Quality is a habit. A habit which has to percolate down to the last part of the hierarchy in any organisation or ongoing project in order for it to be consistent. Some of the most acknowledged and prevalent methodologies adopted by industry leaders and top quality experts are :
- Kaizen Approach
- Six Sigma theory
- PDCA approach
Let us take a detailed look into those theories and how they can positively affect any business or an ongoing project
Start by identifying your SWOT, and ask yourself the following questions:
• What and where is the actual problem?
• Is there a context to this problem?
• What resources are available currently to fix this issue? Resources could include budget, tools, people — or all three.
• What is the most optimal way/approach to fix the issue with the resources available? If additional resources are required, how to go about gathering those?
• What are the KPI’s? How will you define whether or not the decided plan worked?
This is where you test the plan at a small-scale. This will result in minimal disruption to the overall service/business if the decided plan doesn’t work.
It’s important to be flexible during this stage. Be mindful that not everything will work out as intended, so be prepared to go back 1 step and revise the plan as you go. Make sure to maintain a success metrics/ KPI’s while implementing the plan
Time to refer back to the success metrics/KPI’s and analyse if the plan delivered desired outcome or not. If it didn’t, go back to stage 1: Plan.
Keeping in mind the agility and the concept of continuous improvement, this stage can be utilized to check if results were achieved and also to identify scope of improvement.
Were the desired positive results achieved? If the answer is ‘yes,’ then the decided plan can be standardized and implemented across the entire business.
Kaizen is two Japanese words. It translates to change (kai) to become good (zen).
Principles of Kaizen
Let go of assumptions
Remain proactive about problem-solving
Do not accept the status quo.
Let go of perfectionism
As you find mistakes, look for solutions
Build an environment where everyone feels like they can contribute
Do not accept obvious issues – ask why five times to get to the root cause of the issue.
Gather information and opinions from many different people.
Be creative and look for low-cost solutions and small improvements.
Never stop making improvements.
How Kaizen Could Benefit Your Business
For the majority of companies, there is a constant effort to reduce waste while also increasing quality. Kaizen helps with this but goes much further in terms of the benefits it offers companies that implement it.
With Kaizen, your focus is on creating a culture focused on teamwork and change, where everyone is encouraged to share their ideas. Team members are asked to make suggestions for improvement and ultimately when they see their suggestions being taken seriously, they’ll be happier in their jobs.
Kaizen focuses on improving products through better utilization of your current resources (your staff) to achieve small improvements on a continuous basis. By making small changes on a regular basis, you don’t have to worry about massive change or expensive investments to get the improvements you’re looking for.
As new improvements are made within the business and its processes, safety improvements are a natural extension. When new ideas to clean up and organize work areas are implemented, safety is improved.
Following Kaizen principles ensures you’ll create well-planned work areas and get rid of any operations or movement that aren’t necessary. It also ensures employees receive adequate training so that everything runs as smoothly as possible.
Everyone is part of the improvement process and implementation effort. There is no reliance on making huge changes at once or large amounts of capital. Ultimately, taking a series of small steps is not only more affordable and easier for the employees, but can add up to major changes and improvements in quality, efficiency, safety, and productivity that produce a positive impact on the company’s profit margins.
Six Sigma asserts that:
- Continuous efforts to achieve stable and predictable process results (e.g., by reducing process variation) are of vital importance to business success.
- Manufacturing and business processes have characteristics that can be defined, measured, analyzed, improved, and controlled.
- Achieving sustained quality improvement requires commitment from the entire organization, particularly from top-level management.
Features that set Six Sigma apart from previous quality-improvement initiatives include:
- Focus on achieving measurable and quantifiable financial returns
- Emphasis on management leadership and support
- Commitment to making decisions on the basis of verifiable data and statistical methods rather than assumptions and guesswork
Six Sigma follows the project methodology of DMAIC to increase efficiency of any existing business/project. It is a 5 step methodology which is as follows:
Define the system, the voice of the customer and their requirements, and the project goals, specifically.
Measure key aspects of the current process and collect relevant data; calculate the "as-is" process capability
Analyze the data to investigate and verify cause and effect. Determine what the relationships are, and attempt to ensure that all factors have been considered. Seek out the root cause of the defect under investigation.
Improve or optimize the current process based upon data analysis using techniques such as design of experiments, poka yoke or mistake proofing, and standard work to create a new, future state process. Set up pilot runs to establish process capability.
Control the future state process to ensure that any deviations from the target are corrected before they result in defects. Implement control systems such as statistical process control, production boards, visual workplaces, and continuously monitor the process. This process is repeated until the desired quality level is obtained.
It’s the right time to adopt a digital solution for the quality management of your construction project. We are here to help you develop this digital quality strategy and keep you updated as per the changing and continuously evolving construction industry.
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