In a competitive and constantly changing world, it is essential to implement a continuous improvement system. An improvement workshop is a Lean management system tool for doing this.
Continuous improvement is essential
An improvement system must promote cultural change in understanding work. By ensuring the active participation of staff in working groups and involving all the company in getting key indicators targeted towards goals, you can create the right climate to achieve cultural change.
Depending on the actions to be carried out, you will need to decide which workshop is needed to solve the problem. The system works by supporting and deploying indicators and actions at each hierarchical level.
What is an improvement workshop?
An improvement workshop is a quick team action that turns a good practice into a standard procedure. After validation and sign-off by a coordinator, this action is executed.
The objective is to standardize good practice to allow the autonomous production group (GAP) to improve the indicator created in the improvement workshop.
In an improvement workshop, the team always intervenes with productivity tools. The workshop’s owner is responsible for the autonomous units of production (UAP) and, according to the scorecard (CMI), will launch improvement workshops.
What is an indicator?
An indicator is an instrument used to capture the status of an activity and how it progresses. It has a certain objective and its status is easily visible: green if it goes well and red if it does not. Preferably, it should be completed assiduously by hand and updated when necessary for adequate decision-making. Whoever is responsible for the indicator and its area of influence should update this status.
The steps to follow are:
- To prioritize the most important workshops
- To select the pilot
- To provide resources
- To implement a weekly progress review (TOP 60)
At the end of the workshop, the results will follow (TOP 60).
Who is the pilot?
This is the person hierarchically superior to the rest of the team, who will control actions to be carried out to improve a process or certain area.
Once the workshop is over:
- The pilot finishes their task and the STANDARD becomes property of the GAP
- The action plan’s open points will be managed by the coordinator
What is the TOP 60?
The TOP 60 is a meeting that should not last more than 60 minutes. In it, the person in charge of production presents the work strategy to their team in detail, establishing discussion on the status of each GAP and reinforcing the support functions.
In an improvement workshop, the OHP and company's productivity tools are always involved.
What is the OHP?
The human organization of production is defined by the establishment of:
- Autonomous production groups (GAPs)
- Support for GAP autonomy
- A clear definition of hierarchical levels and functions
The objective of the OHP is to align the organization to achieve the OBJECTIVES of the GAP that will be deployed by management, or middle managers, and captured in the GAP indicators.
These indicators reflect the efficiency of each production center, so they must cover each fundamental concept of quality, cost, delivery and staff (QCDP):
- Costs (C): productivity and machine yields
- Quality (Q): customer quality, rematches and rejections
- Deliveries (D): customer compliance, control of stock breaks and program compliance
- Staff (P): ideas for improvement, versatility and absenteeism
Management of GAP members and the GAP dashboard is controlled by the coordinator.
The ultimate goal of all activities and tools is improvement. Therefore, the ownership and realization of indicators should be promoted fundamentally and clearly by the GAP coordinator and reflected in standardized formats.
What is a GAP?
The GAP is defined as a group of working people, in a certain area, with common goals. The GAP’s objective is to create a human team with the resources necessary for achieving these objectives. The GAP’s strength is based on involving members. This strength will be achieved thanks to the active participation of a team.
For the group to be cohesive, it should have between five and eight members able to perform derogations, depending on the particular conditions of the processes. This number of members is determined by the particular function of the team. Each GAP will have a representative, a team captain, called a GAP coordinator, who will oversee protecting the GAP against possible variabilities and inefficiencies, controlling the indicators and actively participating in improvement.
Next, we can define the hierarchical organization and support.
The hierarchy of the group members is established as follows:
- The factory manager (first hierarchical rank) will be coordinator of the UAP and support departments
- The head of the UAP (second hierarchical rank) is in charge of between four and five supervisors, who represent 125 to 150 operators responsible for operational support
- A supervisor (third hierarchical rank) will be responsible for four or five GAPs, representing between 25 and 30 operators responsible for coordinating GAP coordinators and assigning the necessary support to them
- These functions support:
- Operations, directly linked to the GAP, which develop the tools for realizing improvement actions. Operational support is coordinated by the area supervisor
- The support department, which is in charge of functional issues to coordinate your area’s activities and performance with your work team. It is not linked to the GAP, and its functions are to control indicators and actions outside the GAP, as well as to form operational support.
Phases of the methodology
- Preparation of the workshop: the objective is to identify and plan the resources necessary for improvement
- Observation phase: implement the measurement tools to detect waste
- Analysis phase: determine the appropriate actions for performance improvement
- Standardization phase: standardize the good practices for their application, value transaction practices and create action plans
- Control phase: monitoring and controlling through internal sponsorships will guarantee the sustainability of achievements
What is waste?
Waste represents all actions that do not add value. Recognizing waste is the first step towards selecting the suitable tools for its reduction and final elimination. But firm recognition of waste will help us when diagnosing and applying the appropriate tools.
What is OEE?
OEE compares good parts produced with those that could have been ideally produced.
OEE is composed of three factors:
- Availability of equipment
- Performance of the equipment
- Quality of the manufactured parts
The objective is to bring to light the losses that, on a day-to-day basis, negatively affect the final result of production.
What is the eighth waste?
Not using the ability to think and to utilize people’s creativity.
Everything starts and ends in people. Their involvement, contributions, and spirit of continuous improvement, make optimizing processes possible, enabling productivity improvements and therefore, business results.
Eliminating operations that do not add value is the key to improving people's productivity.
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