This report outlines how Latino Engineering can overcome the problems bedeviling it; the problems identified as facing the company include Defective Engineering products,
Continuous Process Improvement (CPI) Strategy for Latino Engineering
The strategy for Latino Engineering to to make continuous improvements is to first develop a framework that will be used for evaluating the present systems tat related to organizational performance to develop a vision and blueprint of what the company should be at the end of three months. From this blueprint, suitable tools will be used for evaluation, identifying, and monitoring the current performance, through the use of metrics. The pictorial representation of the process and the tools to be used are shown in Appendices I and II
Process, Organization, Technology, Information (POTI) Blueprint and Vision
The detailed vision of an organization is its blueprint; it deals with what the organization is to look like when all projects are concluded and the transformation of the business is achieved. The first step is to develop a blue print to help set this project in a wider context of what Latino Engineering is trying to achieve. The POTI model will be used for developing the blue print as a way to define the scope of what will change at the company; using the POTI, the high level scope of the program will be set. POTI will evaluate the processes, organization, technology, and information. The four aspects constitute the program scope comprehensive view
processes determine to a great deal the performance of a company; for Latino Engineering, processes are integral to customer delivery and developing quality products. The effectiveness of business processes measure how the process performs to the expectations of the customer. Processes must be measured in evaluating work performance; measuring work performance requires that the fundamental SIPOC (supplier input process – output customer) business process model must be evaluated first (Joe 2017). clearly, the present processes at Latino Engineering require change and in this project, the performance perspective deals with operational business models that must be changed after this evaluation to enhance CIP. The business processes that will be changed include performance output and levels, how new ways of working are introduced, changes to existing working methods, and phasing out old ways that seem to be leading to problems. The envisioned situation is one in which some processes such as customer service and customer interaction and follow are automated using suitable software; design processes are also standardized and aided by technology, from design to simulation and testing to redesign, all through involving the client to ensure their needs are fully met.
This scope deals with changes that will result from this evaluation and blueprint development; it will encompass everything dealing with personnel, from the culture of the organization to the number of required employees and their requisite skills along with their training needs. The new skill set requirements for employees, change in organizational culture, training needs, staffing levels, and employee roles being changed will be evaluated Olenski (2015). The vision is a company with highly trained employees with the right set of technical and soft skills that will help the company achieve continuous improvement (CI) and reverse the present performance malaise.
According to Tansey, Wateridge & Darnton (2010), technology has become an inseparable and integral part of modern business organizations and has resulted in tremendous growth in commerce and trade. Technology has and continues to revolutionize business models and concepts, from customer service to manufacturing and research and development. The actions of technology in business include management information systems, computers, cloud computing, accounting and other systems, design and development systems, and customer service systems. Technology will be evaluated across several departments and sections of the company. The technology scope will include computers and computer systems, tools for working, and even facilities for doing research and development (Tansey, Wateridge & Darnton 2010). the areas to be looked at at Latino Engineering include computer systems, existing technology systems, networks and tool sets, procurement and supply chain systems, and equipment needs, such as new machining tools. The vision is to have computerized systems at Latino Engineering starting from design, development, testing to supply chain management and customer service. It should be possible for development teams to collaborate and interact using computer systems, even with clients so as to solve the problem of lack of follow up with clients during the phase of design and development. Computerized customer services, sales, and accounting systems will ensure better customer service and greater response to the needs of customers.
The intangible areas that include data and information will also be reviewed; according to (), information and information systems play a crucial role in organizations by satisfying various diverse needs using systems such as analysis systems, query systems, decision support systems, and modeling systems. Since information is intangible, establishing them in the early stages can be a challenge but focus will be placed on information systems flows and stakeholders, a well as reporting needs. The existing information will be evaluated and the kinds of required information determined for CI (Valverder & Talia 2012). The existing systems for reporting will be looked at along with new data requirements for feeding into reports and data outcomes specific to given activities and processes, such as customer service and relationship management. The vision is a Latino Engineering information system that automatically updates, such as the number of design and testing cycles, number of customer contacts and interactions, employee absenteeism, daily and weekly sales reports per product, and stock and inventory levels. These are then used for high level decision making to support operations based on data and information, rather than based on hunches and methods (Valverder & Talia 2012).
With these evaluated and a new blueprint and vision developed, the 7 QC Tools will then be employed to help the CI process through measurement and evaluation to help focus where effort and resources should be committed for the best results.
Seven Quality Control Tools for CPI
The seven quality control tools (known as the 7 QC tools) refer to fairly simple tools for data analysis that are utilized in support efforts at quality improvement. The tools are simple to apply and use and do not need the use of sophisticated statistical metrics for CI according to Biswas (2015). The tools include;
Cause and effect diagram: this identifies the several possible causes for a problem or effect and sorts ideas into usable categories
Check sheets: these are forms that are structured used for data collection and analysis and can be adapted for a wide range of activities
Control charts: These are graphs utilized in studying how processes change with time
Histogram: This is a graph used to shoe frequency distributions and frequency of occurrence of different values in data sets
Pareto chart: This is used to depict the more significant factors
Scatter diagram: This a tool that graphs numerical data pairs with two variables compared on every axis of the Cartesian plane.
Flow chart: This graphically depicts the inputs, actions and outputs for a given system to show the process flows
Cause and Effect
According to Biswas (2015), achieving process improvement requires action to be taken on causes of variation; however, the possible causes of effects/ problems for applications; using the cause and effect diagram, the knowledge groups have in relation to a specific problem are organized and graphically displayed. The cause and effect diagram will be developed by drawing a flow chart of the areas that need improvement, such as product design and customer service. This is then followed by a definition of the problem to be solved (the five identified problems) and then brainstorming will be undertaken to establish all possible problem causes, for instance, defective engineering products may be due to poor design and lack of sufficient testing before delivery. With this information, a cause and effect diagram accurately reflecting and displaying the data relationships in every category will then be developed (Vasconcellos 2007). A good cause-effect digram has many ‘twigs’ ; the more the branches, the deeper the understanding of the problem and its causes.
Check sheets are used for the collection and tallying of data and information; the check sheet is made up of items or lists and an indicator showing how often an item occurs on the list. Checklists make it easy for data to be collected because they they provide events likely to occur in a pre-written format. For instance, they can be used to determine the number of inspections of engineering equipment done per week, the number of tests and simulations done for a product over a given time period, among others. The check sheets records counted or measured data and can be designed to show the day, shift, and month of the event (Fredendall & Hill 2001)
These will be created through grouping measurements into cells and will be useful in determining data set shapes. The histogram displays data so that it is easy to observe central tendencies and dispersion and for comparing requirements for distributions. A such, they will be valuable tools for trouble shooting and can reveal important differences, such as in equipment quality between different groups and different processes. A control chart should always be constructed before the histogram is constructed. The number of data points falling within a bar and shows the frequency for that specific data point (Tague 2015).
This will be used for analysis by ranking opportunities to establish which of the many possible opportunities should be tackled first. It involves determining the vital few; the important factors that contribute to 80% of the problems from the trivial many; the factors that contribute to 20% of the problems; it works based on the 80/20 principle. The tool will be used at various stages during the process of quality improvement as it will help determine the next step to take (Collier & Evans 2011).
It is used for analyzing the cause and effect relationships by plotting a given variable against the other; on e of the variables is the independent variable which is not affected by the other and the other is the dependent variable that is affected by changes in the independent variable. When being plotted, the dependent variable is shown on the Y axis while the independent variable is on the X axis. It works on the assumption that the independent variable causes the dependent variable to change. After being plotted, dots will be seen and from these dots a best line of fit is drawn to establish whether the relationship is positive or negative and whether it is strong or weak. Once the relationship has been established (the slope of the best fit line), it can be used to make general predictions on how the dependent variable will change based on any movement of the independent variable (Biswas 2015).
This is a graphical tool for depicting all the inputs, actions taken, and the outputs from the actions in a system. Inputs are production factors such as materials, equipment and labor; actions are the manner in which inputs are combined and utilized to add value while outputs are the services or products through action on the inputs. This process map will be useful in helping in understanding of processes; it depicts containers, products, or operator action sequences and can be used as the starting point for making improvements as they help identify opportunities for improvements, according to Kehoe (2012)
This will be used in classifying variations based on whether they are due to special causes or common causes; special cause variations pertain to variations caused by assignable causes for example if an untrained person works on a highly specialized process. A common cause variation pertains to those due to how processes were designed, for example what is seen when many people work in a process; each person does things differently or slightly differently. In the chart, the Y axis has the metric of interest while the X axis contains the time or a factor of time, such as the number of runs or lots. Three statistically computed lines, using historical information, show the difference between the control chart and the run chart; the three are the center line which is the mean for the metric of interest, the upper control limit which is the metrics’ mean - (minus) 3 x the metric standard deviation, and the lower control limit which is the metrics’ mean + (plus) 3 x the metric standard deviation (Kehoe 2012).
Gemba Kaizen for Continuous Improvement (CI)
The 7 QC tools will be used severally and repeatedly to attain true CI; to achieve this continuity, the Gemba Kaizen method for continuous improvement will be used. It simply means continuous improvement and is used for workplace harmonization, elimination of work that is overly hard, and to teach people how to make out and eliminate wastes in processes, in addition to continuous improvement. Gemba Kaizen is a continuous cycle with seven phases that include opportunity identification, process analysis, optimal solution development, solution implementation, evaluation of the results, solution standardization, and finally, planning for the future (Haghirian 2010).
Project Management Methodology
This report will use the agile project management framework in which solutions are developed and tested and results evaluated in an incremental way. This will blend well with the POTI framework, along with the use of Gemba Kaizen and the 7QC Tools, according to Bell (2016).
Looking at the challenges and problems presently faced by Latino Engineering, it is obvious there are structural and personnel challenges that need to be addressed. This report proposes the evaluation of the company’s blueprint and development of a vision using the POTI framework. To attain CPI and solve its problems, it is proposed that the 7 QC tools are the most suitable for establishing causes, prioritizing actions, and establishing relationships between causes and effects. Continuous improvement will be achieved by using the Gemba Kaizen framework within the context of the agile project management methodology to ensure quality is improved over time based on metrics and facts derived from the application and use of the afore mentioned tools.
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