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Quality Assurance by D. H. Stamatis

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8
Commitment to Continual Improvement
Overview
The continual improvement (CI) process is an ongoing effort to improve
products, services, or processes. These efforts will seek incremental improve-
ments on a daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly cycle. Customer valued pro-
cesses are constantly evaluated and improved in the light of their efciency,
effectiveness, and exibility.
It must be emphasized here that CI process is not a managerial approach.
It is a mindset that facilitates a culture of innovation and constant improve-
ment at all levels of the organization. Specically, it encompasses at least the
following three elements:
1. Balanced scorecard: Goals and objectives; measurable metrics, that
is, key behavioral or performance indicators, comparisons, or track-
ing of goals versus actuals on a month/day/week basis. A generic
balanced scorecard may be considered a way to measure the most
basic metrics in the organization. For example, nancial by measur-
ing the nancial impact with a weight of 25%; customer by measur-
ing the improvement for the customer with a weight of 30%; internal
process by measuring improvement project completion as identied
in the quality operating system (QOS) with a weight of 35%; learn-
ing and growth by measuring competency of appropriate tools and
their implementation as well as overall results of improvement with
a weight of 10%.
2. Fast response board (control visually): This is also known as the
SQDC board. It is a board to document and visually control actions
on Safety, Quality, Delivery, and Cost (SQDC). The focus here is on
identify/plan, in process/do, complete/check, lessons learned/act.
In essence, this board serves as a visual review of the various roles
within a CI culture to provide the workforce with clear goals and
expectations. The process improvement team helps in identifying
and developing metrics and improvement targets that are meaningful
and doable for the work force, as well as train the workforce in visual
70 Quality Assurance
management tools and resources required to effectively and ef-
ciently perform their task (job). The board serves as a management
tool to expose problems, barriers, and concerns so that management
can better understand the major causes and work to remove them.
A typical SQDC board tracks the performance of safety, quality,
delivery and cost, trend improvement against target improvement
level, daily performance, and improvement activities, and provides
a visual analysis of main problems.
In other words, the purpose of the board is to present a oor-level
visual representation of dened metrics at all work centers for shift-
to-shift tracking daily, weekly, and or monthly. The tracking of the
metrics is used to identify gaps and opportunities for improvement.
In fact, the scope of the SQDC board is to be utilized and tracked by
work center employees as an informational stream showing the work
center key performance indicators (KPI). To make sure that simplic-
ity prevails, the SQDC chart is used visually with colors, charts, and
graphs to show measurable actual against targeted performance
within each critical metric of SQDC. Improvement opportunities are
identied to close the gap between actual and targeted performance
metrics. When the work center is not in operation for a particular
day, the designation of DNR (did not run) should be recorded.
Typical denitions used on the SQDC boards are
a. Safety, quality, delivery, and cost. These are the key perfor-
mances or behavioral indicators that must be monitored. (Some
organizations have more.)
b. First time quality (FTQ). A metric that indicates to what extend
parts are manufactured correctly the rst time without need for
inspection, rework, or replacement. This is generally calculated
as: (Good Parts)/(Good Parts + Rejects).
c. Overall equipment effectiveness (OEE). An established method
of measuring and then optimizing capacity utilization of a pro-
cess performance or that of a whole manufacturing plant. This is
generally calculated as (Good Parts)/(Total Target).
d. Unplanned downtime. Any event or downtime instance that
was unplanned, resulting in lost planned production time at
any work center. Downtime that does not count as unplanned is
lunch, scheduled breaks, scheduled maintenance, or scheduled
new product modication.
e. Pareto. It is a bar chart in which data is plotted to analyze what
problems need attention rst because of the taller bars on the
chart. The more an issue is present, the taller that bar will be on
the graph. This is a very effective way to see which issue hap-
pens most frequently.

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