The Lean Six Sigma Toolkit.
Now in the past ten years, the lean thinking and the Six Sigma movement have kind of joined forces and created a new discipline in and of itself. It uses the goals of lean And the standardized way to attack and solve problems of six Sigma to create a unified view of how to improve processes in a company. The five whys is a problem solving technique that was developed by the Toyota Motor Corporation.
It’s simple. You ask five why’s and you get the actual root cause of a problem. It’s really more of a philosophy rather than a scientific approach, but it works. If you look at the cars they’re flawless. There are no production errors present whatsoever. So when the customer buys them, they work as they were intended to. People do not feel, processes do. If you fix the process, people would behave accordingly and deliver the desired outcome.
Now, there’s a more formalized way to get to the root cause of a problem which is called the fish pond diagram or Ishikawa diagram named after its inventor.
In the fish pond diagram, we’re graphically depicting the six different areas where problems can emerge. Can be the people who are involved with the process, the methods they use, the machine, the materials they work on,
the data that is gathered or the environment at large. If you look in all of these six areas successively, you’ll probably find the root cause of your problem. And don’t forget, the first issue that arises may not be the root cause and you need to dig deeper.
5S is a methodology to organize and improve your workplace for efficiency and effectiveness.
It’s made up of five steps. Number one, you sort. You remove all unnecessary items from your workplace. If you don’t use it, you don’t need it on your desk.
Second, you set in order. You organize your work space and your tools in such a way as you can retrieve them in a best way possible.
Third, shine. You clean and inspect your work space and every tool within it and make sure everything is in perfect working order.
Fourth, standardize. You make sure you have one way of putting everything away and it stays that way. And fifth, sustain. You create a system that makes you do this process over and over. For example you draw the outlines of the tools on the back of a cabinet.
This not only enhances your work space, but it also enhances the productivity of the workers within it. If there’s a problem in the supply chain, the solution is going to be found in the supply chain.
You cannot solve a problem by sitting behind your desk and staring at your computer screen. Genchi Genbutsu is a Japanese term that can be loosely translated as get your boots on.
You want to go there to the place where the problem occurs, also known as Gemba, and see for yourself. And only then can you really solve problems effectively.
The Lean Six Sigma Toolkit.