Tag Archives: quantifying opportunities for improvement

CONQ?

In a recent CI discussion on LinkedIn, Rob Kooijmans, a quality manager in the Netherlands, referenced the importance of quantifying waste and opportunities for improvement.

“The best way to know the strengths and weaknesses of your organization is to get good insight in your cost of non-quality (CONQ),” he said.

As noted in several previous posts, we certainly agree.

Bill Conway always said, “At least 50% of improvement is working on the right things.”

Thus a “waste and opportunity” search is key. We must identify waste and then act upon the opportunities for improvement that will potentially yield the greatest results – i.e., the “right things.” Once this quantification step has been completed, it is much easier to gain the buy-in of all stakeholders – leadership and colleagues alike –  because it is easier for everyone to see what can be gained (or lost!).

“The biggest reason why CONQ is so important is that it is expressed in money – and money is the universal language all managers and company owners understand. If you need to convince management to invest in your team and to invest in quality in general , you need to be able to substantiate the benefits,” Kooijmans said.

We have found that when organizations “identify and quantify the waste,” people are able to more readily recognize the best opportunities for improvement, allocate resources, and then set effective priorities and time-frames.

 

Working on the Right Things Part 2: Identifying & Quantifying Waste

nowlaterIn a recent post we discussed the many daily decision we all make with respect to “what we’ll work on next…”

As referenced in that post, Bill Conway always said, “At least 50% of improvement is working on the right things.”

Organizations that are able to engage people in making good, fact-based decisions about what to work on and then execute with laser focus reap huge gains.

An opportunity search is key.

That means that we must identify and act upon the opportunities for improvement that will potentially yield the greatest results. This implies that those opportunities not selected are clearly inferior — but this might not always be the case.

And, if so, should we work on all of them? If not, then how many? Which ones in particular?

These can be tough questions to answer. 

We have found that most organizations need help to determine the best course of action to take; or in other words, to “identify and quantify the waste.”

It is only then that people will be able to truly determine whether some options are better than others or if all of the options are good; it is only then that people can determine the best opportunities for improvement, and then set priorities and time-frames.

 

Increase the Pace of Continuous Improvement Via Process Examination

perception2Recent posts have focused on the importance of quantifying waste and opportunities for improvement before launching improvement projects.

Otherwise, we risk working on the wrong things because there is typically very little correlation between the ad-hoc ideas for improvement (perception) and the biggest problems or opportunities for improvement that actually exist within the organization (reality).

This post will focus on the “Process Examination” approach, which involves creating a value map to identify inventory pileups, bottlenecks, delays, and so on.

One effective method of accomplishing this is to create a SIPOC diagram, which is  a visual tool for documenting a business process from beginning to end by listing:

  • Suppliers
  • Inputs
  • Process
  • Outputs
  • Customers

The SIPOC diagram will enable you to determine high level process flow, identifying each key input and output of each process.

Once you have these identified, you list the quality criteria for each input and output, select an importance factor for each criterion and select how well it is met — or not!