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Category: Process Improvement Tools

Let’s SURF to Solve a Problem

 Let’s SURF to Solve a Problem
A problem is any difficult matter requiring a solution. At work, we encounter  problems when need to overcome any non-conformities to a requirement, face difficulties in understanding or accomplishing a task, unable to do things better and so on. While we feel bothered by the problems, it is not necessarily bad. A problem is an opportunity for improvement. However, this opportunity can only be realized by effective problem solving.

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5 Common Mistakes and Useful Tips in Typical Application of Quality Control Tools

Throughout the years of experiences in Quality Control Tools training and application, we have seen many industry practitioners are able to apply the quality control tools for product/process improvement. However, industry practitioners nowadays have concerns on effectiveness of quality control tools application. The tools can easily be applied but how useful the analysis results for making right decision. We have quoted some common mistakes typically made in quality control tools application.

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5 Common Mistakes and Useful Tips in Typical Application of Quality Control Tools

5S – A Simple & Proven Productivity Success

5S – A Simple & Proven Productivity Success

Let’s face it, with stiff market competition companies are struggling to make ends meet. Some companies beat the odds & emerged stronger, by looking into & understand their internal operational factors in order to decide its most effective way for productivity improvement. Now if your company ever faced with the symptoms below; 

  • Untidy and congested work areas
  • Excessive motions or time needed to find  tools, materials, parts, accessories & documents
  • Painstakingly searching for tools, parts, materials & documents
  • Complaint of tripping hazard
then look no further - 5S is the proven solution for theseis.

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Root Cause Analysis - Solving the Production Machine Breakdown Issue

A problem arises in a manufacturing company where in recent weeks high machine breakdown were reported in the production floor – accumulating on average 15% of unscheduled downtime. Neville Clarke was asked to train & equip their employees with Root Cause Analysis problem solving methodology as part of the company’s continuous improvement effort to resolve process issues and improve productivity.

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Root Cause Analysis - Solving the Production Machine Breakdown Issue

Proactive And Reactive Problem Solving Process

It is a known fact that failures or negative events are not unexpected in business activities and some of them can have significant impact to the business in terms of profitability or reputation.

Examples of these are:
•    Major breakdowns of a transportation system
•    A problematic web-site launched by an airline
•    Incidents of fraudulent cash withdrawal from ATM

It is therefore imperative for business managers to be able to prevent these failures/events from occurring, or in an unfortunately event where it has occurred, to be able to find out the root causes that lead to the problem in order to prevent it from occurring again. There are 2 well-practiced techniques available to help business managers achieve this objective that is Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) and Root Cause Analysis (RCA).

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The Essence of a Team Base Problem Solving

An organisation consists of a group of people and a set of processes running. Every now and then problems will surface within the organisation; be it a long running product or service non-conformance (producing sets of defects or rejects), process variations, customer complaints and so on. There are many problem solving tools & techniques exist in this world that the business can undertake; Six Sigma, Lean, Root Cause Analysis, 7 QC Tools, 8 Discipline Problem Solving Approach, just to name a few. Many of these techniques have been integrated to become an integral part of Quality Management System like ISO 9001.    

There are some commonalities exhibited in many of these problem solving techniques. Two of them are ‘problem identification’ and ‘formation of a team’ stage – which are essential to successfully address the problem(s). It doesn’t matter which stage comes first, as long as it undergoes both stage, it suffice.

 

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The Essence of Acceptance Sampling

Often, inspection is needed as one of the quality control technique in industry. While 100% inspection is the most straight forward and commonly used technique, it comes with a lot of undesirable impacts, such as high cost and time consuming that makes it impractical in most cases. Furthermore, it does not guarantee 100% compliance to the requirements. Therefore, it raises the needs for sampling plans that economically provide us with a reasonable amount of protection to ensure good quality.


Acceptance sampling uses statistical sampling that permits acceptance or rejection of a batch or lot of products based on a sample of units. It provides one rational means of verification that a lot conforms with the requirements of a predetermined standard. It is therefore regarded as an audit tool that stands between no inspection and 100% inspection.

A wide variety of acceptance sampling plans are available, that can be categorized by the type of data measured; attributes or variables. In acceptance sampling by attribute each item tested is classified as conforming or non-conforming. A sample is taken and if it contains too many non-conforming items the lot is rejected, otherwise it is accepted. On the other hand, acceptance sampling by variables is carried out by measuring a variable rather than classifying an item as conforming or non-confirming. Typically, the mean measurement from the samples will be compared with the acceptance criteria, for decision of lot acceptance or rejection. Acceptance sampling by variables is usually more complicated, but with the advantages of gaining more information and requires smaller sample size.

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Continual Improvement as a tool towards sustainability

Continual improvement tools can be applied in various industries depending on their respective organisational needs. These tools are not only geared towards providing breakthrough improvements in an organisational process and operation but also a sustainable “Greener”  growth. Tools on cost management can help organisations optimise their resources respectively while not compromising quality. Such efficiency in utilisation of resources can aid organisations in gaining competitive advantage; in line with this, cost management tools can be partnered with output management and problem solving techniques which would ensure long term business survival and sustainability.
 

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