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44 The PCB Magazine • November 2015 to guide anyone toward "right" action—the real purpose of good/meaningful data. Identifying What to Measure Our experience in the field indicates that a good starting point for deciding what to mea- sure is to look at the systems that most impact your customers, your people, and your suppli- ers. These three areas are the three legs of the stool we call business. Importantly, you will want to identify the 20% of the systems in each area that are producing 80% of the problems or issues you are experiencing. Once these systems have been identified you can begin to create priorities. Remember, we can't fix everything all at once, nor should we try. One reliable way to identify stressed systems is to measure the stresses imparted onto people who work in or are directly affected by poor systems. In setting priorities, look for systems that are "early" in the process. For example, fixing design or manufacturing engineering will gen- erally produce greater overall benefit than fix- ing shipping. Functions early in the process will tend to leverage good stuff throughout the or- ganization. Second, look at the handoffs between de- partments, shifts, key employees and so forth. Normally you will see that your biggest prob- lems are in the handoffs. This is because the first 15% of any system is the most critical to its function, both good and not so good. If you get the first 15% right, the rest will fol- low. In handoffs, whatever is handed off from a system is usually the first 15% (inputs) to the next system. If you don't get this right, there is no chance of fully optimizing the receiving system. How to Measure Even if you identify correctly what to mea- sure, if you don't measure properly, the data will take you in the wrong direction, buoyed by faulty conclusions. While it takes a little more time on the front end to get your data collection correct, there is a huge payoff in your systems optimization efforts. I have a little saying I use to describe leaders and managers who are great firefighters: "No time to do it right; plenty of time to do it over." In quality and systems im- provement, the slow road becomes the fast road and vice versa. It takes time to create a check sheet where the complexity is in the tool, not in the hands of the data collectors. Yet, once the proper data collection tool is created and people trained in its use, we get both the data we need and people using the tool correctly. Now comes a critical question. Who is re- sponsible for what and how we measure? This should be the people doing the work: frontline staff, marketing and customer service personnel, the receptionist, the guy sweeping the floors on third shift. You get the idea. If your quality or IT departments are responsible for what and how things are measured, you will get more of what you have now within a range. For sustainable quality and systems improvement, a systems- based approach for doing work must become the way you and your people work. Yes, for leaders and managers, too. Basically, the depth of change in any organization will be gated by the amount of growth in leaders and managers. No growth = little sustainable change. Starting with Something Different than SPC If you are Toyota, Honda, or another com- pany that is steeped in systems-based leadership and management, forget about everything I'm about to share. However, if you're having dif- ficulty creating and maintaining your quality culture and systems, what follows may be quite helpful. THe PoWer oF DATA: THe MoST IMPorTAnT QUeSTIonS Any LeADer MUST ASK FeATure " one reliable way to identify stressed systems is to measure the stresses imparted onto people who work in or are directly affected by poor systems. "

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