It seems to be part of human nature to save things; just in case. We want something in reserve that we can fall back on. We like the security. Inventory can serve such a purpose in our workplaces. When we see work in process, we might feel encouraged that there is work to do. We might also feel a bit intimidated or overwhelmed.
There is a lot of discussion in the industrial arena about Lean Enterprise and Six Sigma. Many times, it appears that authors promote their focus on one of these best practice approaches, and discuss the other as if it were a competing or opposing view. If we take a deeper look, however, we should see there is great synergy and value in appropriately combining these powerful approaches.
People that are viewed as good problem solvers are valued. We know they can help. They just seem to have a knack for figuring things out. In truth, we all have different abilities and skills, and some people ARE better at getting to the crux of the problem. But, how do they do it? Is problem solving a learned or innate skill?
An effective continual improvement program needs to include involvement from everyone in the organization. Achieving this level of cultural awareness takes time and must be nurtured employee by employee. One of the first questions that employees ask is, “What do you want me to do?” If we can’t define the roles we want employees to play when it comes to improving processes, how can we expect a cultural transformation to take place?
DMAIC comes to us from the Six Sigma community and PDCA comes out of the Lean community. 8D (Eight Disciplines) was developed by Ford Motor Company to solve problems. All three are valid roadmaps on which you can hang any of the tools for analyzing processes.