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Global 8D problem solving is the heart of an Enterprise’s continued success in improving product design, process and system

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Problem Solving is the heart of an enterprise continued success in improving product design, processes and systems that enables all organizations operational and system functions for systematization of objective performance to achieve profit requirements.

 The success of an organization in today’s rapidly changing demands and environment necessitates the development of knowledge capital to drive and meet the rising performance requirements at a increasing accelerating rate.  Already the high level of information accumulation at all level of society is accelerating.  This has resulted in a great knowledge gap disparity between information availability and the ability of today’s resource seeking enterprises to harvest potentially available solutions that already exist in science but not yet in technology, and in technology but not recognize.

TRIZ Innovation & Creativity

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TRIZ is a Russian made Inventive Problem Solving approach which in recent years has increasing emerged as a very powerful tool to make a significant contribution to close the many gaps between discovery, science, technology and applications.  As a problem solving tool, TRIZ organizes the thinking processes to systematically, examine a problem (product design, process failure, system and organization dyfunctions) using a methodological approach to seek clever solutions that have been blocked by our own psychological inertia as well as the continued reliance on inadequate thinking process.

In the design world, the needs for time compression from idea conception in creative innovations and technological development must comply with today’s fast speed race to succeed.  Organization that are able to achieve this will accumulate knowledge capital for technological development.

Workflow Factor As A Lean Workflow Measure

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One of the most important Lean Workflow Measures is Workflow Factor. The Workflow Factor measures how Lean the work process is. By definition the best Lean Workflow Factor is 1 as given by the following ratio:

Workflow Factor = Total Process Workflow Time / Standard Process Time

The Total Process Workflow is normally a given Delivery Cycle Time from Start to Finish. That is, from the beginning of the first process to the end of the last process.

Normally, Workflow Factor is measured by:
Wf Factor = Total Workflow Cycle Time / Total Standard Process Cycle Time

For example:
Wf Factor = 12 Days X 24 hours / 120 hours = 2.4

In other words, for every standard hour of work, the actual workflow time taken is 2.4 hours.

Defining the hours for each day run is a necessary requirement for a proper understanding of the use of one day’s hours. One work day may be defined as:
8 hours;
12 hours; or
24 hours.

The time taken for each order completion in terms of days depends on the hours worked per day, the number of shifts and duration of each shift.

Batch Flow Workflow Factor:
For a given order size, a batch workflow will usually have a poorer Workflow Factor. This is because of Accumulated Cycle Time, Waiting Time, Delay Time, Logistics Time, QA Inspection and Approval Time, etc.

Continuous Flow-Workflow Factor:
For Continuous Flow in small quantity such as a basket size, container size, bundle size or even one-piece quantity, the Total Workflow Cycle Time for an average order size will be smaller. This is because of the overlapping cycle time of smaller quantity flow concurrently at the same time, resulting in a shorter Total Process Workflow Cycle Time.

One-Piece-Flow Workflow Factor:
Flow at one-piece at a time tends toward a Workflow Factor of 1, provided that the work process is short and well connected to subsequent processes with a balanced process cycle time. Achieving one-piece-flow does not necessarily attain a Workflow Factor of 1 if the production line is unusually long and the process cycle time is subject to occasional cycle time imbalance. Occasional Cycle Time Imbalance can result in a Line Loss of up to 30% capacity even in a one-piece-flow line.

The use of a Cell-Line of about 12 operators comprising not more than 12 different operations can provide better control to secure balanced production time for reduced loss due to waiting, imbalance, delay, transfer, handling, etc.

What then constitutes a Lean Workflow? As a guide, the following measures can be used to gauge how well your production line is doing with respect to lean implementation:

Workflow Factor
Above 1 and up to 1.5 = Good Lean Line
Above 1.5 and up to 2.5 = Standard Lean Line
Above 2.5 and up to 5.5 = Average Production Line
Above 5.5 and up to 10.5 = Fair Production Line
Above 10.5 = Bad Production Line

For more information on Workflow Factor and Line Design for One-Piece Flow,
contact the author, Mr. C. H. Wong (Email: chwong@aprc.com)