Continuous Improvement: How it works in your company? How to record the CI actions?

amiuda

Involved In Discussions
#1
Hi,
Recently I've been assigned as Continous Improvement - Qual Eng. and I would like to understand how it works in your companies with true examples.
Of course CI happens everyday, during projects, planning improvements etc.
But, how a continuous improvement responsable should act?
How it works in your organizations? there is any records/registries for Improvements done? Off course Continuous Improvements ideas and events happen along all departments on the organization. Shall the CI eng record all ?
What should the Continuous Improvement engineer should do?

Your comments and shares are very appreciated.
Thank in advance!
 
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Pancho

wikineer
Super Moderator
#2
Re: Continous Improvement: How it works in your company? How to record the CI actions

Hi,
Recently I've been assigned as Continous Improvement - Qual Eng. and I would like to understand how it works in your companies with true examples.
Of course CI happens everyday, during projects, planning improvements etc.
But, how a continuous improvement responsable should act?
How it works in your organizations? there is any records/registries for Improvements done? Off course Continuous Improvements ideas and events happen along all departments on the organization. Shall the CI eng record all ?
What should the Continuous Improvement engineer should do?

Your comments and shares are very appreciated.
Thank in advance!
It might be helpful that you describe what you, as a continuous improvement engineer, are supposed to do. Do you have a job description? Does your organization have a documented continual improvement process?

In our company we do not have your post. The CI process is owned by the CEO, but everyone in the organization has a role to play in it. Formal improvement takes the form of corrective actions and preventive actions. These are documented in a CAPA database (we use Bugzilla). In our CI procedure, the roles include a reporter (the person who reports the non-conformity and requests the corrective action), and an assignee (initially, this is the owner of the process that appears to cause the non-conformity, and who is in change of the RC investigation and subsequent corrective action implementation). The assignee can re-assign the CAR according to certain rules, and thus, anyone in the organization can be the reporter or the assignee.

Further to CAPA, we also allow informal improvements. These take place every day through our system-wide wiki-based documentation. All employees are empowered and encouraged to edit the documentation, and they do. Process owners are notified of these changes automatically, and charged with reviewing them. We experience between 5 and 10 minor informal improvements for every CAPA improvement. These informal improvements are not recorded in the CAPA database, but they are recorded as edits to the wiki with author, time and details of the change.


Examples of CA:

  1. NC: Stamp marking is illegible. RC: Stamping dies replacement frequency is undocumented and done only after a complaint. CAs: Inspect dies at beginning of shift. Add this tooling to preventive maintenance schedule.
  2. NC: incomplete engineering quantities record. RC: Engineers thought that completing the record was not their responsibility as they don't use it in their work. CA: Procedures were modified to make responsibility for record completion clear and unambiguous.

Examples of PA:

  1. potential NC: Proposals do not describe standard packaging. Clients may require packaging different than what we can give, and this may not come up until after our proposal has been accepted. RC: we do not have a written standard packing spec. PAs: Write a standard packing spec, make it available on website, and reference it in proposals.
  2. potential NC: Engineers must approve suppliers' extrusion drawings, but engineer hours are a bottleneck. Delays in approval could delay our receipt of materials and subsequent delivery. RC: Current procedure requires engineers to review supplier drawings, but such review doesn't really require their skills. PA: Write instruction so that purchasing specialist is able to review and approve suppliers' drawings by comparing with our own drawings without involving engineers for most cases.

Examples of informal improvements:

  1. Instruction for punchlist inspection notification did not have sample text for the notification. Sample text was added to instruction from notification used in a particular project by the PM when he noticed the omission.
  2. Form for job turnover record used word "acceptance", in an instance where the word "receipt" was more appropriate. Form was edited by site consultant before presenting to particular client. As form is in the wiki, subsequent projects all benefit from the edit.

The process has worked quite well for us. Empowerment instills a sense of ownership in all, and improvement is truly continual and fast.

I hope the above is useful!
 

Wes Bucey

Prophet of Profit
#3
Re: Continous Improvement: How it works in your company? How to record the CI actions

It might be helpful that you describe what you, as a continuous improvement engineer, are supposed to do. Do you have a job description? Does your organization have a documented continual improvement process?

<SNIP>
Further to CAPA, we also allow informal improvements. These take place every day through our system-wide wiki-based documentation. All employees are empowered and encouraged to edit the documentation, and they do. Process owners are notified of these changes automatically, and charged with reviewing them. We experience between 5 and 10 minor informal improvements for every CAPA improvement. These informal improvements are not recorded in the CAPA database, but they are recorded as edits to the wiki with author, time and details of the change.


Examples of CA:

  1. NC: Stamp marking is illegible. RC: Stamping dies replacement frequency is undocumented and done only after a complaint. CAs: Inspect dies at beginning of shift. Add this tooling to preventive maintenance schedule.
  2. NC: incomplete engineering quantities record. RC: Engineers thought that completing the record was not their responsibility as they don't use it in their work. CA: Procedures were modified to make responsibility for record completion clear and unambiguous.

Examples of PA:

  1. potential NC: Proposals do not describe standard packaging. Clients may require packaging different than what we can give, and this may not come up until after our proposal has been accepted. RC: we do not have a written standard packing spec. PAs: Write a standard packing spec, make it available on website, and reference it in proposals.
  2. potential NC: Engineers must approve suppliers' extrusion drawings, but engineer hours are a bottleneck. Delays in approval could delay our receipt of materials and subsequent delivery. RC: Current procedure requires engineers to review supplier drawings, but such review doesn't really require their skills. PA: Write instruction so that purchasing specialist is able to review and approve suppliers' drawings by comparing with our own drawings without involving engineers for most cases.

Examples of informal improvements:

  1. Instruction for punchlist inspection notification did not have sample text for the notification. Sample text was added to instruction from notification used in a particular project by the PM when he noticed the omission.
  2. Form for job turnover record used word "acceptance", in an instance where the word "receipt" was more appropriate. Form was edited by site consultant before presenting to particular client. As form is in the wiki, subsequent projects all benefit from the edit.

The process has worked quite well for us. Empowerment instills a sense of ownership in all, and improvement is truly continual and fast.

I hope the above is useful!
It seems your organization has the right idea about empowerment in allowing "thinkers" to amend work processes on the fly via the WIKI.

I'm not perfectly clear, though, about how the next shift or even the operator on the next machine is motivated to continually refer to the WIKI for updates on "improvements" to also incorporate them when performing the same or similar operation. Can you make that more clear for me?
 

Pancho

wikineer
Super Moderator
#4
Re: Continous Improvement: How it works in your company? How to record the CI actions

It seems your organization has the right idea about empowerment in allowing "thinkers" to amend work processes on the fly via the WIKI.

I'm not perfectly clear, though, about how the next shift or even the operator on the next machine is motivated to continually refer to the WIKI for updates on "improvements" to also incorporate them when performing the same or similar operation. Can you make that more clear for me?
A few mechanisms that we rely on:

  1. Folks "subscribe" to documents related to their work, so they receive email or RSS notifications when one of their documents is changed.
  2. Supervisors on floor and jobsites carry tablets to have their documents available when they need them. They are responsible for implementing changes. Operators do not carry tablets (though they can ask to use their supervisor's). They rely on their supervisor for notification or retraining.
  3. When appropriate, CAs or PAs include requests for acknowledgement by affected personnel, or for retraining.
  4. The wiki has "recent changes" report available to all, so that everyone can know what has changed even in docs not directly related to their work.

Further to the above, we are a project-oriented shop, so repetition is much less than in a continuous production line. Though improvements are common, it is very rare that one would affect a process in the middle of a production run. When that does happen, then the process is indeed stopped, and all required measures taken.
 
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