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Value Stream Defect Generation and Detection

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The quality level seen by the customer of our value stream is one of the most critical process metrics. This quality level is the result of all the defects generated by the different process steps as well as those coming from the parts suppliers.  Ideally defects should not be produced in the first place. Unfortunately the state of the art, in many technologies, is still not there. Therefore, on the mean time, we need process tests and controls to catch and correct defects as soon as they are produced. In our Value Stream Map we focus on process flow but this flow is very much affected by quality.  It is important to find out where in the process each type of defect is generated and where in the process it will be detected to make sure it doesn’t find its way to the customer. Control Plan The Control plan defines all the controls, visual, test, etc., installed along the value stream in order to catch the defects as soon as they are produced in order to correct them and give immediate f

Learn by Doing

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Learn by doing , although it takes longer, it is usually worth it. The Socratic method helps students find solutions for themselves rather than just being told. Group exercises and simulations are practical ways to implement this methodology. In most value streams the delay between actions and effects is long (sometimes months) so it is difficult to associate results to some action we took in the past. Simulation reduces this delay from months to minutes so this allows us to try different solutions and experience the results and any side effects our actions may produce. These are some successful group exercises and simulators: The Beer Game This is a group exercise which has been described by Peter Senge in The Fifth Discipline   It is very popular in management courses and it is a good example of learning by doing . It simulates a beer supply chain from the factory to the final customer.  The objective is to meet the customer demand for a number of weeks keeping the minimum inventory

Data Collection: Pencil & Paper Vs Smartphone

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  In spite of the high-tech of our shop floors you can still see pencil and paper data collection being used. Data collection in the shop floor is a non-value-add operation which is still required to control the process. This collection is often automatically done by the manufacturing equipment with no operator intervention. Unfortunately, detecting aspect defects is often difficult to automate even with AOI (Automatic Optical Inspection). When an operator is required to inspect we need a method to enter the results into the system. Line incidents, change of critical process parameters, etc. also need to be reported. Pencil & Paper Reporting The method still widely used in this 21st century is: The operator hand writes the defect data on a form Forms are collected at the end of the shift A clerk types the forms contents into the system at a later stage The engineer analyses the results and takes corrective actions well after the data was entered. This reporting process creates

Virtual Obeya Room

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The Obeya room is a "war room" used by process improvement teams to meet and solve critical multi functional problems.  The room walls are lined up with boards, highly visual charts and graphs showing program timing, milestones and progress to date and countermeasures to existing timing or technical problems.  The team meets in this room regularly but team members can also visit the room, which is fully dedicated to the project, throughout the day. Obeya Room Benefits Remove organizational barriers Visual management by displaying all relevant data required in the improvement project Encourage a collaborative environment through regular meetings Implement quicker, more effective solutions The whole team knows what is going on in real time Some Practical Constraints in the Implementation Some companies can't afford the luxury of a fully dedicated room Some of the team members may be located far away so they will only attend the meetings The data displayed on the walls may,

Random Variation Vs Trends

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Understanding variation is key to interpret the value stream behavior.  Not all variation is the same. Variation These are some factors which may add variation to the process of cooking a turkey.  Every process has variation. Some causes of variation may be identified and acted upon. We can use two metrics for variation which complement each other: Manual Dice Throwing This simple exercise can help to experience process variation and understand the difference between a process change and inherent process variation. This understanding is key on management decisions to avoid both overreaction and lack of reaction. To run the exercise with actual dice print the form: Exercise: You will need a printed form and 4 dice for each team Throw 4 dice and add the outcomes Record the result in the Run Chart Repeat 50 times Join the dots in the Run Chart with a line Build the Histogram by counting the total number of dots on each group of 3 values Run this Exercise with a Simulator Download this Ex