IF YOU’RE ANYTHING LIKE ME you love to grow, learn and produce quality work . . . AND you want to have the benefit of a cohesive system to guide measure your progress . . . BUT, have you ever struggled with a lack of visibility into just how well you are doing . . .(or poorly, as the case may be) Or perhaps you just hit a major milestone and you are not sure what course of action to take now? That’s OK, I get it! That is why I applied the engineering process to my personal and professional life, which provides a confidence inspiring structure with enough freedom to apply to YOUR business and YOUR life. Keep reading, and I’ll show you how to do it for you!
“If you cannot describe what you are doing as a process,
you don’t know what you are doing.”
– W. Edwards Deming
The product development and manufacturing industries commonly use Statistical Process Control (SPC) techniques to improve the quality of products and ultimately the satisfaction of customers. This is achieved through continuous improvement activities targeted at reducing the loss function of a given product and/or service. The key to the entire process can be summed up in one simple sentence: Make decisions based on data. The assumption is that a suitable measurement system exists to generate that data, and that competent management exists to analyze and implement order-of-magnitude improvements based on the results of the analysis. We apply two decades of volume product development experience which aide in the development of measurement, analysis, and customized statistics tools for any application.
The point of undertaking any goal is to affect positive, measurable change. One must start from a known position and project a target ahead which will be worked for and achieved within a defined time frame. The goal must be specific and measurable. ‘Reduce expenses’ is too general of a goal. ‘Increase gross margin from 20% to 35% by the next fiscal year’ is a good goal. The current condition is defined, the expectation is defined, and a timeline has been established.
A goal must be measurable to be achievable.
A change that is immeasurable is not a change at all.
A note on terminology: The English language, along with all other languages, can be ambiguous. Written words can be interpreted in many ways depending on their context. We prefer to use simple, direct language; we’re engineers after all! Terms like: pass, fail, success, failure, problem, execution are just a few. They are meant to describe a situation as efficiently as possible. The first, and often most difficult, step to solving a problem is to define the problem.
Our Signature Four Step Process to Optimize YOUR Systems
This simple four-step system will bring the power of engineering to your own process or system. This simple concept, in one of many forms, lies at the heart of all continuous improvement activities.
- Measure the Current State: Where are we now? How are we doing?
- Reduce Variability: To be great you need to be consistent first. Whether you are building a product, service, or making sure that your clients are consistently getting what you are putting out.
- Hit a Target: Once you can steer your process consistently, now you can move the output to hit the target you want. Have you clearly set a target, and is it meaningful to your team?
- Maximize the Results: Before long you’ll realize that you have passed your prior goals. Here’s where you learn to leverage your new and historic data to drive to a new maximum. Here’s where you level up!
Check back for more info, and soon we’ll have he full white paper on the topic available with the details of each step and examples.