Process Goals - Stretch or "Do-able": Corrective Actions or Continual Improvement

C

ctblalock

#1
If one considers Western goal setting practices and sport analogies in the business world, I believe it's safe to say that we have a tendency to set the bar slightly above our demonstrated ability in order to make us reach higher.

That being said, should a process' goal be set at a level of demonstrated capability or that level plus a little (as is the tendency of many business leaders)?

I have been told that if a process is not achieving a particular goal, any actions/efforts to improve that performance MUST be handled as Corrective Actions. Given the goal setting tendencies mentioned above, the majority of our Continual Improvement would result from Corrective Actions.

What are your thoughts?

p.s. we are certified to ISO/TS 16949:2002 and my question relates more to SOP's and MOP's that are not statistically monitored.
 
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Steve Prevette

Deming Disciple
Staff member
Super Moderator
#2
If it was so "do-able" that all you had to do was state the goal, why weren't you doing it already?

And if the process is not capable of meeting the goal, no amount of carrot and stick is going to achieve the goal, except through distortion of the process or outright falsification.

An issue that occurs is people focus more on the goal (the number) than doing the right thing.

I have my "Tyranny of Targets" paper posted which goes into this in more detail in the following thread: http://elsmar.com/Forums/showthread.php?t=8481
 

Jim Wynne

Staff member
Admin
#3
Steve Prevette said:
If it was so "do-able" that all you had to do was state the goal, why weren't you doing it already?
Exactly. I was struck by this from ctblalock's post:
should a process' goal be set at a level of demonstrated capability...?
If the capability has been demonstrated, there's no need for a goal.

Steve Prevette said:
And if the process is not capable of meeting the goal, no amount of carrot and stick is going to achieve the goal, except through distortion of the process or outright falsification.
Yes, and unreachable goals are an almost certain source of fear and loathing.
 

Douglas E. Purdy

Quite Involved in Discussions
#4
I Do Not Know About TS But here are My 2 Cents

ctblalock said:
If one considers Western goal setting practices and sport analogies in the business world, I believe it's safe to say that we have a tendency to set the bar slightly above our demonstrated ability in order to make us reach higher.

That being said, should a process' goal be set at a level of demonstrated capability or that level plus a little (as is the tendency of many business leaders)?

I have been told that if a process is not achieving a particular goal, any actions/efforts to improve that performance MUST be handled as Corrective Actions. Given the goal setting tendencies mentioned above, the majority of our Continual Improvement would result from Corrective Actions.

What are your thoughts?

p.s. we are certified to ISO/TS 16949:2002 and my question relates more to SOP's and MOP's that are not statistically monitored.
CTBLALOCK,

I do not know about all the TS Requirements, but I do not read that corrective action has to take place when you do not reach those quality objectives that do not affect the product your business provides. 8.2.3 states: "When planned results are are not achieved, correction and corrective action action shall be taken, as appropriate, to ensure conformity of the product." The 'as appropriate' to ensure conformity of product does not include my not meeting a process metric when it does nothing to cause product conformity or nonconformity. The general requirements (4.1 f) are to implement actions necessary to achieve planned results and continual improvement of those processes needed for the QMS and their application throughout the organization (4.1 a).

So I whole heartly agree with Steve Prevette's Tyranny of Targets and do not fear failure of process metrics, but take the appropriate actions (i.e., corrections) to achieve planned results and continually improve the processes.

My 2 cents.

Doug
 
C

ctblalock

#5
Douglas E. Purdy said:
The 'as appropriate' to ensure conformity of product does not include my not meeting a process metric when it does nothing to cause product conformity or nonconformity. The general requirements (4.1 f) are to implement actions necessary to achieve planned results and continual improvement of those processes needed for the QMS and their application throughout the organization (4.1 a).
Thanks for the perspective Doug. Distinguishing between the processes helps the understanding.


Steve Prevette said:
If it was so "do-able" that all you had to do was state the goal, why weren't you doing it already?
Steve, as you indicate in your paper, the goal may be to "maintain current performance." My question relates to processes that are "doing it already" and those that are falling short of their goal.


Steve Prevette said:
And if the process is not capable of meeting the goal, no amount of carrot and stick is going to achieve the goal, except through distortion of the process or outright falsification.
An issue that occurs is people focus more on the goal (the number) than doing the right thing.
Having read your paper and your responses :)whip: ) I do not doubt the bad or wrong that exist in the world nor the fact that many business managers fit the descriptions you give. Also, I do not doubt that there are a good many that are not interested in distortions but apply genuine effort and whatever knowledge/experience they may have to improve a process, maintain current performance or achieve some objective. The objective may even be to improve the lives of their employees somehow (carrot???) which, in turn, may contribute to a loyal and committed employee base that successfully improves the process and achieves some objective or goal.


Steve Prevette said:
I have my "Tyranny of Targets" paper posted...
Thank you for the reference. There are some very solid bits of wisdom tucked in amongst the bitter rhetoric.


JSW05 said:
Exactly. I was struck by this from ctblalock's post:
"...should a process' goal be set at a level of demonstrated capability...?"
If the capability has been demonstrated, there's no need for a goal.
Again, sometimes the goal may be to simply maintain the present performance or capability. JSW05- is there a contradiction between "If the capability has been demonstrated, there's no need for a goal" and "...unreachable goals are an almost certain..."?


JSW05 said:
Yes, and unreachable goals are an almost certain source of fear and loathing.
I agree that unreachable goals should be avoided and they cause negative feelings.
 

Steve Prevette

Deming Disciple
Staff member
Super Moderator
#6
ctblalock said:
Steve, as you indicate in your paper, the goal may be to "maintain current performance." My question relates to processes that are "doing it already" and those that are falling short of their goal.
The theory I have on that is that most groups can not improve "everything" at once. I think it important for the owning manager to lay out their list - these are the things that need improvement NOW, and these are the things that once we fix the first round, we'll move on to these. Trying to change everything at once can lead to chaos. So, I do like the idea of some form of important short list of things that the senior managers are involved in to improve. Now, it may happen that the workers may be able improve some of the lower priority things themselves, and more power to them if they can. But I firmly believe management needs to do its job and prioritize which are the important things to be working on. In these days of layoffs and downsizing, resources are limited.

Thanks for the comments.
 

Jim Wynne

Staff member
Admin
#7
ctblalock said:
Again, sometimes the goal may be to simply maintain the present performance or capability. JSW05- is there a contradiction between "If the capability has been demonstrated, there's no need for a goal" and "...unreachable goals are an almost certain..."?
No, no contradiction, because one doesn't necessarily assume the other. If you're satisfied with the current level of performance (and there's nothing wrong with that) then stating that your goal is to maintain the current level of performance doesn't fulfill the purpose of having a goal. On the other hand, if you want to achieve a heretofore unrealized level of performance and set a goal that you know is beyond the capability of the present state of the process, and do nothing to improve the present state of the process, your goal is just a self-fulfilling prophecy of failure. Why would anyone want to predict failure (unless trying to prove a point)?

It's here where I part company with dedicated Deming disciples who maintain that all goal-setting is bad. If there's a process that's not performing to its full potential, and you have a real plan for improvement, there's nothing wrong with using reliable data to predict the future state of the process. Without reasonable, well-conceived objectives, plan-do-check-act isn't possible. What's being planned, if not the future improved state of the process, and how can you check it without some form of rational measurement, and how can you verify the improvement without comparing a future state to the original? Objectives aren't inherently bad; it's use of objectives as blunt-force weapons that's harmful.
 
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