CONTINUOUS PROCESS IMPROVEMENT|
Process, The Juran Trilogy, Improvement Strategies The PDSA (Plan-Do-Study-Act), Problem solving method, Kaizen and Six-Sigma| |
JOHN KIRUGUMI :B211/003/0003/2012|
Processes: Quality is a never ending quest and Continuous Process Improvement (CPI) is a never ending effort to discover and eliminate the main causes of problems. It accomplishes this by using small-steps improvements, rather than implementing one huge improvement. The Japanese have a term for this called kaizen which involves everyone, from the hourly workers to top-management. CPI means making things better. It is NOT fighting fires. Its goal is NOT to blame people for problems or failures . . . it is simply a way of looking at how we can do our work better. When we take a problem solving approach, we often never get to the root causes because our main goal is to put out the fire. Process improvement is important as Rummler & Brache's research (1995) showed that process account for about 80% of all problems while people account for the remaining 20%. HISTORY OF CONTINOUS IMPROVEMENT PROCESS
Following the defeat of Japan in World War II, America wanted to encourage the nation to rebuild. As with the Marshall Plan in Europe, General MacArthur asked a number of leading experts from the U.S. to visit Japan and advise them on how to proceed with the rebuilding process. As history would have it, one of these experts was Dr. W. Edwards Deming. Deming was a statistician with experience in census work, so he came to Japan to set up a census. While in Japan, he noticed some of the difficulties being experienced by some of the newly emerging industries. Many Japanese manufacturers were faced with huge difficulties stemming from a lack of investment funds, raw materials, and components, and from the low morale of the nation and the workforce. Based on his recent experience in reducing waste in U.S. war manufacture, he began to offer his advice. By the mid-1950s, he was a regular visitor to Japan. He taught Japanese businesses to concentrate their attention on processes rather than results; concentrate the efforts of everyone in the organization on continually improving imperfection at every stage of the process. By the 1970s many Japanese organizations had embraced Deming's advice and were very quickly enjoying the benefits of their actions. Most notable is the Toyota Production System, which spawned several business improvement practices utilized heavily in Japan, including JIT and Total Quality Management (TQM). Despite the fact that much of the foundation of continuous management and other Japanese concepts originated in the U.S., Western firms showed little interest until the late 1970s and early 1980s. By then the success of Japanese companies caused other firms to begin to reexamine their own approaches. Hence, kaizen or continuous management began to emerge in the U.S. concurrent along with the increasing popularity and use of Japanese techniques such as JIT and TQM. In fact, continuous improvement is a major principle of and a goal of JIT, while it is one of the two elements of TQM (the other is customer satisfaction). In some organizations, quality circles have evolved into continuous improvement teams with considerably more authority and empowerment than is typically given to quality circles. In fact, management consultants in the West have tended to use the term kaizen to embrace a wide range of management practices primarily regarded as Japanese and responsible for making Japanese companies strong in the areas of continual improvement rather than innovation. WAYS OF IMPROVING A PROCESS
But when we engage in process improvement, we seek to learn what causes things to happen and then use this knowledge to: Reduce variation, remove activities that have no value to the organization, improve customer satisfaction, reduce resources, reduce...