Collect Process Information of Floor Layouts, Process, and Procedures

In manufacturing process information is usually available prior to an event. As an example, if the event is focused on cleaning up a work area, i.e., 5S, floor layouts should be available to show the location of workstations, equipment, and people. There may also be process maps and work procedures. For a 5S event, this information helps to evaluate how work is done by showing the flow of materials and information between workstations. In some processes the flow of work is inefficient as it passes back-and-forth between workstations increasing the total travel distance of a job. Inefficient routing increases the total lead time to complete scheduled jobs. Second, there may be rework paths in the process that can be eliminated. To the extent that process maps are quantified using metrics, they provide an insight to existing process gaps.

Operational and financial reports are also usually available to the team. This historical information should be gathered by the planning team prior to the event. The exact types of information required for a rapid improvement event depend on the charter. In manufacturing, information related to process issues, root causes, floor layouts, electrical wiring and plumbing systems, equipment maintenance history, and other information will be especially important if a team will need to rearrange the location of equipment and electrical, plumbing, and pneumatic lines toward the end of the event to implement solutions. In contrast, service and office projects usually require a different set of information although a similar approach is taken regarding the activities necessary to identify and eliminate the causes for process breakdowns. In service and office processes, most of the data collection and process improvements will be focused on the flow of information rather than materials. But even in some of these applications, supporting teams, equipment, and materials may need to be physically rearranged to optimally layout workstations and equipment. This requires having the right expertise that can guide the team through data collection, analysis and toward the solutions. The timelines for project closure may increase depending on scope

For IT systems, pre-event data collection requires access to data fields, files, and reports. Data extraction and conditioning algorithms will also need to be created to extract the information. To do this, time stamps are placed on a transaction sequence to record the transaction lead times and sequence or lineage from one operation to another. As an example, when quoting, salespeople may create quotes in different ways. Software can be used to trace the sequence of work tasks used to access and modify data by these salespeople to look for non-standard work behaviors. If the project is focused on reducing the time to create a quote, the fact that different salespeople create quotes differently is important for reducing quote lead time and errors. Another example is tracking invoices through a procurement process by time stamping them at various points in the process. Once the data is collected, analytics can be applied. Analytical capability includes business process modeling and analyses (BMA), business intelligence (BI), business activity monitoring (BAM), and workflow management (WM) systems. These were discussed in Chapter 3.

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