Updated: Dec 18, 2019
Are you new to implementing World Class Manufacturing (WCM) methodology or have been trying to do it for some time? Are you struggling to identify the most efficient way of implementing a Blue Room process? Dont worry, you are not alone. This is a common pain point across the industry and challenging for most WCM implementing organizations.
In this article we will share the steps that often lead to a streamlined and efficient Blue Room process:
1. Loss Identification
Everything starts with data. Using the Cost Deployment (CD) pillar methodology the factories prepare their A, B, C and D matrices. The accuracy of this data is hugely dependant on the quality of information being collected at the plant level. Beginner plants might have manual tracking and data collection systems as compared to more advanced plants who have automated data tracking software systems to feed the CD matrices.
In God we trust, all others must bring data: W. Edwards Deming
2. Kaizen Assignment
The D-Matrix is pivotal when it comes to kaizen (project) assignment. The Cost Deployment (CD) pillar team facilitates this process in coordination with the Focussed Improvement (FI) pillar team and the People Development (PD) pillar team. The first step is identifying the top losses in the factory. Next, identification of tools required to attack those losses. Finally, team lead is identified based on competence and availability followed by identification of team members. This whole process can be extremely manual and cumbersome leading to challenges for the facilitation team. In particular, significant amount of time and resources may be consumed in trying to use manual data tracking systems to map the Cost Deployment (CD) pillar loss information data with Focussed Improvement (FI) pillar tools data and People Development (PD) pillar competence data.
3. Training Assignment and Gap Closure
Once a team lead and team members are assigned to a kaizen the next step is to complete the required training. The team lead is responsible for ensuring any training gaps are closed for all team members with appropriate training working in collaboration with the People Development (PD) pillar. This step is crucial to ensure correct application of WCM tool methodology required to efficiently complete the kaizen.
4. Kaizen Execution
The kaizen implementation follows the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle. The kaizen lead facilitates all the activities with support from the team members leveraging the tools identified during the kaizen assignment.
This is the phase where all kaizen planning activities are completed including initial 5G and 5W1H assessment followed by root cause analysis using 4M1D and 5WHY analysis. It is imperative to uncover the real root cause (s) in order to ensure efforts are not spent on the problem symptom which can often lead to a future reoccurrence of the same problem.
In this phase actions items are assigned to address the identified root causes. It is important that in addition to corrective actions (for short term improvement) are followed up with preventative actions to prevent a similar issue in future. Action items must be tracked diligently for timely completion to prevent any negative impact on the overall kaizen implementation schedule.
This phase involves kaizen validation which occurs in 2 main steps:
Focussed Improvement (FI) Pillar provides the initial approval to verify the correct application of methodology.
Cost Deployment (CD) pillar provides the final approval to verify the savings which are typically broken into hard savings, soft savings, virtual savings and cost avoidance.
This the final phase in the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle and it involves read across or horizontal expansion of the kaizen to other applicable areas in order to maximize the savings.
5. Savings Tracking
Savings are tracked by the Cost Deployment (CD) pillar team in the
E-Matrix and F-Matrix. This provides visibility to actual and forecasted savings for each kaizen. The overall savings are accumulated and tracked in the glidepath and project pipeline charts. This provides a visual representation of overall plant savings performance through the year.
Running an effective Blue Room process can be challenging and resource intensive due to the complexity and amount of resources involved. Traditional manual methods can prove rather frustrating and cumbersome for the involved stakeholders. This is the reason most organizations are transitioning to digital solutions for efficient and streamlined Digital Blue Room process implementation.