16 April 2012
Posted on Monday, April 16, 2012 by George R.
13 April 2012
I came across this article on crowdsourcing, and how the old saying “two heads are better than one” is as true as ever. “The more heads, the better” is probably the modern day version of this. In the past, and innovation experts will agree, too many heads created too much useless information and idea clutter (aka – noise), so limiting brainstorming to a select few was the best way to conduct business.
Posted on Friday, April 13, 2012 by George R.
11 April 2012
If not asked, the knowledge of these ‘engineers’ will be invisible and they will do their required work as directed, but at the very moment they are challenged, the ingenuity of these ‘engineers’ could surprise even Einstein.
Their ability to eliminate waste and make processes more effective, as well as think-up new product ideas and improvements, is mostly due to the amount of time they spend at their given tasks. They literally earn PhDs in those tasks and products, and thus have the ability to identify every possible improvement opportunity.
Employee Suggestion Programs don’t have to be difficult-to-manage resource hogs. In fact, today's web technology has given birth to a new breed of software designed for Innovation and Idea Management. The tools contained in these systems place ‘controls’ on the pitfalls and problems associated with the traditional employee suggestion program:
· Web-based suggestion forms which can be routed electronically and thus eliminate the manual transportation of paper based ideas.
· Ideas are stored in a central repository (database) thus making them accessible and searchable by the entire team.
· Live reporting functions make program status transparent to all the stake holders.
· Automated email follow-up of stake holders with open tasks.
Furthermore, these tools have made it possible to bring all members in the organization into the innovation loop – an area previously reserved to marketing, engineering, and management teams. The ability for all members to bring forth their ideas and collaborate with each other is a benefit that no organization wishing to remain competitive can afford to ignore.
Harnessing the knowledge of the ‘best engineers’ is key to making your organization’s current processes as efficient as possible and allowing it to continue inventing its future.
Posted on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 by George R.
06 March 2012
But first, I must add that I was a bit baffled by the inclusion of Six-Sigma in the whole ‘ROI’ question since true Six-Sigma projects always look to answer “How much will this save?”, or “How much will this reduce our scrap costs by?” … clearly ROI centric questions.
Lean, on the other hand, is a different story. A good lean program will yield thousands of small ideas. In fact, one of the main reasons ideas are seldom documented beyond the Kaizen Card, is that a program administrator would be immediately overwhelmed by having to input each idea into a database or spreadsheet. A further reason is that fact that these databases are accessible by few (usually management), and thus the true benefit of documenting the data beyond having a catalog of ideas for reporting purposes at times does not justify the effort.
Enter idea management software: Web based idea management software solves this problem. Instead of one person documenting the ideas, every member of the organization is responsible for recording their ideas. The system catalogs and helps administrators to manage the workflow and even assign ‘rewards’. But the greatest benefit is the fact that these ideas are searchable by everyone. Users can look to see if solutions have been found for similar problems, and that in itself helps propagate solutions across the organization (Yokoten).
Once ideas reside in the database, it is easy to calculate the ROI from actual cost figures or even reductions in processing time (Yes, although process time savings are not immediately visible, they become tangible once lines are re-balanced.)
Posted on Tuesday, March 06, 2012 by George R.
16 February 2012
It was only after several years, millions of vehicle recalls, a humbling apology by Akio Toyoda (in front of a hostile US Congress), and a joint NHTSA / NASA investigation into the issue to really show that TPS was doing what it had to do! After the investigations concluded, the data showed that the majority of the accidents occurred due to drivers not pressing the brakes.
(There is no justifying any death or injuries due to poor designs and/or quality… and the mat issue did contribute to these. However, the fact that the Media and Government went to such great extents to damage Toyota’s image – in order to prop up GM and Chrysler – makes me wonder if they perpetuated the problem. If anything, that witch hunt probably forced Toyota to commit resources to a wild goose chase and likely lose focus on the real issue… the floor mats.)
This year’s JD Power ratings were released and Toyota claimed the top spot in 8 of the segments. It is also interesting to note that these ratings concern 2009 models, the bulk of which went under the microscope due to the ‘runaway’ issue. This not only confirms Toyota’s commitment to quality, but that in the wake of the ‘fiasco’, they continue to do what they do best… learn and continuously improve.
Posted on Thursday, February 16, 2012 by George R.
14 February 2012
Kaizen are communicated via the Kaizen card. Normally placed at the location where change is occurring as well as common bulletin boards across the organization, this allows team members to see the before and after conditions and learn how a particular problem was resolved. The theory here is that team members can carry that knowledge to their work areas and implement similar or improved solutions.
As in most organizations, this process is paper-based, and although ideas receive great visibility (if the CI program is well designed), once they are removed from the bulletin boards, the learning stops, and unless there is a common repository accessible to all, the solutions are no longer available to those who were never made aware of it (and yes…, there are still those who just go to work and don’t read the bulletin boards!)
This fact leads to what I call the “Re-inventing the wheel” syndrome that is usually observed in lean organizations. Although everyone agrees that someone who is solving a problem (even though the solution exists) is actually learning, it is evident that this effort in “reinventing the wheel” can be viewed as non-value-added. The work is being re-done, and therefore time and ‘testing’ resources are being invested in the effort.
So the question this brings up is how to maximize the benefits of a solution across an entire organization? To me the answer is simple – adopt the use of tools and methods that not only enhance the communication of solutions across an organization, but also do so perpetually. In other words, make solutions readily available to team members looking to solve problems!
Eureka, our Idea Management Software addresses that question and is designed to help organizations maximize yokoten. Our system allows users to not only document their Kaizen, but more importantly allows them to search through ALL the kaizen that have been documented to find potential solutions to their particular problems.
Of course there are a myriad of other benefits of using Idea Management software - such as greater process transparency, accounting of benefits, and greater collaboration amongst users who may not necessarily be in the same location – but we’ll leave those for another discussion.
Posted on Tuesday, February 14, 2012 by George R.
02 February 2012
- (Note: I purchased a Blackberry Storm 2 over two years ago when RIM got into the touchscreen smartphone market thinking they would compete effectively with Apple. I was dead WRONG! Not only was the hardware subpar, it couldn’t be upgraded to the newer OS6 and OS7. In fact, RIM stopped updating their OS5 over a year ago (at least I never saw a newer version) which still carried Storm related bugs. To make things worse, it wasn’t until last fall that BB released a replacement for the Storm on Verizon’s network. Believe it or not they kept selling the device at full price with a very outdated OS! In my opinion, RIM did not care about the user experience!)
Posted on Thursday, February 02, 2012 by George R.
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- bad practices
- best practices
- continuous improvement
- control plan
- crisis management
- Cross-Functional Teams
- do more with less
- employee suggestion program
- enterprise social network
- Hoshin Kanri
- idea management
- idea management software
- idea management system
- ideation tools
- innovation management
- ISO 9001
- ISO/TS 16949
- lean manufacturing
- lean tools
- marketing tool
- oil industry
- open innovation
- problem resolution
- Problem Solving
- quality management
- quality management system
- root cause analysis
- setting priorities
- Toyota production system
- VDA 6.3