophy shift for a lot of companies. I mean, I’ve certainly touched base, either consulting or had an engagement with companies. They’re certainly in that reactive mode. They’ve called me up, and they’ve said, “We’ve got an audit coming up. We know AIB is coming in a month. Can you help us get ready?” It’s a scramble until 5 minutes they walk in the door. Certainly, a mindset of always being prepared, always doing the right thing is much less stressful, that should anybody an agency walk-in; everything is in place, it’s no, it’s minimal stress. There’s certainly some stress. Nobody wants the agency to just walk in his or her door. I mean they certainly think, “What happened? Something’s wrong.”

If you can get management and leadership to a point of being always ready, it’s certainly more advantageous and I do see a trend of more and more companies being less reactive, being more proactive, always having their documentation ready, and doing the right things all the time. If our procedure says we’re going to do internal audits on our incoming fruit, process, whatever that might be, if our SOP says we’re going to do it every month, great, let’s do it every month and let’s document it and not worry about it. Again, the agency doesn’t say “You will do it every month.” It would be a self-determined process. You can say you’re going to do it every week. You can say you’re going to do it every month. You can say you can do it, at quarterly but whatever you set out. Do what you said you were going to do. When the agency comes in, that’s what they’re going to look at. If your procedure says we’re going to do it weekly, but then, your documentation shows you’ve had weeks and weeks of weeks of not doing anything. Make the change ahead of time. Don’t set yourself out for failure. This is the trend a lot more companies are going towards.

Another trend that we see is, you’re hearing the news more and more the USDA, the FDA, they just simply don’t have enough auditors to do all the work that’s out there and there’s more agencies that are going along the lines of what’s called risk-based auditing. If they get phone calls, if they get complaints, if they get letters that, “Hey, I had this product, and it just wasn’t right. I could smell bleach. It didn’t taste right. The company didn’t respond to my request.” The FDA, they’re trying to, the USDA, they’re trying to get to the point of risk-based auditing. They’re going to look and see where are the complaints, what’s the information they’re hearing, “I better go visit that peanut plant in Georgia because there’s been a lot of complaints about product coming out of that environment.”

If there are companies that are quite compliant, they’re doing what they need to do. They’re staying on top of their documentation. There are no customer issues; they’re reducing their frequency; they’re going to reduced inspection if you will, of those facilities. Those facilities that are having challenges, having issues, they’re going to spend more time and more attention on those areas, to protect food supply in the United States. It really has been a long time coming. But, I’ve seen within the last year or 18 months that gaining a little more steam and heading in that direction, and I think that’s really good for all of us.

Jerry Rosenthal started on his process improvement journey where he entered the world of medical device and worked with such companies like Cardinal Health. Jerry’s expertise is primarily in regulated environments such as food, beverage and pharmaceutical production and packaging. He also has experience in plastics, printing, logistics and IT in both local and enterprise-wide organizations. Jerry has been successful at taking principles and tools from manufacturing and applying them to a commercial business practice, and he does that at Lean Six Sigma Expert.

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Lean Mapping Consists of More Than 1 Tool 0

I found Steven Borris use of Lean Mapping quite different in his book Strategic Lean Mapping. One that included Big Picture Steven BorrisMap, Process Mapping, Capacity Mapping, Value-Stream Mapping, and closing with how to use this information for better problem solving and decision making. The tools within the maps are quite common for a Lean Practitioner. Listen and enjoy the Scottish Accent.

Steve is a manufacturing advisor and continuous improvement expert and does this at Productivity Jigsaw.

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Can You Spend 50% of Your Time Thinking about a Problem? 0

I asked Mike Osterling, “Does it really happening where people are spending 50 percent of their time on defining a problem?”  Mike has worked full time for over 15 years applying the Lean concepts in manufacturing and office environments. He can be found at Osterling Consulting.

Related Podcast and Transcription: Lean and A3 Thinking

An excerpt from the podcast:

Mike Osterling:  I think people in organizations need to be convinced that it’s a good investment of time. Let me tell you a recent experience. We weren’t formally using the A3 form, but we were walking through these guys, these groups through A3 thinking. There was a team that we were taking through a development program was looking…They had a project that they voted to be on, this project team, and they opted in on it. The project team was looking at what this company called Asset Recovery.

So, when an employee leaves the organization, the problem that was perceived upfront was that they weren’t always getting laptops back or employee ID badges or cell phones or pagers or whatever these different assets might be. One of the senior managers was saying we need to improve that process, we’re losing stuff. As part of the program we were taking them through this thinking process of, let’s define the problem first.

When the team went in and started talking to the different parties engaged in mapping the process and collecting data, a very interesting thing that happened was everybody who was engaged in the process, and all of the data that was out there showed that they were at a 99 percent or better rate of asset recovery. It was a very, very rare occurrence when something wasn’t recovered, and the exposure was not significant from an information or nondisclosure…proprietary information, disclosure loss or something like that. And the dollar loss was very insignificant.

Historically?in fact, where this team was going initially, they were going to come up with a completely new process. After they did the current process math, they were ready to come up with a new process definition and have different checkpoints and things like that. Once they started getting the data and really talking to the people, they found out that there’s no problem! This was a really, really good experience, because before we would not have challenged anybody on what the problem was and they would have gone right to the solution.

So as part of the project report out 15 weeks after we started or 13 weeks after we started, these guys said, well, we learned a really good thing. There is no problem. On one level, it seems like it was a waste of time. But, these guys said the value of going out there and talking to the people that do the job and walking the process numerous times, numerous times, this isn’t go to Gemba and walk it once, this is go to Gemba and walk it 15 or 20 times, really understand what’s going on-was invaluable.

They said, “Whenever we’re going after a problem again, we’ve got to talk to the people. We’ve got to walk the process numerous times.” So those guys get it. They get that problem definition, root cause analysis, and measure the current state. They get that.

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Middle Managers: A Key in Any Transformation 0

Paul Yandell is President of  Value Stream Focus and has successful and varied manufacturing and operations experience in companies ranging from startups to multinationals. He led a Lean Transformation driven by middle management and I ask him the following question:

Related Podcast and Transcription: Speak to Middle Managers

Joe:  I think that’s what’s so important because I  always hear this top-down driven type culture and these mandates that we’re going to be a Lean company and it’s got to be the vision from leadership and it’s got to be this saying we’re going to become Lean and everything and I flat out don’t think that works. In certain circumstances, it might work, but…

Paul:  Of course, it does work but let’s agree that the middle management makes it work. So if the top management says, “This is how we’re going,” and he’s able to get the alignment within his company top to bottom. Then he’s got it. The real problem is alignment. If you say, you’re going to change, but you don’t change your structure…I mean, Lean is all about turning the triangle upside down. If you look at a triangle, a normal triangle with the apex at the top, this is in a people-centered organization, the classic organization where the boss tells everybody else what to do. If you are continuously, that’s how all your information flows, then what happens is it’s hard to drive change through that organization. You’re going to tell people what to do, but they may or may not buy into it. They’re kind of waiting for you to go away or for the wind to change.

Now, if you can through continuous improvement, through Lean techniques, if you can switch that, flop that triangle around so the apex is at the bottom, now what happens…you have a flat part of the triangle at the top, if you will. Now you have a situation where the supervisor in saying, “OK, I need you to make green ones, 200 of them, and then I need you to make a bunch of red ones, 200 of them.” Instead, now the conversation is, the supervisor is at the bottom of the triangle, and the center of the work is now the operator. Now the conversation is, “OK, operator, how can I help you do your work better? How can I help you improve your operations? How can I help you do a better job?”

Suddenly, the conversation has changed, and it will never go back because the operator goes, “Oh, well you know, my back hurts every day. If you could raise this desk another two inches, this table, or if you could improve my chair, they’d give me a back to my chair, I’d be a lot better.”

Now the operator makes 15 percent more work and then their back doesn’t hurt and now, all their friends, they want you to pay attention to them too. Because, “You helped Mary, why don’t you come over and look at me? I need a better light over here. And you think I could get a new knife? This one has a bad blade, and it takes me forever to cut this item.”

You’d find out all this stuff that you never knew. If you just walk through the area and look at it, everyone looks busy, everyone looks like they know what they’re doing, and no one tells you what they need, because no one ever listened before, why should they listen now? You don’t want to be a complainer. That’s middle management right there.

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Looking at Throughput thru Capacity Mapping 0

When you think of mapping in Lean, your first thoughts are steered towards the tool of Value Stream Mapping. When I picked up the book, Strategic Lean Mapping, I had similar thoughts, another book on Value Stream Mapping.  As I thumbed through the pages I found a very different approach. One that included Big Picture Map, Process Mapping, Capacity Mapping, Value-Stream Mapping, and closing with how to use this information for better problem solving and decision making.  I found Steven Borris use of mapping quite different. However, the tools within the maps were quite common for a Lean Practitioner.   Lean Strategic Mapping

Steve has worked with SMAS, a Scottish government agency tasked with improving the efficiencies of companies. He is a manufacturing advisor and continuous improvement expert and does this at Productivity Jigsaw. This is an excerpt from our podcast next week.

Joe Dager: We look at the individual processes and then I think you jumped into a Capacity Map which I really haven’t heard of before I read your book.

Steven Borris: Now the capacity map is my own. I was doing some work in a recycling plant, I had a colleague with me, we had a team of people that we were trying to train and what we did was we finally got the guys to do the process and there were 10 steps in the process. We put the process up on the wall, and we couldn’t see anything wrong with it. It was really weird. We knew the system wasn’t working efficiently, but we had no idea why. And basically what was happening was trucks were coming in with the materials. I can’t tell you what material is it, in case you can work out what the company was, but the materials were coming in and they were being loaded into a kind of pit and then the pit would take them to a conveyor belt and into a baler and they were only getting maybe eight bales, sometimes instead of maybe 30 that they could make.

When I was looking at this, they had four different ways that the materials came in and when I was staring at the wall map, I saw something and this is really stupid it may sound but I used to do electronics when I was younger, I used to work as an engineer and I saw what we call an operational amplifier circuit and I actually saw it in my mind. I know perhaps, I used to call them 741’s because you feed a signal like from an amplifier, and you get an output; it’s that simple. It’s just a single chip amplifier. But basically what that does is there’s a maximum gain you can get out of it and that maximum gain would be the maximum throughput of the baler. Then I working out what was causing the inputs to disappear and suddenly I saw a capacity problem. Basically, what was happening was if you got in an 18-wheeler truck, you could get the machine running non-stop and get 20 to 30 bales an hour. But then suddenly these little white Ford transits would come in from a local shop or something and they would start to unload their stuff and you can only do four vans in an hour, so suddenly you were down to maybe six or eight bales an hour and everything would just halt.

Suddenly the capacity became an issue, and that’s when I started to look at this idea of the capacity map. It’s also like to the theory of constraints. Once I had a map, I started to use it for other companies. Basically there was a company that made doors and when we laid out the entire process, exactly just using the process map, it suddenly dawned to me that what I could do is I could look at every machine, find out what it should be able to make and what they were making. If you take the ratio of what they do make to what they should make, that should get the OEE of the machine, so that was the capacity. You could literally look at the flow of the product going through it and see when it was easy to feed out when there was going to be a bottleneck. That will tell you from the beginning you need two machines instead of one in parallel. It just worked beautifully and all I had to do was when I had the process map steps laid out with the yellow post-its, I just had to write what they were doing and what they should be doing in another post-it and stack it above. It was that simple, and suddenly the whole horizon opened up. We were able to make some huge gains in productivity and it was probably as easy as the original goal when Eliyahu Goldratt wrote it and basically it was probably analogous to the scout troop walking through the line and getting the slowest guy to walk first. It’s that kind of simple if you just look at it.

From that map, I also did a bar chart and again it’s so easy because it’s just a histogram and the smaller the height of the bar chart…Imagine like limbo dancers, the harder it is to get the stuff through it. So if you’ve got a big bar chart leading into your little one, you can’t get the machine to cope with it so you got to start controlling the flow so that you’re making sure that you’re not overlooking the bottlenecks. So that was one, as I said that I just made up by myself.

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