OpX Improvement Technologies
Organizations are in the midst of a quality revolution — again, or perhaps still. The new wave of technologies includes Lean & Lean Six Sigma, Quality Function Deployment, Performance Measurement & SPC, Evolutionary Operations and Policy Deployment. These are not untested, academic notions of what should work. These are the core technologies/tool kits that are redefining the way works gets done, producing unprecedented results for organizations like Toyota and Hewlett-Packard.
Lean, for example, represents the know-how Toyota has accumulated over the past 60 years in its efforts to continuously improve product quality, delivery and cost. The effectiveness of these efforts has been demonstrated time and again, through Toyota’s efforts at extending the lessons it has learned globally and through the actions of others that have studied and adapted these methods to their own purposes.
These then, are evidenced-based practices that emphasize the application of proven, scientific methods and rigor to the task of improving effectiveness, efficiency and flexibility in the messy, real world of organizations.
OpX is performance improvement without excuses – using these best practices to improve process, product and program performance.
Lean is the evolution of the Toyota Production system and its application to improving processes through the vigorous elimination of waste. It is the closest any of the OpX Technologies come to a complete management system encompassing not only a continuous improvement method but a set of lessons concerning the effective management of business processes.
Lean Six Sigma
Six Sigma is a disciplined approach to improvement designed to achieve near perfection in product and service quality through variation, error and defect reduction. Six Sigma was originally developed as a simplified, easy to use version of Deming’s original Continuous Improvement approach to Quality. Unfortunately, it has morphed into a complex monster. That is why we only work with Lean Six Sigma, to get back to Bill Smith’s original idea of a fast and simple approach to improvement.
Organizations are rediscovering the value in measuring the performance of the business and production processes. There is only value if it is done right. Measurement isn’t easy, it must use right tools and analytical techniques if the information generated is to be reliable and useful to organizations. Delivering reliable information concerning the performance of processes was the original purpose of Statistical Process Control (SPC). Performance measurement and metrics builds upon the foundations of SPC to provide a comprehensive analysis of organizational performance.
The best practice in business, operational and strategic planning that produces explicit alignment (clear line-of-sight) across organizational units and levels. Policy Deployment is not an improvement methodology, but a technology to ensure that all elements of the business are aligned with the goals, objectives, strategies and policies of the organization – vertical alignment.
Either buy itself or linked with Design for Six Sigma, QFD is the best way to ensure the Voice of the Customer is embedded into product or service redesign. QFD is about ensuring horizontal alignment – aligning the products and services of the business with the needs and requirements of customers in an effort to maximize the value of those products and services. QFD is not only used to align business products and services with customers, but the to better align the services of public sector organizations with the needs of citizens and client groups.
The most advanced technology available for optimizing production processes is also one of the most effective at generating productive change across the organization. Evolutionary operations is about the conscious conduct of experiments in the enterprise. Science has advanced through experimentation. Why not business? Experimentation is a part of the Lean Six Sigma approach as well as Lean, but Evolutionary Operations raises this to a whole new level of a continuous process of applying experiments to business and production processes.