Look Forward Beyond Lean and Six Sigma A Selfperpetuating Enterprise Improvement Method Robert Dirgo

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Look Forward Beyond Lean and Six Sigma A Selfperpetuating Enterprise Improvement Method Robert Dirgo

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Foreword …………………………………………………………………………………………….. v
Preface ……………………………………………………………………………………………… vii
Dedication ………………………………………………………………………………………….. xi
Acknowledgments …………………………………………………………………………….. xiii
About the Author ………………………………………………………………………………. xv
Web Added Value™ ……………………………………………………………………….. xvii
Part 1. Characteristics That Affect Improvement
Chapter 1. How to Manage the Business of Improvement ………………….. 3
Chapter 2. Your Industry Standard: A Framework for
Look Forward® Improvement ………………………………………….. 45
Part 2. An Overview of the Big Three Continuous Improvement Tools
Chapter 3. Six Sigma ……………………………………………………………………… 57
Chapter 4. Lean Manufacturing ……………………………………………………….. 71
Chapter 5. Theory of Constraints …………………………………………………….. 93
Part 3. Look Forward®: Beyond the Continuous Improvement Tools
Chapter 6. The Challenge of Maintaining Continuous Improvement … 111
Chapter 7. Look Forward®: The ABSC Way ………………………………….. 129
Chapter 8. Look Forward®: Case Studies ……………………………………….. 153
Chapter 9. Enterprise-Level Improvement Initiatives ……………………….. 189
Chapter 10. Conclusion …………………………………………………………………… 201
Resources ………………………………………………………………………………………… 205
Bibliography ……………………………………………………………………………………. 211
Index ………………………………………………………………………………………………. 217

FOREWORD

TQM, quality circles, kaizen, SPC, PDCA, Lean, Six Sigma…the list goes on
and on. Quality improvement tools and methodologies have been around for a
long time. Their roots go back to the early days of Shewhart, Deming, Juran,
and others during World War II. Further, as quality systems have evolved over
the years, these tools, and quality improvement in general, are no longer limited
to product quality alone. Today, most business leaders are at least familiar with
these tools. They have a basic understanding that these tools are applicable to
the broader scope of process improvement. Some companies have had great
success using these and other tools. Many others have used some of them with
a certain level of success, but have found that they failed or became “flavor of
the month” despite top management support. Why? Many of the tools and
methodologies have common elements and themes in their approaches. Are the
tools bad or the methodologies flawed? No. On the contrary, when any of these
tools is applied properly in an appropriate application, great benefits can be
realized. In fact, a few chapters in this book are dedicated to some of these tools
and methodologies, including Lean, Six Sigma, and Theory of Constraints.
This book describes why some initiatives fail or become “flavor of the
month.” It describes a home-grown continuous improvement approach used by
an aerospace wheel and brake manufacturer. It is an approach that recognizes
that Lean and Six Sigma are valuable assets in a continuous improvement tool
belt, but using “too big” a tool can be a mistake. It is an approach that believes
that for an organization to label itself as strictly a Lean or Six Sigma company
is a mistake. Being a company that is dedicated to continuous improvement and
employs the best tool available for a given application is better. It is an approach
that emphasizes the measurable improvement gained, not how many black belts
you have. It is an approach that at its core is based on instilling a shared
ownership of important business metrics at the individual employee level. It is
an approach that believes that employees should have allegiance to the process
in which they work first and their department second. It is an approach that
recognizes that management must support and coach the team and individuals
involved in the process, but also knows that much of the time management just
needs to get out of the way. It is an approach that our company has used in
the manufacturing environment for years and is now expanding into other business
processes. It is an approach that we feel is key to us strategically. It is an
approach called Look Forward®.
Our company is not perfect. We realize that the continuous improvement
road is just that — continuous. We recognize that there is always an opportunity
for improvement just around the corner. We feel that Look Forward® is key to
our future success. It is our hope that a piece of it might work for you as well.

PREFACE

For those who are interested in achieving excellence in business and continuously
improving their processes, it is tough to even imagine doing so without
the Lean, Six Sigma, and Theory of Constraints tools, although it really has not
been very long that these tools have been available to us. Lean manufacturing
was popularized in the United States by Jim Womack, Daniel Jones, and Daniel
Roos in the book entitled The Machine That Changed the World, which was
based on their study of the Toyota Production System. That was 1990 — a mere
15 years ago.
Six Sigma was the brainchild of Bill Smith, an engineer at Motorola. In
1986, he introduced it as a way to standardize how defects were counted. Over
the past 19 years, Six Sigma has been adopted by many companies as an
essential element to their business strategy. Motorola won the Malcolm Baldrige
Award largely due to its Six Sigma corporate philosophy, and General Electric
became one of Six Sigma’s strongest proponents under the leadership of Jack
Welch.
Theory of Constraints, although perhaps not as popular as Lean or Six
Sigma, is no less beneficial to a company embracing continuous improvement.
It was first introduced to the world by physicist and author Dr. Eliyahu M.
Goldratt in his novel entitled The Goal. Initially published in 1986, The Goal
is a nontraditional continuous improvement book that communicates the method
through the descriptive operations of a fictional company. This novel has been
extremely popular, selling over three million copies, and has been the thrust
behind many a company’s decision to adopt Theory of Constraints in its operations
strategy.
Choosing from this menu of continuous improvement methods is similar to
going to a fine restaurant and having to decide between the filet mignon,
viii Look Forward® Beyond Lean and Six Sigma
fettuccine Alfredo, and grilled salmon. All of these dishes are delicious, and
each has its unique flair. The meat eater who likes a good steak and has no
issues with red meat may select the filet mignon. The vegetarian who passes
on meat and fish may select the fettuccini Alfredo. Finally, there are those who
are neither vegetarians nor red meat eaters. The grilled salmon is probably the
meal of choice for this group. All of the meals are excellent in their own right,
but seem to be most appropriate for a particular clientele. Someone who is a
red meat eater today, however, could become a vegetarian a year from now,
because people are dynamic, ever-changing, and adapting to the environment
around them.
So it is with a business. A business is not static, but rather a living entity
that should be ever-evolving, and changing as appropriate, to maximize its
potential in an ever-changing market. The challenge for any business is to have
a clear understanding of the health of the organization and be able to apply those
preemptive measures that will ensure continued vitality. In some areas of the
organization, Six Sigma is the best choice and in others Lean is. Also, similar
to the diet analogy, applying Six Sigma today in a particular area of the business
may not be appropriate tomorrow. Maybe Lean will be more appropriate. The
key is to know what will optimize the health of the organization.
That is where this book comes in. It describes a management approach that
has been successful in keeping its pulse on the health of the organization and
infusing appropriate doses of continuous improvement methodology in order to
thrive in a challenging environment.
This book introduces the Look Forward® approach to continual improvement.
Its objective is to ensure that continual improvement is self-perpetuating,
ever-evolving, and — continuous — without the need for intervention.
Look Forward® is a management approach to continual improvement which
fosters an environment that infuses continuous improvement into the very fabric
of the business operations. As a result, improvement is not an initiative or a
project, but rather a naturally occurring event that is anticipated, expected, and
prevalent.
The Look Forward® method was developed in the aerospace industry at
Aircraft Braking Systems Corporation, an aircraft wheel and brake supplier
headquartered in Akron, Ohio. Its beginnings date back to 1996, and the impact
it has had on its founding company’s improvement has been impressive.
Look Forward® is not a substitute for Six Sigma, Lean, or Theory of Constraints,
but rather a necessary complement to each of these in order to ensure
self-perpetuating improvement that is ingrained in the corporate culture. Look
Forward® in turn needs Six Sigma, Lean, and Theory of Constraints to be the
fuel for the continual improvement engine that drives a company forward.
Any business serious about improvement will consider Six Sigma, Lean, and
Theory of Constraints in the overall scope of its operations and the unique
benefits each brings to the table. The uniqueness of each of these methods will
be addressed in Chapters 3 through 5. Since so much already has been written
about these methods, I will not delve deeply into any of them, but rather will
provide a general introduction.
The reader will be introduced to various aspects of the Look Forward®
management approach in Chapters 6 through 10. Since Look Forward® was
developed in an aerospace environment, this book has an aerospace flavor to
its presentation. However, Look Forward® is not an “aerospace” management
approach, but rather a business management approach that has been proven
successful in aerospace and can be effective in any industry.
This book proposes that for sustained improvement, Six Sigma, Lean, and
Theory of Constraints need to be intertwined with Look Forward®. On their
own, each of these is strong, but a business that successfully integrates them
together becomes unbeatable.