Industrial Engineering

Fix Your Process before Seeking a New One

fix process

Pictrure source:



The reality though, is much different

After Graduating from Purdue University, I went through an intensive training program for Anderson Consulting that helped me develop advanced programming skills. One of the most important lessons i learned was if the process is broken, don’t automate it. It will cost lots of money to automate and likely will be more broken than the original process.

One of the more difficult problem is companies’ strong desire to drop whatever operational improvement program they using and finding a new program to install. Their thoughts are that the previous program, whether lean, Six Sigma or another methodology, did not work for them because it did not fit their organization. However, they believe that some new program is going to solve all their problems. The reality is much different.

PDCA, DMAIC, CPS and others are effective way to package and communicate the problem-solving process, but the problem-solving approach itself has not changed in decades. It comes down to understanding the problem, collecting data to understand the root causes, generating solutions based on the information available, testing the solutions, and permanently implementing the solutions that have significant payback.

If your operational improvement process is not working, first understand why it is failing, then work to fix the process before exploring other approaches.