The Elsmar Cove Business Standards Discussion Forums More Free Files Forum Discussion Thread Post Attachments Listing Elsmar Cove Discussion Forums Main Page
Welcome to what was The Original Cayman Cove Forums!
This thread is carried over and continued in the Current Elsmar Cove Forums

Search the Elsmar Cove!

Wooden Line
This is a "Frozen" Legacy Forum.
Most links on this page do NOT work.
Discussions since 2001 are HERE

Owl Line
The New Elsmar Cove Forums   The New Elsmar Cove Forums
  QS-9000
  Continuous Improvement Techniques

Post New Topic  Post A Reply
profile | register | preferences | faq | search

UBBFriend: Email This Page to Someone! next newest topic | next oldest topic
Author Topic:   Continuous Improvement Techniques
Vero Flores
Lurker (<10 Posts)

Posts: 1
From:Puebla,Mexico
Registered: Sep 98

posted 06 September 1998 06:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Vero Flores   Click Here to Email Vero Flores     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I work for a company, and we are implanted the qs9000 standard. The one section that is causing the most anxiety is continuous improvement techniques. I am unsure how to get started abd what to include. If anyone has ones insight that may help me, I appreciate it
thanx

[This message has been edited by Vero Flores (edited 09-06-98).]

IP: Logged

Marc Smith
Cheech Wizard

Posts: 4119
From:West Chester, OH, USA
Registered:

posted 10 September 1998 07:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Marc Smith   Click Here to Email Marc Smith     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There are many things companies do which address Continuous Improvement. Your nonconformance and corrective action systems are instrumental basics. A well done corrective action response could include Poke-Yoke / Mistake Proofing which are tools of continuous improvement.

Another input into continuous improvement would be acting on the FMEA. The FMEA is supposed to be a living document and the expectation is that a company have at least 2 to 3 items being addressed on the FMEA with some sort of improvement plans. Typically (and simplistically) the 3 top RPNs are to have some sort of improvement program.

If you do run charts (or use another statistical analysis technique) and track defects / defectives and act on problems, that is continuous improvement. Typically I see production meetings where trends are identified and improvement projects assigned.

The general guide is to take a look at your company and ask your self what you do to improve! What you do to identify and fix problems. Etc.

IP: Logged

Scott Knutson
Forum Contributor

Posts: 35
From:Phoenix, Arizona, USA
Registered:

posted 11 September 1998 09:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Knutson   Click Here to Email Scott Knutson     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Look too for movement from manual systems to automated ones. Ex: if you track your product/service manually but are moving to a computerized system, or have just moved to said system, this too would constitute continuous improvement. Any effort that shows you have improved what it is you do, is continuous improvement

IP: Logged

Jennifer Fry
unregistered
posted 15 September 1998 05:49 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Mark, I am a little confused with how you linked continuous improvement and tracking defects / defectives. I am questioning this just because of a note under 4.2.5 that states "...continous improvement is not possible until characteristics are conforming. If attribute data results do not equal zero defects, it is by definition nonconforming product...Improvements made in these situations are by definition corrective actions, not continuous improvement". Am I wrong then in assuming that continuous improvement, as associated with defective parts, can not happen until there are no defective parts?

IP: Logged

Steven Sulkin
Forum Contributor

Posts: 75
From:Columbus, Ohio
Registered:

posted 19 November 1998 03:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Steven Sulkin   Click Here to Email Steven Sulkin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is a good question, worth adding some breath to bring back to life. We are struggling with the same question. What differentiates corrective, preventive and continuous improvement. Our auditor explained it like this, corrective is in response to a problem found. Preventive is in anticipation of a future problem. Continuous is lowering the "level" of the bar. The continuous definition is a little screwy, but the intention is that actions are being taken not to respond to a problem, not to prevent it, but to improve the level of performance. I dont really get the importance of putting all this effort into distinguishing the three types. I just want to improve my competitive edge by getting better, faster than my competitor. I guess thats QS9000 for you.

IP: Logged

Kevin Mader
Forum Wizard

Posts: 575
From:Seymour, CT USA
Registered: Nov 98

posted 19 November 1998 04:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kevin Mader   Click Here to Email Kevin Mader     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Steve,

You take corrective action to eliminate a problem that exists. By definition of corrective action, it requires the total elimination of the nonconformance and the future prevention of the nonconformance. Although I used the word prevention here it is not preventive action.

Preventive action is taken to correct a potential nonconformance that has not occurred. Since it has never occurred, you are preventing it from ever happening. A proactive approach. This is not to say that you can not use a methodology used in corrective action as a preventive action. For example, you find that 1 of 3 presses is producing nonconforming parts. You determine that the feeder was not feeding material fast enough to the machine. To take corrective action, you adjust the feeder so that the problem is corrected and can never occur again. Now the other 2 machines have been producing defect free. By adjusting the feeder in the same fashion, you have taken the corrective action for machine 1 and used it as preventive action for the other machines thus preventing any occurrences.

Continuous Improvement can either lower or raise the bar. It depends on which direction brings optimum results. Marc mentioned several good tools. I will use FMEA and Cost of Quality as my examples. FMEAs are performed to detect potential misuses, abuses of products or services. It detects the possibility of a nonconformance (Preventive Action). Here you are raising the bar for increased performance, reliability, quality, etc.. In calculating the Cost of Quality, you pick measurables in Prevention, Appraisal, and Failure costs. For Failure categories, and likely Appraisal, you would like to lower the bar and reduce costs. Now for something a bit screwy. You would like to raise the bar in Prevention, because as you know, an increase in Prevention reduces Failure costs. While these costs go higher, the trade off is the pay off in the savings for the Failure costs.

QS9000 is a decent set of requirements. A bit paper heavy on Customer records, but otherwise pointing organizations in a good direction. The real benefit is to learn and understand the CI tools and apply them companywide rather than just limiting them to the manufacturing environment.

System optimization occurs with the use of the three processes. Each has its place and I would have to say that I agree that categorizing each is not as important as getting the job done. It is important to know, however, how each is done, how it is recorded, and most importantly, how it is integrated into Management Review. I hope this helped a bit, but I think you have it pretty much right.

IP: Logged

Don Winton
Forum Contributor

Posts: 498
From:Tullahoma, TN
Registered:

posted 20 November 1998 11:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Don Winton   Click Here to Email Don Winton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am also intrigued by Jennifer's question as well. It is indeed good. However, since I am not QS savvy, but I will try to address from a Quality Management point of view.

Jennifer: "Am I wrong then in assuming that continuous improvement, as associated with defective parts, can not happen until there are no defective parts?"

Answer: Yes, that particular view is incorrect.

When I give a class in Quality Management, I have a standard question I always ask. "How do you get a car to travel at the same speed?" Typical answers vary, usually along the lines of "cruise control." The solution: Park It. The follow-up question is "How do you produce a perfect product (read zero defects)?" The answer: You Produce Nothing (theory of common cause variation). Then I go on to explain that continuous improvement does not mean "perfect" or "zero defects." It means taking a process that is producing at some level of quality and making it better (higher or lower, depending on the case in hand, as Kevin stated). Not perfect, better. Then you do it again, and again, and again. You approach perfect, but you do not obtain it. Continuous is just that, continuous.

The inverse to continuous improvement I also try to teach is the concept of entropy (From Slater's book). I give it a face (usually very mean and very ugly) and explain it this way:

"Entropy has one function in life. His job is to make things just a little worse today than they were yesterday. The clutter on your desk, the typical kitchen 'junk' drawer, etc. Given time, a little worse adds up to a LOT worse." I give the example of a car. The class is told, "Right now, even as we speak, your car is rusting. You may not see it today, tomorrow or even next week. But, it IS happening. Ten or twenty years from now, it will show up. What do you do to stop it? You wash and wax and wash and wax and wash and wax. Now, apply the same principle to your job. What can YOU do to make things a little better today than they were yesterday? Entropy is a tireless and fearless warrior. He will never stop. You cannot win the war, but you can win battles. YOU must be better. What can you do to stop HIM!"

Anyway, these are my views on continuous improvement. Hope someone can use them, or did I just muddy the water.

Regards,
Don

[This message has been edited by Don Winton (edited 11-20-98).]

IP: Logged

Kevin Mader
Forum Wizard

Posts: 575
From:Seymour, CT USA
Registered: Nov 98

posted 20 November 1998 01:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kevin Mader   Click Here to Email Kevin Mader     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Don,

You bring up a good point (as you normaly do, no mud in my eyes) about "Zero Defects", perfection, and continuous improvement. People become so preoccupied with definitions of exactness that the bulk of the concept is missed. Zero Defects, for example, becomes such an intangible and unattainable goal. It is impossible, so why try to get the impossible? I feel that this is the case because management does not sell the concept correctly. Zero Defects is sold as a destination rather than a direction. It is the direction and the unattainable goal of Zero Defects that creates the continuous improvement journey. A journey towards perfection, but not perfection. This is a good topic for the TQM forum.

QS9000 has the advantage on paper over ISO9000, atleast for now, in that it requires Continuous Improvement. Both, however, require 'effectively' accomplishing the standard requirements which can be construed as continuous improvement. That is what I teach in my organization.

Back to the group.....

IP: Logged

Marc Smith
Cheech Wizard

Posts: 4119
From:West Chester, OH, USA
Registered:

posted 20 November 1998 04:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Marc Smith   Click Here to Email Marc Smith     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Not a thing I can add. All of you have answered in great detail and quite eloquently.

Thanks to everyone. Your participation is what makes these forums valuable to all of us!

IP: Logged

Leslie Garon
Forum Contributor

Posts: 27
From:Chicago'ish, IL, USA
Registered: Oct 98

posted 24 November 1998 12:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Leslie Garon   Click Here to Email Leslie Garon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Only one thing to add,

Percision = Exactness
Accuracy = Proximity, within parameters

Remember what your goal is.

IP: Logged

Bryon C Simmons
Forum Contributor

Posts: 65
From:Zeeland, MI USA
Registered: Dec 98

posted 12 December 1998 07:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bryon C Simmons   Click Here to Email Bryon C Simmons     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What I do to satisy Continuous Improvement requirements....I have concentrated on manufacturing processes...we have recently upgraded some machinery...I was able to glean unscheduled downtime numbers before and after the conversions, from our PM programs.....saw an average decrease of MTBF of 50%....with a corresponding increase in run efficiency....translated this into $$$$$$ for management review....the auditor in our very recent Third Edition upgrade surveillance loved it. He told me the focus (and intent, ultimately), of the CI requirement is to be able to quantify the improvement with cost savings, etc.

Hope this helps.....

------------------
Bryon Simmons
ASQ: CQE, CQA; CQMgr

IP: Logged

Marc Smith
Cheech Wizard

Posts: 4119
From:West Chester, OH, USA
Registered:

posted 17 October 2000 09:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Marc Smith   Click Here to Email Marc Smith     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Anyone see any change(s) in the evolution of the definition of continuous improvement?

Does anyone have a stand-alone Continuous Improvement procedure?

Also see: https://elsmar.com/ubb/Forum2/HTML/000036.html and https://elsmar.com/ubb/Forum31/HTML/000023.html

[This message has been edited by Marc Smith (edited 17 October 2000).]

IP: Logged

Al Dyer
Forum Wizard

Posts: 622
From:Lapeer, MI USA
Registered: Oct 2000

posted 17 October 2000 06:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Al Dyer   Click Here to Email Al Dyer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Mark,

I emailed you a stand alone. If it didn't go through, email me and I will use another account.

Regards,

ASD...

------------------
Al Dyer
Mngt. Rep.
JAE Tech Inc.
ullysses3@excite.com

IP: Logged

Marc Smith
Cheech Wizard

Posts: 4119
From:West Chester, OH, USA
Registered:

posted 18 October 2000 12:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Marc Smith   Click Here to Email Marc Smith     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I got it and did send you a thanks via e-mail. It looked like a different e-mail than you usually use.

In a way, I guess this wasn't the appropriate forum to post this in. As much as anything else, I'm wondering how many folks have 'stand alone' procedures for PA. But, I was thinking ISO which is not as strict as QS here. I've never used a stand-alone in an ISO registration. Tricky situation coming up. Have a client who will be going through the registration audit with an RAB witness. The registrar has never registered this kind of business (insurance) and so there's going to be a lot of 'checking it twice' going on. But by that token, I'll bet the RAB witness hasn't either.... Hopefully we'll work out all issues during the pre-assessment.

[This message has been edited by Marc Smith (edited 18 October 2000).]

IP: Logged

vamoore
Lurker (<10 Posts)

Posts: 1
From:SC, USA
Registered: Nov 2000

posted 03 November 2000 07:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for vamoore   Click Here to Email vamoore     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
During our continuous assessment to QS this week, I ran into an interesting one. The auditor was asking about 4.2.5 Continuous Improvement. After looking for a separate continuous improvement project to address quality, service, and price he asked if we had any special characteristics. We have a few (3) internally identified on the control plan but not customer requested, so I said yes. Then he asked for a continuous improvement project on a special characteristic. Well, we do not have any currently open, so that is how we answered. This resulted in a minor finding (No objective evidence of CI in special characteristic) which then led into a "lively" discussion where several things were said that concern me. First, the auditor said he had to see an open active project, we could not show a project closed in the last year. Then we asked if the special characteristic has a high cpk of say around 6, then would he still need to see a project and he said yes, we can always improve. We asked could we show a prioritized plan for CI and indicate that the project was not feasible due to high cpk and focus on another product characteristic that was also stable and capable but not as high a cpk and he said no. I had interpreted the standard to say shall have CI on product characteristics and then the ones that are special move to the top, but the auditor said that the standard clearly says shall have CI on special characteristics.

So now I am trying to figure out how to respond. If we had 15 special characteristics would we need a CI project open on each one? If we open a project, then it has to have highest priority, so then we work on it first, close it and have to immediately open a new one.... isn't that a perpetual loop where no other CI projects would get addressed.

What do you think? How have some of you addressed this requirement? I know the best thing would be to get rid of the special characteristics but I doubt I can do that. We have talked about appealing but I am trying to figure out if the standard does not make sense or the interpretation by the auditor. Any ideas on how I should respond?

Thanks,
Vamoore

IP: Logged

e.s.deo
Forum Contributor

Posts: 13
From:India
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 04 November 2000 06:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for e.s.deo   Click Here to Email e.s.deo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi there!

I have gone through the discussion and I wish to draw attention to some more aspects·..

QS9000 requires· continuous improvements to be extended to product characteristics with an emphasis on special characteristics·

This does not mean only SCs to be considered for CIP and hence does not isolate other characteristics from being considered if it makes a business sense!

Further the improvements have to be in quality, service and price·
( cost elements to be one of the key indicators..)

The examples given in the standard for continuous improvement projects can definitely be used as guidance·Page no.19 of QS9000.

Meeting the required process capability is a basic requirement for such activities to be classified as continuous improvements.
However, there will be many situations which do not have process capability tracking.. e.g. unscheduled down time, machine changeover time. Less than 100% first run capability..etc.

The intent is meet the basic requirements first before the same can be called ãcontinuous improvementä.
Thus, wherever the operations are tracked by SPC studies and are below par, those have to be corrected first to meet the minimum specified requirements and then further improved thereon·

Now to some thoughts on this issue about implementation·

You may have, as an organization, some focus points e.g. excessive cycle time reduction

Now for this, in your company you may have an MIS implemented for tracking the cycle times of various operations.

The data generated over a period can be analysed....

Use various statistical techniques to identify the opportunities for reduction of the same..
Target those processes ..
The continuous improvement project can take birth as above ·.

Now use appropriate statistical tools to decide about the actions required to be implemented·
Implement the actions and use further aspects as what are normally done in case of a continuous improvement project

The balance can be left to the team.
I close here.

Thanks
e.s.deo

IP: Logged

All times are Eastern Standard Time (USA)

next newest topic | next oldest topic

Administrative Options: Close Topic | Archive/Move | Delete Topic
Post New Topic  Post A Reply Hop to:

Contact Us | The Elsmar Cove Home Page

Your Input Into These Forums Is Appreciated! Thanks!


Main Site Search
Y'All Come Back Now, Ya Hear?
Powered by FreeBSD!Made With A Mac!Powered by Apache!