Problem Solving

Simple techniques to use in Kaizen Meetings.

Kaizen – Problem Solving

Identify & Control the x’s: A Key Concept of Six Sigma

Kaizen – Problem Solving

What does that mean?
It’s a fancy way of saying: “You reap what you sow” “Rubbish in, rubbish out” “You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear” In short, the right mix of Materials, Facilities, Equipment, Maintenance and Set-up, Documentation Procedures, and Skilled Employees will result in quality finished products. An issue in any of these areas will result in scrap, downtime, rework, etc.

Kaizen – Problem Solving

How do we use this concept?
At this point we’ve identified a number of “poor results”, but have to be certain that we understand why they occur. We need to identify the Root Cause to assure that we can formulate effective solutions. If we don’t know exactly why things happen, what hope do we have to prevent them from occurring?

Kaizen – Problem Solving

Building Quality into the Process - RFT
Quality refers to finished products as well as processes. Some factors of quality principles are; •Use of mistake proofing to stop work as soon as problem occurs •Build quality into the process through standardisation •Everyone inspects
Worker responsible for own work and work received from prior process

•Do more than correct defects
Find the cause Implement solution

•100% designed in the process

Kaizen – Problem Solving

Mistake or Error Proofing (Poka Yoke)
Mistakes can occur through a number of sources: •Human Error.
•Processing wrong material or work piece. Not following standardised practices or procedures. Not maintaining equipment.

•Equipment Error.
•Improper set-up, adjustment error, excessive wear, poor maintenance. Over-burden or uneven production.

•Improper Parts or Materials
•Missing parts, wrong parts, defective parts.

Mistake proofing is the process of reducing/eliminating mistakes made by human, equipment or parts errors.

Kaizen – Problem Solving

Poka Yoke - Devices
Poka Yoke means mistake proofing through mechanisms or devices that prevent or highlight a mistake or error. Examples of Poka Yoke devices found at Brecon are; •Polyphem cameras •Missing label detection •Missing code detection •Check weighers •Optical Character Recognition (OCR) •Pharamcode readers •Walleting jigs •3 Pin plugs

Kaizen – Problem Solving

Visual Standards & Controls
Standards provide a visual representation of the correct way to do something Visual Standards in the workplace include; •Standardised Work Documentation •Cleaning SOPs •Action Guides •Training Aids •Setting Sheets •Hot Spot Guides •Job Banks

Kaizen – Problem Solving

Workplace Visual Standards & Controls Visual standards & controls in the workplace are tools to ensure quality work

The Goal is to do it right first time!

Kaizen – Problem Solving

Purpose: To provide a group with a wide range of ideas around any topic. •Brainstorming produces many ideas or solutions in a short time. •Brainstorming stimulates the creative thinking process •Brainstorming helps make sure that all the group members’ ideas are considered

Kaizen – Problem Solving

Brainstorming – How to?
1. Review the problem 2. Clarify the goal or question to be answered 3. Give everyone a few minutes to think & make notes. NO idea is too outrageous! 4. Gather the ideas on a piece of paper. Go around the room so people can state one idea at a time. Capture EVERY idea. Do NOT enter into any discussion on the ideas gathered. Continue until everyone is out of ideas. 5. Consolidate similar ideas to narrow down the items. Use multivoting to prioritise. (if there were 30 ideas, everyone has 10* votes
(*always aim for a ration of 1:3) to assign to their favourites. Decide before you start if people can cast more than one vote per item!)

Kaizen – Problem Solving

Brainstorming – Do’s & Don’ts Do….. •Go for quantity rather than quality •Build on existing ideas •Allow individuals to complete their ideas Don’t……. •Criticise •Make judgements •Paraphrase an individual’s idea •Allow any one individual to dominate the session.

Kaizen – Problem Solving

Affinity Diagram – How to?
Purpose: To organise facts, opinions and issues into natural groups to help diagnose complex situations. i.e. to help organise to outcomes of a brainstorming session. 1. Gather ideas by brainstorming session 2. Write ideas on Post-It notes (1 idea per note) 3. Stick Post-Its randomly on wall/board. 4. Allow team to (silently) start to group ideas 5. If an idea fits into two categories put it in both. 6. When clustering is done, create & assign header labels for each group.

Kaizen – Problem Solving

Cause & Effect Diagrams
(Also known as Fishbone or Ishikawa diagrams) Purpose: To help teams push beyond the symptoms to uncover the potential root causes. •Provides a structure for cause identification effort. •Ensures that major possible causes are not over-looked. •Best used for cause identification once you have a focussed definition of the problem. •Can also be used as a cause -prevention tool by brainstorming ways to maintain or prevent future problems.

Kaizen – Problem Solving

Cause & Effect Diagrams – How to?
1. Name the problem, or effect, of interest. Write this at the head of the fishbone skeleton. 2. Label the major categories (‘Bones’) typically using the 6M’s (Measurement, Machines, Manpower, Methods, Materials & EnvironMent) 3. Work through each category in turn, Brainstorming potential causes and asking why these happen. 4. Review the diagram for completeness. Eliminate causes that do not apply. 5. Discuss the finished diagram. Identify the causes you think are most critical for follow-up investigation. 6. Develop a plan to confirm each of these by gathering data, Never launch straight into trying to tackle anything until this stage has been carried out.

Kaizen – Problem Solving

Cause & Effect Diagram - Example
Forgot to reset counter Tyres over inflated

Passengers Air filter blocked

Heavy Load

Mixture too rich Timing Out

Car usage
Fast Cornering Acceleration High Speed Low speed

Minor categories

Distance under measured Fuel over measured
Fuel Leak

Poor engine efficiency Other power demands
Pump meter wrong

Old Battery AC Usage

Driving Style Low Fuel Efficiency
Rough road surface

Short Journeys Dry Weather (Faster) Steep Inclines Congestion Cold Air

Urban Roads

Poor quality fuel

Contributing Factors



Major categories

Kaizen – Problem Solving

The Five Why’s – What is it? How do I use it?
Purpose: A method for pushing people to think about real root causes. It prevents a team from being satisfied with superficial solutions that won’t fix the problem in the long run. 1. Select a cause (From a Brainstorm, cause-&-effect diagram or a Pareto chart) 2. Ask ‘Why does this outcome occur?’ (Why1) 3. Select one of the reasons for Why2 & ask ‘Why does this outcome occur?’ (Why3) 4. Continue in this way until you feel you’ve reached a potential root cause.

Kaizen – Problem Solving

5 Why’s – An Example
Problem: Cartons placed by hand onto vignette labeller from check weigher by an additional operator.
•Why?: Is the vignette labeller in ‘L’ not connected to the conveyor? •Why?: Because the carton comes off the check weigher incorrectly orientated. •Why?: Because the vignette artwork is on the wrong side of the carton. •Why? Because the customer supplies the cartons for us. •Why? They’ve never been asked to change it!

Solution: Approach customer to settle on artwork across their whole range that ensures all cartons can be labelled automatically without changing over the labeller to suit each different configuration.
(Tips: Avoid answers that are too broad. There’s nothing carved in stone to say you must ask why 5 times!)

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