Implementing a continuous improvement program is an important step toward increasing productivity. Having your plant manager and executives look at data from your processes hourly gives you greater visibility of performance issues across your operation. This added insight is valuable; however is your team properly interpreting the data in order to know the right course of action for a given problem?
Statistics can be subjective. Even people trained in statistics and process control can easily misinterpret performance results, leading them to make a change in the process that actually does more harm than good. This is one of the reasons continuous improvement programs often end up spinning their wheels, expending significant time, effort, and money without making progress.
A common mistake when interpreting performance data is to rely on averages without accounting for variance. Jumping to conclusions based on averages alone probably won’t solve your issue and will more likely make the problem worse. You must analyse variation, not just the difference in sample averages, and understand what might be driving the variation before adjusting the process.
Statistical challenges also arise when processes have multiple inputs because there are relationships and interactions between the input variables. In these cases, changing one factor at a time will not lead to a solution because there is a combination of variables at play. Not only do you need to nail down the primary inputs and how they should be set but also control the interactions that are important to that process.
Issues like these can cause a continuous improvement program to stall, chasing symptoms without addressing the root cause of the issue.
Proudfoot can help you perform a statistical scientific evaluation and assessment of complicated processes and make better use of your data to ensure that changes are truly leading to improvement. Not only will we accelerate your continuous improvement program, we will also drive the behavioural transformation that will ensure results are sustainable over time.