BELIEVE YOUR CUSTOMER

This is a real story that happened between the customer of General Motors and its Customer-Care Executive. Pls read on…..The moral is BELIEVE YOUR CUSTOMER

A complaint was received by the Pontiac Division of General Motors:
‘This is the second time I have written to you, and I don’t blame you for not answering me, because I sounded crazy, but it is a fact that we have a tradition in our family of Ice-Cream for dessert after dinner each night, but the kind of ice cream varies so, every night, after we’ve eaten, the whole family votes on which kind of ice cream we should have and I drive down to the store to get it. It’s also a fact that I recently purchased a new Pontiac and since then my trips to the store have created a problem…..

You see, every time I buy a vanilla ice-cream, when I start back from the store my car won’t start. If I get any other kind of ice cream, the car starts just fine. I want you to know I’m serious about this question, no matter how silly it sounds “What is there about a Pontiac that makes it not start when I get vanilla ice cream, and easy to start whenever I get any other kind?” The Pontiac President was understandably skeptical about the letter, but sent an Engineer to check it out anyway.
The latter was surprised to be greeted by a successful, obviously well educated man in a fine neighborhood. He had arranged to meet the man just after dinner time, so the two hopped into the car and drove to the ice cream store. It was vanilla ice cream that night and, sure enough, after they came back to the car, it wouldn’t start.

The Engineer returned for three more nights. The first night, they got chocolate. The car started. The second night, he got strawberry. The car started. The third night he ordered vanilla. The car failed to start.
Now the engineer, being a logical man, refused to believe that this man’s car was allergic to vanilla ice cream. He arranged, therefore, to continue his visits for as long as it took to solve the problem. And toward this end he began to take notes: He jotted down all sorts of data: time of day, type of gas uses, time to drive back and forth etc.
In a short time, he had a clue: the man took less time to buy vanilla than any other flavor. Why? The answer was in the layout of the store. Vanilla, being the most popular flavor, was in a separate case at the front of the store for quick pickup. All the other flavors were kept in the back of the store at a different counter where it took considerably longer to check out the flavor.

Now, the question for the Engineer was why the car wouldn’t start when it took less time. Eureka – Time was now the problem – not the vanilla ice cream!!!! The engineer quickly came up with the answer: “vapor lock”.

It was happening every night; but the extra time taken to get the other flavors allowed the engine to cool down sufficiently to start. When the man got vanilla, the engine was still too hot for the vapor lock to dissipate.
Never underestimate your Clients’ Complaint, no matter how funny it might seem!
Even crazy looking problems are sometimes real and all problems seem to be simple only when we find the solution, with cool thinking.
Don’t just say it is “IMPOSSIBLE” without putting a sincere effort…. Observe the word “IMPOSSIBLE” carefully….
Looking closer you will see, “I’M POSSIBLE”…
What really matters is your attitude and your perception.

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Originally posted 2011-03-18 17:47:00.

What is Standard

If you go by the dictionary, the word standard is defined as the following in the popular dictionaries
Oxford defines ‘Standard’ as a level of quality or attainment:a required or agreed level of quality or attainment:something used as a measure , norm, or model in comparative evaluations:used or accepted as normal or average:
Merriam-Webster’s defines ‘Standard’ as Set up and established by authority as a rule for the measure of quantity, weight, extent, value, or quality
The Standards are developed by various organizations. Most Nations have their own standardization bodies. The standards are mainly under two categories. Product Standards and industry Standards.

Product Standards

Product Standards define the minimum requirements for a product to be called as a standard product. These are normally defined by the statutory authorities such as Bureau on Indian Standards (BIS). Each of the product will have its own standard defined and  the product is marked.

Industry Standards

Industry Standards are based on the requirements of the industry. The most acceptable Standards are developed by ISO (International organization for Standardization). Out of the 18000+ standards developed by ISO, ISO 9000 family is the most widely used. All most all activities are covered by ISO.

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Originally posted 2011-03-19 02:54:00.

TAKT time, Lead time and Cycle time

While we are implementing lean we come across three mostly used terms for calculating the Time Spent i.e, Takt Time, Lead Time and Cycle time . Often people get confused of these terms and use Takt Time, Lead Time and Cycle time interchangeably. eventhough they are distinct.

These are used to Optimize the workflow and also to calculate on the capacity to meet the customer demand. Little confusion in this will lead to confused production line.

Now let us get to the details of these.

Lead time : The most simple of these words. The clock starts when we have an order from customer and ends with the time the order is delivered to customer. Let us say we have the order on 15-Sep-2018 and and delivered to customer on 20-Sep-2018. In this case, the Lead time if 5 Days.

Cycle time : Cycle time is the time taken for Production of one Unit. In other words its the time taken from Start of Production to Shipment. Let’s Say, we are able to produce 400 units in 100 days, the Cycle time is 100 /400 = 0.25 Days per Unit.

Takt Time : This tells you how much time you can take. It is the rate at which we can Produce to meet the customer demand. In other words, this is the time available with us to produce one unit. Lets say we have a demand of 200 Units from customer and this is to be delivered in 100 Days. In this case, the Takt Time is 100/200 = 0.5 Days Per Unit.

Using these times, we can simply ensure the production is planned to optimize the resources and meeting customer demands.

Originally posted 2019-01-07 00:36:59.

Measurement System Analysis

Measurement System Analysis (MSA) deals with the Study of Measurement accuracy. It helps in getting a right and confident decision, especially if the decision is based on the measured values. When we are taking a decision based on a measured value, We must be sure that the measurement taken is dependable.It is also referred as Gauge R&R (Gauge Repeatability and Reproducibility)

It is the Quantitative assessment of how much variation (repeatability and reproducibility) is in a measurement system compared to the total variation of the process or system.

Measurement – The act of obtaining knowledge about an event or characteristic through measured quantification or assignment to categories.

Measurement Accuracy – For a repeated measurement, it is a comparison of the average of the measurements compare to some known standard.

Measurement Precision – For a repeated measurement, it is the amount of variation that exists in the measured values.

Measurement Systems Analysis (MSA) – An assessment of the accuracy and precision of a method of obtaining measurements.

A Measurement System shall be meeting all the following requirements within limits for that to be considered as a dependable measurement system.

Accuracy – It should produce a number that is “close” to the actual property being measured, that is, it should be accurate

Repeatability – If the measurement system is applied repeatedly to the same object, the measurements produced should be close to one another, that is, it should be repeatable. It is the extent to which repeated measurements of a particular object with a particular instrument produce the same value.

Linearity – the measurement system should be able to produce accurate and consistent results over the entire range of concern, that is, it should be linear

Reproducibility  – The extent to which repeated measurements of a particular object with a particular individual produce the same value. A measurement system should produce the same results when used by any Operator,  the results should be reproducible.

Stability – When applied to the same items the measurement system should produce the same results in the future as it did in the past, that is, it should be stable

In addition to the above, We need to look at other important aspects like

Bias – The difference between the average measured value and a reference value is referred to as bias.

Resolution – Ability of the measurement system to divide measurements into required denomination i.e the decimal point to which a system can measure.

Measurement System Analysis consists of Calibration and Maintenance of the Measurement System and also statistical Studies. The Measurement System Analysis will help us to decide if the measurement system can be Used or not.

Originally posted 2018-04-30 19:51:33.

What is Quality?

I know i am opening the can of worms again on trying to define as what is quality. This discussion is as old as the term quality. We are still unable to define if this is  a noun or an adjective.
This is a term which has a variety of definitions. In fact if you ask 10 people in a group  and get ready for at least 15 unique answers.
If you look at the popular dictionaries you will find the following definitions
Oxford Dictionary : 1. the standard of something as measured against other things of a similar kind; the degree of excellence of something: 2. a distinctive attribute or characteristic possessed by someone or something:
Merriam-Webster’s : 1. A peculiar and essential character 2. an inherent feature 3. A degree of excellence 4. A distinguishing attribute.
These definitions are not of help if you are looking as a quality professional.
Also the Gurus on this subject define it differently Now let us see what the Gurus on the subject matter say.
Anon  “Common sense set down on paper”
Joseph M. Juran: “Fitness for use.” Fitness is defined by the customer.
“Quality” means those features of products which meet customer needs and thereby provide customer satisfaction”
“Quality” means freedom from deficiencies-freedom from errors”
Subir Chowdhury: “Quality combines people power and process power.”
Philip B. Crosby: “Conformance to requirements.”
Robert Pirsig: “The result of care.”
Genichi Taguchi, with two definitions:

a. “Uniformity around a target value.” The idea is to lower the standard deviation in outcomes, and to keep the range of outcomes to a certain number of standard deviations, with rare exceptions.
b. “The loss a product imposes on society after it is shipped.” This definition of quality is based on a more comprehensive view of the production system.

Peter Drucker: “Quality in a product or service is not what the supplier puts in. It is what the customer gets out and is willing to pay for.”
W. Edwards Deming: concentrating on “the efficient production of the quality that the market expects,”
Gerald M. Weinberg: “Value to some person”.
let us see what other say on this
ISO 9000: “Degree to which a set of inherent characteristics fulfills requirements.”
Six Sigma: “Number of defects per million opportunities.”
American Society for Quality: “A subjective term for which each person has his or her own definition. In technical usage, quality can have two meanings: a. The characteristics of a product or service that bear on its ability to satisfy stated or implied needs; b. A product or service free of deficiencies.”
JAA (Joint Aviation Authorities – Currently EASA) : “The totality of features and characteristics of a product or service that bear on its ability to satisfy stated or implied needs” 
Now let me attempt my own
“Quality can be defined as the best and continuous effort of an organization or individual, to prove their capabilities to meet the expectations of those who are interested in it”
I tried to cover many of the definitions above. The interested parties can be the Organization themselves, their customers, the regulators everybody is interested parties.
I covered the needs by using the word “to meet the expectations”. customer wants value for money, or safety organization expects Profits, less defects, no complaints etc. the regulators want compliance and conformance.

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Originally posted 2011-03-18 17:09:00.

How to set improvement goal for Six Sigma Project

Improvement-goalThis is a general question asked especially when Six Sigma approach is used for Improvement is what is supposed to be my improvement goal for Six Sigma Project. In cases where the project is taken up for Problem Solving, the goal setting is straight forward. In this case the goal is to solve the problem. (or Meet the Requirements)

However, it is very tough in case of Improvement Projects. Various methods are available for setting the goal. However, there is some pre work to be done in this case.

1. Collect all the metrics which are generated f
rom the process you want to improve, (Example – Delivery rate, Quality, Defects, Customer Satisfaction, Effort ……)
2. Prioritize and identify the Primary Metric. Primary could be anything where you can improve upon. (Start with what is important to customer)
3. Baseline the Primary Metric and its relation with the secondary metrics. (This is needed to know what will happen when your primary metric moves and optimize the goal setting.)

Now the billion dollar question ” How much we should set the target” “How much we can Improve” ” How much improvement we Need”. 
There are no standard set of rules for setting improvement goals. However, below are few guidelines.

  1. As a minimum, the goal shall be set in such a way that the difference between the current performance and the goal is statistically significant.
  2. The goal must be in line with the business expectations and the improvement shall be a breakthrough one instead of incremental one. a 5% improvement is incremental but 50% improvement is Breakthrough
  3. The goal shall take you towards the benchmark for the same process performance. Ideally the benchmark need to be considered is the industry best practice.
  4. The goal need to cover the gap between the entitlement and the current performance by atleast 70%. Entitlement is the performance which is expected for the investments already made or the best capability of the process internally.
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Originally posted 2015-10-04 19:50:00.

Getting the Ideas from the team and building a solution – Nominal Group Technique (NGT)

The nominal group technique is used to generate ideas from team in Problem identification, solution generation and decision-making. It can be used for teams of any size but ideally limited between 5 to 9 members. This number is ideal to get diversity and easy to find consensus among the team. Nominal group technique is particularly useful when few of the team members are more vocal than others. Generally a facilitator leads the team and manages the interaction. the steps are below.
  • The Facilitator introduces the team and presents the problem to the team after explaining the purpose and procedure during the meeting
  • All the team members are advised to create their ideas silently and individually on a sheet of paper. No consultation or discussion allowed
  • The Facilitator then requests and records all the ideas from all the members in a sequential way till all the ideas are exhausted. ( No discussion is allowed till all the ideas are exhausted). This will allow all the team members to present their ideas.
  • Building on the existing ideas is permitted during the presentation
  • The ideas are then evaluated and discussed among the team. Duplicate ideas are eliminated or merged with the team consensus. Seeking other information from the idea generator is allowed. Facilitator ensures that focus is not concentrated on single or very few ideas.
  • Voting for the best solution is then conducted to get the group consensus using the multi voting in the following way.
  • All the members rank the final list of ideas according to their choice silently.
  • The total votes are tallied and ideas with lowest votes are eliminated. This process can be repeated till best solution is generated.

One of the main advantages of nominal group technique is that the team gets equal chance to take part and force the silent participants to be active. Second major advantage is that this method generates more ideas than an interactive session.

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Originally posted 2014-05-26 16:50:00.