Improvement does not have to be a compromise
The five dimensions of performance for any process are:
- Safer – the risk involved in performing the process
- Easier – the burden that is imposed on people to execute the process steps
- Better – the quality of the output
- Faster – the time it takes to complete the process step and-or the entire end-to-end process
- Cost – financial measures including operating expense reduction, revenue increase, capital cost reduction, or cost avoidance
A common misconception is that to improve one dimension of performance, one or more of the other dimensions must be compromised. Maybe you have seen a sign like this?
We offer 3 kinds of service:
GOOD – CHEAP – FAST
You can pick any two
GOOD service CHEAP won’t be FAST
GOOD service FAST won’t be CHEAP
FAST service CHEAP won’t be GOOD
… but this should not be your paradigm.
For example, to increase the quality of the completed work, a common approach would be to add more inspection (QA testing). Result: The amount of time to process the work would increase due to adding inspection, which would also increase the cost.
A better approach is to reduce waste in the process.
The seven process wastes are:
- Over Production
- Over Processing
- Not Enabling Employees
Adding inspection does nothing to reduce defects, nor does it add value to the product or service.
The best approach is to address the problem (Defect) before it occurs. Engage team members to find the root cause(s) of the problem and implement procedures supported by mistake-proofing and standard work.
Result: This will reduce or eliminate mistakes that increase quality, lowers production cost and reduces the time to complete an order (remember that defectives must be replaced with a good product which requires more production time.)
There will be less work required to address defects which will reduce the burden on employees. The reduction in defects results in minimizing non-standard work, which will reduce the safety risk. Customer satisfaction and customer retention would also be increased due to both improved quality and reduced lead time.
Yes, you can improve all dimensions of process performance simultaneously when you focus on eliminating process waste.