Any suggestion for a Process Improvement demo


Andy Bassett

I have a company so far that a Management Team has been formed, a vision created and company goals defined. We then went onto the next step to define the dept goals.

I tired to concentrate everyones minds on structural improvements, ie imporving processes etc.

One feedback that i have is that the dept goals should be in line with the company goals and vision. This i know but i am trying to emphasise that at this early stage of the game we need to sort out our structural/process problems first.

On Thursday i want to do a demonstration that will show that without process improvements the results can never be better.

Any suggestions/ideas for a demo or game?. Please dont suggest Demings red/yellow balls. I dont have the equipment.

All help gratefully accepted.


Andy B
Elsmar Forum Sponsor

Andy Bassett

OK If there are no suggestion so far can anyone remind me how Demings bead experiment goes.


Andy B

Laura M

Wanted to answer when I had time....

The red bead expt is described fairly well in Out of the Crisis.

Need about 1000 white beads and 100 red beads or 10%. Then a "paddle" with holes that fill up with beads when the "operator" reaches in and builds product.

Plot the % defective on a control chart (red beads), figure control limits, and obviously its in control because the population is "known."

Deming would "berate" the person with the "highest" % defective during the first day of production, and fire them. The "best" operator would get a raise, then invariably be the "worst" operator the next time. ETc ETc ETc.

As far as process improvement, it more demonstrates that operators may not be responsible for poor quality, and that fake praise, doesn't necessarily improve the operation - among other points of his that he would point out during the demo.

For a process improvement example, I always like to focus on error proofing. A while back, we had a kit of a ruler, rubber band, a plastic checker and a few other things I can't remember. Basic demo was to get the checker to "stop" at a certain distance - 12 inches. Some teams use the ruler to flick the checker, others to be a ramp. Of course everyone uses the ruler to measure. The "answer" was to use the ruler as the stopper after you measure out the 12 inches - a back board - then it didn't matter how you "launched" the checker. I wish I could remember the entire kit of materials, but I bet you can use the idea and come up with something of your own.

Sorry I didn't answer on your first post - it's been a little crazy around here.


Andy Bassett

Thanks for the help Laura, ill sit down for 5 minutes and try and work something out

Andy, Some of the best techniques I have seen used relates to the "lean mfg" process. The problem is, that is hard to find. There is a lot of info published about Lean mfg, but not much on the demonstrations that are used.
I would suggest your local Vo-Tech or a Junior college.
You might also contact (Benchmark) "Arvin/Meritor in Dexter Mo. for info on their process. I have been through their training and it is excellent. Provides a great process improvement demo.
Although it will take longer than 5 minutes.

E Wall

Just Me!
Super Moderator
Andy I cannot tell from your message whether this company has existing processes, or is still in the planning stage.

Either way, I think step 1 would be the development of an organizational map (including the interrelationship between depts).

Step 2 - Identify the needs of the customer -their 'input' (in this case internal customers) as the product flows from dept to dept.

Step 3 - Each department set their goals and objectives - to accomplish their customers requirements - then identify what metrics (measurables) are/should be in place to verify how you are meeting these goals.

If they are already in business - they should do a 'snapshot' of what is being done now. Then review, identify gaps, implement improvement suggestions, then reassess.

Andy Bassett

Hello E Wall

Nearly everything you suggest has been done, at least three times, and incredible though it is too beleive, even with potential doom staring these guys in the face, they still cannot break out of the fire-fighting mode and look seriously at their processes.

I need to persuade them that it is worthwhile for them to concentrate on their processes, i need something short sharp and dramatic, probablz in the form of an experiment, game or scenario. My only hope at the moment is too start looking for a thousand beads and a paddle.


Andy B

E Wall

Just Me!
Super Moderator
You might try one of the 'Lean Mfg' experiments (see that forum for references to reading material & sites) and not go into all the details.

try: I think Marc posted that somewhere.

Andy Bassett

Thanks Mr Wall, could zou please give me a few more directions. Where do i find the experiments on the website


Andy B

E Wall

Just Me!
Super Moderator
#10 was the only one I could remember off the top of my head that Marc posted elsewhere. I'm sure there are others that may be more helpful. Some useful information may be found on that site by going to section 'Community' then 'Thinkers Corner'. Different papers are available, I dont' know if they will be helpful to you or not.
I only meant to offer a possible research string for you to follow, not provide the samples/demo/etc...
Good luck in your hunt, Eileen Wall (not a Mr) :)

PS: Our facility did an exercise using sheets of paper. If you are interested, I'll contact the engineering mgr and see if he still has the outline/instructions.
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