We seek first to understand what your needs are short term thru the long term. We know that some Lean and Six Sigma (DMAIC & DFSS) tools can be easily applied. However, we also understand that true Lean and Six Sigma implementation in association with a Lean Enterprise/Toyota Production system requires a Culture Change. Without the associated cultural change, we have never seen the Lean and Six Sigma projects sustain. Also, all organizations have a finite bandwidth that should not be exceeded. Hence we work with you to apply what is within your capabilities to absorb and be successful . We have several assessments from the very quick to the very detailed to help with the understanding of where we are at and where we want to go over time.  Our preferred approach is boots on the ground, coaching, mentoring, doing until you reach and sustain your Goals.  
We have shared these assessments with you below.

  • The purpose of this article is to describe a lean assessment technique referred to as the rapid plant assessment (RPA) process. According to Goodson, using the RPA process during a plant tour can indicate if a factory is truly lean in as little as 30 minutes. The process includes two assessment tools, the RPA rating sheet, and the RPA questionnaire. The information provided by these tools can be used to influence decisions related to benchmarking, continuous improvement, competitor analysis, and acquisitions.
    The RPA rating sheet includes 11 categories for assessing leanness, and the RPA questionnaire includes 20 yes or no questions that are used to determine if the plant uses best practices in the 11 categories. It is recommended that: 1) the process be performed by a tour team of four or five people, 2) that each team member is assigned to a few categories, 3) that team members not take notes during the tour to detract from observing visual cues, 4) that the team should meet immediately after the tour to share impressions and fill out the work sheets, and 5) everyone on the team answer the last question “Would you buy the products this operation produces?”
    The 11 Categories: What should we find in a lean plant?
    1. Customer satisfaction: Workers in lean environments know who their customers are, both internal and external, and place emphasis on customer satisfaction. Workers’ attitudes toward customers are usually apparent at the beginning and during a plant tour from greetings and information provided about the plant layout and products.
    2. Safety, environment, cleanliness, and order: Lean plants are clean, safe, and orderly with everything in its place.
    3. Visual management system: Signage guides workers to appropriate locations, tools, and tasks, as well as records related to productivity, quality, and maintenance.
    4. Scheduling system: Lean plants have a single pacing process for each line and supply chain based on a pull system, i.e., the end of the line controls the speed and output of all upstream activities.
    5. Use of space, movement of materials, and product line flow: Lean plants use space economically and materials are moved only once in efficient containers, usually by hand rather than by forklifts.
    6. Levels of inventory and work in process: Lean means low inventory, no more than a few minutes worth of inventory by each work center.
    7. Teamwork and motivation: In a lean environment there is usually visible evidence of teamwork, problem solving, and employee empowerment.
    8. Condition and maintenance of equipment and tools: Lean also means that equipment is clean and well maintained and operators are involved in the decisions to purchase tools and equipment.
    9. Management of complexity and variability: The best lean companies (e.g., Toyota and Dell) build complexity handling into the production process with systems that use common parts and fail-safe devices that guide workers to choose the appropriate part and perform the appropriate action.
    10. Supply chain integration: Lean factories work closely with a small number of dedicated suppliers that are part of the process and are paid based on completed, shippable product. Few names on container labels and a lack of paperwork on the receiving dock are indicators of a lean operation.
    11. Commitment to quality: Lean plants also place considerable emphasis on quality and call attention to excess and waste such as scrap and rework.

    rapid-plant-assessment-sheet

    Rapid Plant Assessment Questionnaire – 20 Yes or No Questions

    1. Are visitors welcomed and given information about the plant layout, workforce, customers, and products?
    2. Are ratings for customer satisfaction and product quality displayed?
    3. Is the facility safe, clean, orderly, and well lit? Is the air quality good, and are noise levels low?
    4. Does a visual labeling system identify and locate inventory, tools, processes, and flow?
    5. Does everything have its own place, and is everything stored in its place?
    6. Are up-to-date operational goals and performance measures for those goals prominently posted?
    7. Are production materials brought to and stored at line side rather than in separate inventory storage areas?
    8. Are work instructions and product quality specifications visible at all work areas?
    9. Are updated charts on productivity, quality, safety, and problem solving visible for all teams?
    10. Can the current state of the operation be viewed from a central control room, on a status board, or on a computer display?
    11. Are production lines scheduled off a single pacing process, with appropriate inventory levels at each stage?
    12. Is material moved only once and as short a distance as possible? Is material moved efficiently in appropriate containers?
    13. Is the plant laid out in continuous product line flows rather than in “shops”?
    14. Are work teams trained, empowered, and involved in problem solving and ongoing improvements?
    15. Do employees appear committed to continuous improvement?
    16. Is a timetable posted for equipment preventive maintenance and ongoing improvement of tools and processes?
    17. Is there an effective project-management process, with cost and timing goals, for new product start-ups?
    18. Is a supplier certification process – with measures for quality, delivery, and cost performance – displayed?
    19. Have key product characteristics been identified, and are fail-safe methods used to forestall propagation of defects?
    20. Would you buy the products this operation produces?

    Total number of yeses

    The RPA tools described above are fairly easy to learn and provide consistent ratings from various teams. According to Goodson, the tools have been used hundreds of times by students in more than 400 tours of 150 different manufacturing and service industries. The RPA process has proven to be a very powerful application for education as well as decisions related to benchmarking, continuous improvement, competitor analysis, and acquisitions.

  •  

    Assess

    The assess phase involves the use of a scorecard of Lean Six Sigma parameters and a radar chart, also known as a web chart or spider chart. The scorecard should be completed by both the leaders of the Lean Six Sigma deployment and the department heads for each of the individual verticals within the organization. The scorecard (seen in the table below) should address these 12 Lean Six Sigma parameters:

    1. Leadership alignment
    2. Leadership approach toward Lean Six Sigma
    3. Employee involvement
    4. Training
    5. Process capability
    6. Approach to errors
    7. Data-driven problem solving
    8. Continuous improvement methodologies
    9. Standard work
    10. Value stream mapping
    11. Accounting support to Lean Six Sigma
    12. 5S/housekeeping

    A 1-to-5 rating scale is used to assess the selected Lean Six Sigma parameters, where 1 represents the lowest level of maturity and 5 is best in class. The scorecard contains detailed guidelines for scoring criteria.

    org-lean-assessment-pt1

    org-assessment-2

    org-assessment-pt3

    org-assessment-pt-4
     Once the scores are complete, they can be transferred to a radar chart, which helps leaders see the current state in a graphic form. The chart illustrates the 1 through 5 rankings for the different Lean Six Sigma parameters; the lower the Lean Six Sigma maturity level, the closer the scores are toward the center of the chart.
     radar-chart

     

  • Analyze
    Once the Lean Six Sigma deployment leader receives the completed scorecards and linked radar charts from the leaders of the various verticals in the organization, the analyze phase can begin. The goal of the analyze phase is to identify the most important parameters on which to start working.
    To do this, the deployment leader can start by creating a graph comparing the scores for the individual parameters to the organization’s Lean Six Sigma maturity index (the average of all those scores).
    Figure 2: Lean Six Sigma Parameters Compared to Organizational Maturity Index
    assessment-roll-up-by-category
    The bars under the minimum goal line in the  graph represent the weaknesses of the organization. 

  • BASELINE ASSESSMENT – MASTER

    “Instructions: Use this list of basic questions to develop the site-specific assessment plan. Add or modify topics in the Master document as necessary and beneficial for the site assessment. Some Items may appear in more than one section.

    Note: Some information may be considered confidential and appropriate measures must be taken to ensure confidentiality is maintained. A non-disclosure agreement is strongly recommended”
    This list is to be sent to the site between 1 week and 4 weeks before the assessment begins.

    REF Evaluation Item
    I. I. General – Organizational Overview
    Review of current manufacturing and sales plans.
    Review STRAP
    What technical/commercial certifications (i.e. Q1, TS) does the plant hold? In process or planned?
    Discussion regarding any significant quality or customer issues currently open or recently resolved.
    Review of PD metrics and plant-specific measures.
    Review peforrmance trends.
    How is scrap reported?
    How is rework counted and reported?
    Review significant down time? What equipment?
    Are there any trends on downtime or scrap?
    What is are OTTR for customer deliveries?
    What is the internal PPM rate
    What is the Customer PPM rate
    How is production reported?
    Does plant use automated data points?
    Is a daily inventory report prepared? Who distributes? Receives?
    Is there an open item spreadsheet to track completion of high-level issues.
    Who maintains this sheet, how often distributed?
    Review of organization structure.
    List of the management and technical staff/ years of service/training.
    Any there any support functions that are contracted through outside companies?
    Any there any support functions planned to be outsourced?
    Supervisory structure in production areas.
    Review of personnel including performance.
    Development programs (past, current, future)
    Are any employee groups represented by a union?
    Describe structure of the bargaining unit(s) and negotiations schedule.
    Describe structure of union leadership team.
    Describe major open issues or grievances related to job classifications, training, etc.
    Who are the primary Company contact(s) with the union organization?
    Describe plant OPEX program. Review program and process implementation history.
    How are projects managed?
    Review active OPEX projects and history.
    Do you use any cross-functional teams for other projects?
    Review factors for success and failure.
    Are there any changes expected to the current employee levels?
    Work schedules (current and future).
    Is there a formal or informal “production system” current in place or planned?
    How many Lean and Six Sigma Resources are there and what is their level (GB, BB, MBB,LM)
    Is there a New Product launch process in place
    Does it use a Phase Gate approach

  • VI. Quality- Standard Work
    Are there current and active Standard Operating Instructions (SOI)?
    Are these SOI’s being followed?
    How are employees trainined on SOI? Are there training sign offs?
    List of all SOI’s.
    How are SOI’s implemented? New?
    How do you update an SOI?
    How do you make and employee aware of the SOI change?
    Who owns the SOI process?
    Where are the SOI’s posted?
    Who audits the SOI’s and how often are they audited?
    What is the audit process? LPA ?
    Does the plant have internal or external audit? When was the last audit?
    Who are allowed to do audits? How were they trained?
    What was the result of the last audit?
    Are there standard work documents for salary staff and hourly employees?
    What is the format for that standard work?
    Do valid job descriptions exist for each position?
    Review samples.
    Where is standard work posted?
    Who audits the standard work documents and how often are they audited?
    Does the plant have labor standards for each position?
    Is takt time relative to the standards?
    Are labor standards prepared for each position? If so, review samples.
    Has the plant completed training regarding Standard Combination Tables?
    Are Standard Combination Tables prepared for each position. If so, review samples.
    How are employees informed about their jobs?
    What checks do employees do to show they are following the SOI’s?
    How does the leadership team hold employees to standards?
    Describe the company quality management system?
    Does the plant have a quality policy? What is it?
    What is the document control program for the company?

    VII. Material
    See Material work sheet

    VIII. Maintenance
    See Maintenance work sheet

    IX. Engineering
    See Engineering work sheet

    X. Program Management
    See Program Management work sheet

  • II. HR – Employment, Orientation, Job Transfers, Training, Professional Qualifications
    Review organization chart.
    Describe the structure of the employee group. (managerial, salaried, hourly direct, hourly indirect)
    What significant manpower changes (hire/RIF) are expected in the next 12-18 months?
    Does the plant have a formal manpower planning process?
    Are there any open manageral or supervisors positions for which the plant is actively recruiting?
    How soon will they expected to be filled?
    Identify critical skills required for operating the plant.
    How does the leadership team determine manpower requirements?
    Review local labor market conditions.
    Describe the hiring process.
    Does the site hire against its core values/behaviors
    Does the plant have a formal new employee orientation process?
    Review to understand who, when, duration, location, etc these activities take place
    Are any employee groups represented by a union?
    Describe structure of the bargaining unit(s) and negotiations schedule.
    Describe major open issues or grievances related to job classifications, training, etc.
    What are the various methods for employee communication?
    Does the plant have an employee handbook? If so, review content.
    Supervisory structure in production areas.
    Review of key personnel.
    Development programs (past, current, future)
    Is there a Performance Management Development Plan in place for all Salaried personnel
    Describe employee corrective action plan.
    Review plant structure and rules/regulations of job classifications (blue collar positions)
    Describe the process for progressing within and across job classifications.
    Describe all subjective or objective measurements used.
    Do term short or long-term transfers qualify for a pay differential?
    Describe transfer process (job to job, dept to dept, other).
    Are these generally short term or long term transfers?
    Is there a different process for short term transfers?
    In what way are employees notified and trained of a transfer to a new department or position?
    Do certain jobs require an employee to hold a formal certification or license? Provide details.
    Are certifications internal or external?
    Can an employee lose these certifications? How?
    Describe formal training programs the company has (i.e. specialized job skill sets).
    Training plan for next 12-18 mos. by job and training program.
    How do supervisors know what a certain employees qualifications are?
    Are employees paid more for higher qualifications?
    Does the plant currently post employee qualifications openly?
    Are there any prohibitions to posting employee information such as training and qualifications?
    If so, are these prohibitions legal or organizational or cultural?
    How are training records maintained?
    Who has access to employees training records?
    Are these records considered confidential according to statute?
    What is considered training for the purpose of record keeping?
    Does each department maintain a training or qualification matrix?
    Is there an active succession plan for key non-management positions?

  • VI. Quality- Standard Work
    Are there current and active Standard Operating Instructions (SOI)?
    Are these SOI’s being followed?
    How are employees trainined on SOI? Are there training sign offs?
    List of all SOI’s.
    How are SOI’s implemented? New?
    How do you update an SOI?
    How do you make and employee aware of the SOI change?
    Who owns the SOI process?
    Where are the SOI’s posted?
    Who audits the SOI’s and how often are they audited?
    What is the audit process? LPA ?
    Does the plant have internal or external audit? When was the last audit?
    Who are allowed to do audits? How were they trained?
    What was the result of the last audit?
    Are there standard work documents for salary staff and hourly employees?
    What is the format for that standard work?
    Do valid job descriptions exist for each position?
    Review samples.
    Where is standard work posted?
    Who audits the standard work documents and how often are they audited?
    Does the plant have labor standards for each position?
    Is takt time relative to the standards?
    Are labor standards prepared for each position? If so, review samples.
    Has the plant completed training regarding Standard Combination Tables?
    Are Standard Combination Tables prepared for each position. If so, review samples.
    How are employees informed about their jobs?
    What checks do employees do to show they are following the SOI’s?
    How does the leadership team hold employees to standards?
    Describe the company quality management system?
    Does the plant have a quality policy? What is it?
    What is the document control program for the company?

    VII. Material
    See Material work sheet

    VIII. Maintenance
    See Maintenance work sheet

    IX. Engineering
    See Engineering work sheet

    X. Program Management
    See Program Management work sheet