Problem solving: what was the last change?

This post could be a sequel of “Yeah, problem solving” in which I used Peter Senge’s quote: “Today’s problems come from yesterday’s solutions”. Quite often people we consultants meet are puzzled by a problem they can’t understand: a reliable process or machine suddenly seems out of control, steady performance dropped unexpectedly and with no apparent … Continue reading Problem solving: what was the last change?

Redefining “problem” (with Goal in mind)

In problem solving or continuous improvement workshops a problem is usually defined as a gap between the actual situation and the desired situation, and thus a problem causes an unsatisfactory situation or an UnDesirable Effect (UDE). This definition, while true, is somewhat too vague to be useful when working on solving problems and continuous improvement. … Continue reading Redefining “problem” (with Goal in mind)

The Logical Thinking Process – An Executive Summary (Book)

Bill Dettmer, my friend and mentor often cited on this blog, wrote his 9th book “The Logical Thinking Process – An Executive Summary” that is now in the final stages of the publishing process. This book will be much smaller in size and number of pages than the famous “The Logical Thinking Process: A Systems … Continue reading The Logical Thinking Process – An Executive Summary (Book)

How to identify the constraint of a system? Part 4

Since the publishing of early books on Theory of Constraints, the world grew more complex and the system’s constraint got more and more elusive. Globalization and extended supply chains give a constraint opportunity to settle literally anywhere in the world and extend its nature. It can be a physical transformation process in a supplier’s facility, … Continue reading How to identify the constraint of a system? Part 4

Continuous Improvement: Prevent frustrations related to the S curve

When implementing some solutions, like in continuous improvement, project managers better take care about the frustrations related to the S curve. The “S curve” is the shape of the performance curve over time. It describes a latency (t1) before the performance p1 takes off after the improvements have been implemented, then a more or less … Continue reading Continuous Improvement: Prevent frustrations related to the S curve

Could Six Sigma have more harmed than helped?

I started my career in the heyday of Total Quality Management (TQM) in France, beginning of the 1980’s and witnessed over the following years how the TQM trainings and deployments built a quality-aware culture in the companies and spread to everyday’s life. Over time though, other “Japanese Methods” became fashionable and the hype was on … Continue reading Could Six Sigma have more harmed than helped?

The fallacy of bottom-up Lean initiatives – Part 1

Yes, Lean initiatives can be started bottom-up, but I doubt they’ll get very far and last for long. Here is why. Bottom-up Lean initiatives, e.i. improvements, are opportunities for improvement found by shopfloor people, line leaders or shop management. “Improvement” is most often understood in a broad meaning and bring up suggestions ranging from make … Continue reading The fallacy of bottom-up Lean initiatives – Part 1