Years ago, I managed an insurance claims paying office. It was important not only to pay the claims correctly, but on a timely manner. The contract has provisions that if they weren’t we were penalize a fee that had to be paid back to the customer. The company serious with this intent had management participate in a seminar that addressed this issue. It was called Management by Objectives by Peter F. Drucker. I remembered learning this in college, then a blur, remembering bits and pieces. This four day seminar dissected the concepts and introduced practical applications. Little did I know, this class introduced me to Lean concepts before it was popular and it helped provide the base of what I needed to enter into the realm of Lean. Those of you who don’t know, Ed Deming learned from Drucker. Deming was hired by the Japanese to improve their car manufacturing production lines in a company called Toyota. I didn’t know this till I started taking classes in JIT Toyota Production Systems that it fell into place. Of course it led me into learning more about Goldratt’s Theory of Constraints, Gerber’s EMyth, and Motorola’s Six Sigma methodology that there rehashed and fortified in my American Production and Inventory Chain Society (APICS) classes. Without saying, there was a tremendous amount of information that micro-managed every single aspect of running a business, any business. Some use it in politics, others in dealing with personal life’s issues.
When this learning was reinforced by my current company not only having me take refresher courses in Lean but implementing these concepts in our daily operations to maintain our ISO Certification, I needed to simplify it into its basic form. Kind of putting it into a 25 or less word sentence type of thing.
My thoughts: Impossible.
So I started taking notes and reading everything I could find. Of course it got worse instead of better.
When I finally reached a point of exhaustion, I flipped the pages on my screen and found a colored graph that had the acronym DMAIC. Funny, because in my classes and pages of reading, the term “De –MAY- IK” was said and referred zillions of times. I even said it, but in my context, it was just saying it to be like others. It meant nothing because I was dissecting single celled portions of the theories that the heart and soul did not set in.
Define problem and identify the process
Measure Critical to Quality metrics
Analyze root cause
Improve by implementing solution
Control by sustaining gains.
Biddy-bang-biddy-boom. There it was. Took me 30 seconds to say over again and memorize. I mean,I had Catholic prayers that strung a list of ten times more words.
And for some reason, when this acronym etched in my brain, things started to fit into play. I started remembering things like: 5S, fishbone, statistical analysis; DOE, ANOVA, PCE, VA, NVA, VSM, Takt, Time and Motion, C&E, CTQ…list goes on and on.
Now I’m not going to say I’ve all of a sudden turned into a know-it-all, but certain revelations are satisfying and this start has opened my eyes to a world that I lived in but didn’t realize it ramifications.
Definitely, I’m going to dig deeper.