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tracy-orourke
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QUESTION:
What qualifications do you recommend I do? I have APM, MSP and I am a Project Manager working in a CI department for British Airways. I am based in London. Do you know of any companies that can help me find a role in Lean here?

ANSWER:

Yes, certifications can be important for opening doors. The most coveted qualification is the Black Belt certification. In order to take Black Belt, Green Belt must be completed first. We would recommend taking the Green Belt and then the Black Belt in order to get process improvement credentials. As far as opportunities, Lean opportunities are always changing, so it’s probably best to check a local resources for career opportunities. There are many names for process improvement experts, so it’s important to view all positions with job titles such as…Operational Excellence, Process Analyst, Lean Specialist, Sensei, Black Belt, Process Specialist, etc.

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QUESTION:
Does Every Output And Every Input Correlate To One Customer? Or, Can It Be One To Many Relationships?

ANSWER:

I am assuming you are talking about the use of the SIPOC (a chart that shows Supplier, Input, Process, Output, Customer). In this case, the process steps are high level and may incorporate many steps. With a SIPOC, there can easily be a one to many relationship for outputs. A single output might have multiple customers (keep in mind that a customer is merely the user of a product or service. No money needs to change hands). For example, in a restaurant, the output of a customer order (the diners’ choices off the menu) could include the following customers:

  • Kitchen
  • Diner
  • Cashier/wait staff

The requirements of all those users need to be considered.

In a SIPOC, inputs typically correlate to a step in the process, rather than directly to a customer. Suppliers provide inputs that are used in the process to produce the output(s). With that said, yes, there can be multiple inputs that correlate to a single step in the process. Let’s apply this to the restaurant example. Assuming the customer order is a single step of the process, our inputs for that step include the:

  • Paper
  • Menu
  • Diners’ menu choices

These inputs would be used to produce the customer order that is sent to the kitchen to make the food. It may also be used to bill the customer. See example below.

SIPOC Example - GoLeanSixSigma.com

Last, you will also notice that if you break the process steps into even smaller steps, those one to many relationships may disappear. The one to many relationship will often depend on how detailed your process map is. However, it is perfectly fine to have one to many relationships as long as it is understood and documented.

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Elisabeth Swan
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QUESTION:
How do you standardize a process when there are many people involved?

ANSWER:

It is the same process, but you may want to consider including one individual from each “area” if there are a mix of tasks. It will also help to plan on an “open house” before the 5S and make sure to invite everyone when you explain/showcase the changes. Be open to feedback from the group and make changes that make sense. A larger group may require more upfront planning, and official 5S Charter etc. It might be useful to hand-out the 5S Assessment Template to everyone in the area to get their initial feedback prior to the 5S. This is a form of involvment and that builds ownership.

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Elisabeth Swan
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QUESTION:
What are the most important preparation and soft skills before deploying 5S in a business/functional area, that is usually resistant to change?

ANSWER:

Here is a general schedule of preparation for a 5S:

  • Form a team and outline the area to be addressed.
  • Plan for an “open house” once the 5S is to be completed.
  • Measure the current state (use the 5S Assessment Templates, take before photos, or gather data if needed).
  • Plan the approach – decide best time to conduct the 5S based on work flow/volume, etc.
  • Pull supplies together (labels, markers, cameras, cleaning products, etc.)

In terms of soft skills, the main thing that will help is involvement. If people have a say in what happens to their work area, then they will have a sense of ownership. Ownership is always more powerful than “buy-in.”

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Elisabeth Swan
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QUESTION:
What is the best way to engage employees without making them feel like 5S is an added task or responsibility?

ANSWER:

There are a few things to keep in mind when embarking on a 5S:

  • Include the people impacted so they have a say in the evenutual standardization and upkeep.
  • Focus on making it easy to maintain when designing the setup and maintainence plan.
  • Post photos of the “standard state” so it’s obvious when things are out of place.
  • Make it a competition across areas so there is some peer pressure.
  • Recognize people for maintaining a 5S work space (results of audits).
  • You can also do some before and after measures of time to search and other cycle time measures that will likely drop due to the 5S.

5S is simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy. Good planning and followup are key.

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Elisabeth Swan
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QUESTION:
How do you keep this, Visual Management, embedded after you’re gone?

ANSWER:

You have to have leadership buy-in and enforcement. The easier it is to maintain the 5S, the more likely it is to be maintained. The better job you do of setting up the Visual Management, the more effective it will be. But, as is true in life, we can’t control it when we’re gone!

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Elisabeth Swan
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QUESTION:
When it comes to Visual Management and cultural differences, I know you covered that color coding is a must. However when you need to be more detailed about the process, is it effective to translate it to various languages? Or would it fireback at us since people will lose the focus on the actual topic since there will be too much information?

ANSWER:

It will always depend on the process and what you are trying to get across. If the goal is to Identify/Instruct/Inform/Plan, then the order of questions might be:

  • Can I use colors (green/yellow/red)?
  • Is there a photo/graphic/image that will get the point across?
  • If I have to use text, what are the fewest number of words I can use?
  • If I have to use text, do I need to translate it?

As you saw in many of the examples, it’s often a combination of colors, images and text that works best. Try that as a process and see if it helps you decide what would work best.

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Elisabeth Swan
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QUESTION:
Where would you include Value Stream Mapping or Process Mapping in deploying 5S?

ANSWER:

I’ve seen groups combine process mapping with 5S when the work space is part of a larger, more involved process. Creating a high-level map can make it clear what items should be available first or closest to a door. A more detailed map showing decision points can illuminate how often a process goes down the “yes” path vs. “no” and that can provide information relating to process steps that rarely happen. If a certain step is performed less often, than supplies for that step can be stored further away. Process mapping is such helpful tool anyway it’s hard for me to recommend not creating one!

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Elisabeth Swan
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QUESTION:
Our team shares Outlook calendars as a step to visual planning (using month view) and reminders for a couple of projects. Are there more visual widely available (and OK with corporate IT) tools that you recommend?

ANSWER:

I mentioned during the webinar that our team makes use of a (free) app called Trello. This is an electronic Kanban Board that we use to keep a visual as well as communicate to each other on projects. It has the ability to keep documents, conversations, checklists together in one spot which is invaluable. It has a foreign name, but it’s really just “Ideas,” “To Dos,” “Doing” and “Done.” Outlook might be enough for you but check out Trello because they’ve got a helpful tour and it’s easy to understand.

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