Evaluate Improvement Ideas and Select the Best Ones

Here the improvement ideas most suitable for the business will be selected. To do this, evaluate the alternative improvement ideas developed in the previous step for each corresponding problem or its individual leverages. In this step, potential improvements are evaluated according to their net potential quantitative and qualitative effects.

Also, alternative improvement ideas should be evaluated according to the risk factors to which they may be susceptible with their probability of occurrence. Therefore, both by evaluating according to quantitative and qualitative factors and considering possible risk issues, the best improvement ideas are selected.

Only by making an evaluation as objectively and impartially as possible and by seeking sufficient responses to the questions that follow can we come up with the best decision.

  • • Which idea(s) are more effective in helping to achieve the target?
  • • Are selection criteria (sustainability, quality, cost, transition time) appropriate?
  • • Is the idea sufficiently defined?

If more than one improvement idea is implemented for the same problem, the ideas may affect each other in a negative way or eliminate their effects. In this case, it is also not possible to determine the effects of each individual improvement idea on the target. Therefore, improvement ideas that need to be considered together should be

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evaluated and selected. Ideas should be chosen that can be executed in harmony with each other, making it easy to create implementation plans.

Why you do it

Now that you have developed alternative courses of action (i.e., improvement ideas), you need to select the best ones for each problem or its individual leverages. That selection should match the expected goals you defined earlier. Once the decisions are made, you need to ensure that they are accepted by the people who ultimately will make them work, and are approved by the people who have responsibility for their impacts.

Deliverables

  • • Selected improvement ideas for each problem or its individual leverages
  • • Prioritized selected ideas

Approaches and techniques used

Typically, this selection will be based on comparisons of both quantitative and intangible factors. Table 7.1 is an example form for evaluating the alternatives on the basis of their quantitative factors. Quantitative factors, on their own, are rarely sufficient for selecting the best plan.

Therefore, in addition to the quantitative factors, qualitative ones should be considered as well. The weighted-factor technique is the most effective way to make this type of selection (Muther 2011). After making a list of potential aspects of ideas as specific factors (determined in step 4), weights should be assigned to indicate their relative importance.

Table 7.2 is a typical factors analysis form. Factors analysis can prevent your overlooking an important factor. In addition, it allows the key users and approvers to be part of the decision-making process. Since ratings are subjective, they should be done by several persons. Next, the evaluation team members should rate the performance or effectiveness of each alternative idea prepared in step 4 based on each weighted factor and select the best ones. It is better to have each make their own ratings independent of each other. Then they can get together to compare the results and resolve any differences.

Table 7.1 Evaluation Form by Quantitative Factors—Example Case

Identify each alternative. Label the alternatives with letters.

• Establish all pertinent factors, considerations, or objectives affecting the choice of the best ones.

Assign to each factor a weight value indicating its relative importance to the effectiveness of the improvement ideas. Select the most important factor and assign to it a weight of 10. Select the least and assign it a low number such as 1, 2, or 3. Weigh the importance to the factor relative to the most important (10) and the least important.

• For each factor rate the effectiveness of each alternative in achieving that factor’s objective, using A, E, I, and O to

Table 7.2 Factors Analysis Form—Example Case

Source: Richard Muther, Planning by design. Institute for High Performance Planners, Kansas City, 2011.

represent a descending order of effectiveness. Work across the form from side to side rather than from top to bottom in each column. By doing this you can be sure to keep the same meaning for a given factor as you move from idea to idea.

  • • Convert all letter ratings to numbers (A = 4, E = 3, I = 2,
  • O = 1), and multiply by the previously established weights.

Total the weighted rate values for each alternative. The highest ones can be indicated as the best available ones.

Typically too many factors may need to be involved. The following factors can be considered in evaluation:

  • • Cycle time
  • • Productivity
  • • Sales/market growth
  • • Capital reduction
  • • Implementation duration
  • • Service/response
  • • Effectiveness
  • • Sustainability
  • • Eliminate duplication of effort
  • • Saving energy
  • • Simplicity
  • • Applicability
  • • Risks and uncertainty
  • • Effect on safety and environment
  • • Flexibility
  • • Acceptance by key employees
  • • Effect on working relationships
  • • Effect on supplier relationships
  • • Effect on quality

We should start spending our time and energy on the selected ideas with the highest priorities. The Priority Worksheet shown in

Table 7.3 Priority Worksheet—Example Case

DATE

IDEA—PROBLEM DESCRIPTION

IMPORTANCE

URGENCY

PRIORITY

1

7/13

Assembly team vacation schedule (Simplify for next year)

E

2

6

2

7/13

Setup time—IS shear (Capacity problem)

A

7

28

3

7/13

Maintenance work order flow (Lost slew work orders)

I

5

10

4

7/13

Nonreturnable packaging disposal (Housekeeping in receiving)

I

6

12

5

7/13

Lunch room serving area arrangement (Congestion/confusion)

O

3

3

6

7/13

Redesign bottom plate—Model #1206 (Fit-up problem)

E

9

27

7

7/17

Changes on accounting system (Invoice system problem)

A

9

36

IMPORTANCE: A = Absolutely Necessary, E = Especially Important, I = Important, 0 = Ordinary Importance, U = Unimportant.

uRGENCY: Use a 1 to 10 scale; for example, 10 = today, 7 = this week, 4 = this month, 1 = this year.

pRIORITY: Convert Importance vowels to numbers (A = 4, E = 3, etc.) and multiply by Urgency values.

Table 7.3 recognizes that both importance and urgency must be considered. Accordingly the priority of each idea is determined, which is the product of importance and urgency. To rate importance, use vowel letters. These will be relative ratings.

Assignment of an urgency rate to an idea should be done by considering the risks that may be incurred because of delaying the implementation of that idea (i.e., delaying the solution for that corresponding problem). For urgency, use a 1 to 10 scale, where 10 means immediate and 1 means sometime this year.

 
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