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Identifying the root causes through use of techniques and tools

Discuss about the Continuous Improvement Plan.

The main objective of all organizations is to make profits and by extension to satisfy the needs of their stakeholders. However, in this case, the study of Latino Engineering, from the start, it was on the right track and that is why it has been afloat.  But, the company has taken a nosedive since the takeover, and there are several reasons underlying the failure of this company.  Businesses do not just fail, but they fail when something goes wrong, perhaps in the management, or poor quality (Limwichitr, Broady-Preston, & Ellis, 2015.P.483). Therefore, this paper would examine the problem in the case study of Latino Engineering and provide a solution that the company can adopt to recover.

Use of tools and Techniques

First, to identify the root causes of this problem, in this case, the first tools to be used are 7QCs tools.  These tools include flow chart, check sheet, Pareto diagram, Cause-and-effect diagram, Scatter plot, histogram, and Control chart (Oakland, 2014, P.345). These quality tools are critical in identifying what exactly happened at Latino Engineering. But, in this case, study, the most desirable tools are a Pareto diagram and Cause-and-effect diagram.

Pareto diagram

However, in this case, study, the tool to be used is the Pareto Diagram, but still, the remaining six are equally important. This tool is used arranges item in descending order to explain how each item is contributing to a problem.  The tool is used importantly in explaining and identifying a problem and also to develop a plan for an improvement (Project Management Methodologies- PPMP20009, n.d, n.p). Using this quality tool, then the root causes of the problems in this case study can be arranged in the following:

Takeover- in this case, study, it is apparent that the Latino Engineering was founded and initially owned by Dominic Latino. The company was the doing well before the company was sold to an Investment group.

Poor quality- It is apparent in the case study that the designs are poor and defective equipment. With poor designs, defective equipment then a customer would always not trust the company, hence triggering business failure (Oakland, 2014, P.56). 

Poor customer care relations- Since Dominic Latino left the company and handed it over to the management of the Investment, it is clear that customers are not properly attended to as earlier. Wrong engineering equipment is delivered to them, the team dealing with customer is not responsive and this generally makes it impossible for a customer to patronize Latino Engineering.

Use of tools and Techniques

Ideally, the takeover is a common concept in business and organizations would always carry out for several reasons.  In this case study, the reason for the takeover can be termed a personal decision by Dominic Latino.  It was within his right as the company owner to sell it to another person. Therefore, if a takeover is not a wrong practice, then the problem is the management that took over from Dominic Latino. Using this tool, it can be concluded that the management that took over was Dominic Latino is ill-prepared to run its activities.  Hence, the Investment Group management is the root cause of the problem the company is facing today.

During the reign of Dominic Latino, it is evident in the case study that the customers were happy and their needs were met. Nonetheless, since the takeover, the quality has worsened, even though the company retained some of the engineers. Perhaps, the retained engineers and the new ones are not working together as required. Or the new engineers are not qualified as presumed by the new Latino Engineering. Therefore, the root cause is the poor human resource is the reason why there is the use of faulty engineering equipment. The Investment Group should now reconsider the manpower they have to discharge their duties.  There is no way competent and skilled mechanical engineers can use faulty engineering equipment, and thus the company should know that some of the employees they have are not up to the task. Also, customers are receiving wrong engineering equipment, and this clearly demonstrates the laxity in the sales and marketing department.  In essence, the point is that the company needs to entirely look into the qualifications of their employees, so as to retain only those employees who are up to the task and sack those who failed in discharging their duties.

It is also intelligible that the service team does not understand the need to care for customers. They are not responsive, and that in all honesty discourages new and loyal customers. From the stakeholder theory, a company is supposed to attend to the needs of its stakeholders and if all stakeholders are satisfied definitely the company shall run profitably.  Unfortunately, the service team as indicated in this case does not care; hence it is another root cause of the problem.

The tool is used to show a relationship that exists between symptoms and its feasible causes.  This tool is simple because what an individual has to do is simply to relate the result and what could have caused the result.  In the case study, it is possible to identify the root causes of the problems the company is facing after the takeover by Investment Group.

Pareto diagram and Cause-and-effect diagram as critical quality tools

Using this tool, the focus is to know what led to the effect or result as witnessed in the case study. First and foremost, the tool asserts that equipment is needed to start a process and the process is carried out by people to bring a certain effect or result.  Thus, the main problem, in this case, is the equipment and it is very clear in the case study that they were defective. 

Secondly, the wrong equipment affected the process; hence the process used in this case study was wrong.  Also, since people or employees were involved in the process, then they are also a problem because they are the ones that allowed the use of wrong engineering equipment and used the wrong process that has resulted in loss of customers and poor quality.  Also, the people who are the employees at the company work with the management, to bring results it now justifies that the management is also not doing their work as expected.  In a nutshell, the tool in this used to identify the cause of the problem facing Latino Engineering.  Thus, using this tool, the root causes are faulty engineering equipment, wrong process and incompetent management and employees.

Lean Six Sigma

This methodology can use any of the 7QC tools as mentioned above.  In identifying the root causes the Pareto diagram and Cause-and-effect diagram were used and using these tools lean Six Sigma can be applied to reduce the root causes of the problems Latino Engineering is facing (Arnheiter, & Maleyeff, 2005, P.6). Basically, lean six sigma can be applied by any company like Latino Engineering to decrease waste, rid of actions not adding value to the company and also reducing time wastage (Chadha, 2017, p.40)

Lean Six Sigma are a set of methods that companies can apply to any manufacturing, transactional or service process to reduce waste, eliminate non-value-added actions and cut time. Combining "Lean" with "Six Sigma" can produce a program that brings both short-term results through the power of Lean, and long-term change through the power of Six Sigma (Salah, S., Rahim, & Carretero, 2010, p78). It is for this reason that many companies are turning to a combined Lean and Six Sigma effort. Ideally, separately lean is about a quick action that can be taken to correct a certain situation, whilst six sigma is about identifying the defects and doing away with them.  Thus, the lean and Six Sigma can be applied in this case to develop a plan that can reduce or eliminate some of the causes of the problems witnessed in the case study.

Plan to eliminate root Causes

Reorganization of the Service Team Department

First, the company will have to adopt lean management in the area of the service team.  As indicated using the Pareto diagram that customer care relations are frosty at Latino Engineering, the company would have to quickly convene a meeting where the management would have to make a few and quick changes in the service team (Sokovi?, Jovanovi?, Krivokapi?, & Vujovi?, 2009, P.40).  The case study has indicated that the service team is not responsive and generally customers are not pleased with the way they are treated.  Therefore, through the lean management, the company should sack the service team head, for failing to coordinate activities properly in his department.  Also, some individuals in the service team should be investigated on their dealings with the customers and those who slept on their job should be sacked so that serious and professional people can take over the vacant positions.

Using the Six Sigma methodology, the company defines some of the defects reported in the equipment used by the company’s employees.  The defects should be properly defined, measured and analyzed and according to TQM Six Sigma, every employee has a role to promote quality and service delivery at the company.  As a result, engineers who used faulty engineering equipment should be held to account as to why such equipment was used.   Those who would be found directly to have sanctioned the use of such equipment would have to resign so that the company hires competent mechanical engineers.   Additionally, the company will have to get rid of all faulty engineering equipment, and purchase new ones and if the supplier is the one delivering faulty equipment the company should get another supplier.   However, changing the supplier, sacking some mechanical engineers and making some changes in the top management should be a long-term change.

Communication Plan

Apart from improving service delivery and quality, the company would also have to hire PR services to sanitize its already tainted image. PR shall help the company develop a strategy that would redeem the image of Latino Engineering.  First and foremost, the company can display a poster at its location apologizing to its customers for any inconvenience caused to them and inform them that they are working towards improving and customer satisfaction.

Follow-Up and Evaluation

The new leadership at Latino Engineering would have to monitor the service team and evaluate weekly their operations.  The control stage is important in undertaking any project and therefore the company’s management would now have to get up increase monitoring and performance evaluation.  Also, the management would directly have to inspect the engineering equipment, so as to avoid the use defective ones.

Lean Six Sigma methodology for reducing root causes of problems

The CI plan for Latino Engineering is developed through the DMAIC methodology. DMAIC methodology is an improvement process in the Six Sigma and it is an acronym for define, measure, analyze, improve and controls.

Define- defining is about improving project goals with a focus on the needs and wants of customers.  The Investment Group will have to continue defining their improvement goals, to see how they can meet the needs and wants of customers.  In essence, for the company to run profitably it will have to define its improvement goals and stick to them.

Measure- the company would have to continue to measure its current processes and identify some metrics.  Measuring the current process and establishing metrics would help the company monitor its activities so that it can remain on course as it seeks to meet its achievement goals.

Analyze- the company would continue to analyze its current process to establish the problems as well as the causes (Lewis, 2016, P.67). Definitely, after establishing what the problems and causes are, then the Latino engineering would have to work towards getting solutions.

Improving- When analyzing, problems and their causes shall be established and therefore improving stage, would give the company an opportunity to get solutions to the problems.  On the improving stage, the Investigate group can revisit its implementation plan to guide it on some of the actions they can take to solve the problem (Burke, 2013, p.56).

Control- on this phase, the company would have to control the standardization of its processes and monitor all its processes so that all employees do what is right. Control rests solely on the management, and thus the company’s management will have to use the Pareto Diagram or the cause-effect diagram to analyze the progress or some problem in the company for action to be taken to correct the situation (Chadha, 2017, p.567).

In conclusion, the case study of Latino Engineering is a project that is almost failing but it can still be corrected. On the root causes, the management also is to be blamed for failing to carry out its roles of monitoring and standardizing processes and that is why there are cases of faulty engineering equipment and almost a dysfunctional service team.  However, following the lean management and Six Sigma to implement change, can assist the company solve some of its problems. Besides, the company should use DMAIC methodology as its CI plan, because it helps the company define measure, analyze, improve and control its processes and get solutions to its problems (Arvanitoyannis, & Savelides, 2007, p.56).


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