Root Cause Analysis: Wednesday the cat and a dead mouse
It’s a scene that’s all too familiar to cat owners, a live mouse running around the house! But what has this got to do with understanding process improvement? Well get ready for a wild ride as I tell you the tale of our recent mouse-catching adventure.
It all started when my daughter and I heard a strange noise coming from our study. We were stumped, but after some investigation, we discovered mouse droppings! The chase was on, and we knew we had to come up with a plan. Of course, I’m a process expert, I’ve got this.
I came up with a genius idea: let’s lure the mouse out into the open by building a mouse trap, just like in the game! We got to work and created the ultimate mouse-catching machine. We set the trap and waited anxiously.
The mouse came out and it felt like the victory was ours, however, the expert in me had to eat humble pie as the mouse managed to jump over the trap and ran away into the depths of the house.
This started me thinking away about process improvement and I concluded that I needed to improve the process by building a higher trap. An error on my part as I did not stop to think about the root cause of the problem! An error we see so many businesses make.
So, lets retrospectively stop and consider root cause analysis:
Firstly, hunting and killing small animals is an instinctive behaviour for cats. They have an innate desire to hunt and kill prey, which is a behaviour that has been shaped by their evolutionary history. Cats are natural predators, and hunting is essential for their survival. Even though domestic cats don’t need to hunt to survive, this behaviour is still present in their genetic makeup.
However, while hunting is an instinctive behaviour for cats, leaving a dead mouse lying around is not. This behaviour could be due to a few different root causes.
- One potential cause is that Wednesday (our cat) simply wasn’t hungry. Cats hunt for more than just food; they also hunt for entertainment and exercise. That’s Wednesday all over. If Wednesday caught the mouse but wasn’t hungry, maybe she lost interest and left the mouse behind.
- Another possible cause is that Wednesday was trying to show off her hunting skills. Domestic cats often see their owners as their “pack,” and leaving a dead mouse as a gift could be a way for the cat to show its loyalty and skill to its owner.
Regardless of the specific cause, finding a dead mouse in your house can be unpleasant and that’s what happened the following morning!
After analysing the root cause, we need to consider countermeasure, things we can trail to change the process.
Here’s what we have done so far:
- Made sure that Wednesday is well-fed and doesn’t need to hunt for food.
- Provide Wednesday with plenty of toys and playtime to fulfill her hunting instincts.
- Considered getting more bells for her collar to make it easier for prey to detect her approach.
In conclusion, jumping to solution mode when a process fails is actually a failure in process improvement. You need to analyse the root cause and develop countermeasures and then check and adjust the effect on your process. Im in the check and adjust stage right now and this blog topic may continue!
Process Improvement – The quest for a Circular Star trail image and video
Lean process improvement, or as I like to call it for this story, “the quest for the perfect star trail image,” can be a challenging and rewarding pursuit.
It’s a bit like exploring a new galaxy: you’re bound to encounter some unfamiliar terrain, and there may be some unexpected obstacles along the way. But fear not, intrepid space adventurer! With the right tools and a willingness to learn from your mistakes, you can capture the beauty of the cosmos in all its circular glory.
Now, before we dive into the nitty-gritty of process improvement, let me share a little story with you. I have a passion for Sci-Fi, photography and the stars. In fact, I recently set out to capture my own star trail image using the techniques I’d learned through my reading. And let me tell you, it was quite the journey.
First, I had to learn a whole new language, filled with terms like aperture, aspect ratio, and depth of field. It was like learning a new dialect of intergalactic code. But once I had a handle on the basics, I set up my camera and started taking long-exposure shots (30 s), one after the other, for hours on end. 4 hours to be precise!
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, I downloaded and processed the images, stacking them on top of one another, eagerly awaiting the circular star trail of my dreams. And what did I get? A few measly dots in the sky, barely connected by an almost-horizontal line. Not exactly the stuff of interstellar legend. Take a look, do you see anything in the bottom left of the image?
But here’s the thing about lean process improvement: it’s all about trial and error. So, I went back to the drawing board, checked my process, my settings, and looked for the problems. The problems we threefold, incorrect settings, camera pointing in the wrong direction and a battery could not sustain 4 hours of continual photographs. I adjusted my process, made a standard check sheet for the settings, worked out where celestial south was and got power to the garden. And the next time around, I got a little bit closer to the circular star trail I was after.
And the time after that, even closer still but the clouds got in the way! But the next time, even closer still with the image to the left.
So, what’s the lesson here? Well, for starters, process improvement is all about identifying the root cause of a problem and working to address it. Maybe your camera settings aren’t quite right, or your technique needs a little tweaking. Whatever the case may be, it’s important to approach the problem with an open mind and a willingness to learn.
And don’t be afraid to make mistakes! After all, even the most experienced space explorers encounter some unexpected turbulence from time to time. The key is to keep experimenting, keep refining your process, and keep your eyes on the stars. Who knows? With a little persistence and a lot of determination, you just might capture the perfect circular star trail image.
And finally, let me introduce the final video:
A Journey towards Lean Process Improvement
In today’s fast-paced business world, organisations are always searching for ways to optimise their processes and increase efficiency. The concept of “Lean” has gained immense popularity in recent times, as it offers a systematic approach to continuous improvement.
At Go True North we are a leading business process improvement consulting company that help organisations implement Lean principles and achieve their desired outcomes. Our team of experts works closely with our clients to identify areas for improvement, and then implement changes that lead to measurable results. In fact, we have consistently delivered a 700% return on investment for our clients that engage in our Lean process improvement efforts.
The Lean philosophy is centred around the idea of eliminating waste and maximising customer value. This is achieved through a series of continuous improvement efforts, which help to streamline processes, reduce costs, and improve the overall customer experience.
Our Lean process improvement specialists utilise a range of tools and techniques, such as value stream mapping, root cause analysis, and 5S, to help organisations identify and eliminate waste. We also help our clients establish a culture of continuous improvement, where employees are empowered to identify and suggest changes to processes.
One of the key benefits of working with Go True North is that our approach is truly a win-win-win for everyone involved. Our clients see significant improvements in their processes and bottom line, their business grows as a result of our successful implementation, and their teams are able to take pride in the work they do and the positive impact they have on their clients.
Another important aspect of our approach is that we work closely with our clients to ensure that the changes we implement are well-integrated into their overall business strategy. This leads to improvements that are aligned with the organisation’s goals and vision and helps to ensure long-term success.
At Go True North, we believe that continuous improvement is a journey, not a destination. Our team of experts are dedicated to helping our clients achieve their desired outcomes, and we work closely with them every step of the way to ensure their success.
In conclusion, if you’re looking for a partner to help you optimise your processes and achieve your desired outcomes, look no further than Go True North. Our Lean process improvement consultants are here to help you navigate the journey towards a more efficient and effective organisation.
To learn more about how Go True North can help your organization, call us today at 1300 920 543 or Book a free consult.
Let’s work together to drive real change and achieve your desired outcomes.
Lean principles are an important component of any business’ success. They consist of as set of principles, tools, and techniques that help companies eliminate waste and drive efficiency. This blog post aims to answer the most frequently asked questions about lean principles and practices, so that you can make informed decisions about how to best apply them in your own business.
What Is Lean?
At its core, lean is a methodology that focuses on continuous improvement. It is designed to eliminating wasteful activities within the production process, thereby creating value for customers through increased efficiency and quality. Lean also seeks to create an environment where employees are empowered to find solutions to problems as they arise and take ownership over their own work.
How Can I Implement Lean Principles in My Business?
The implementation of lean principles requires a commitment from everyone involved. When introducing lean into your business, it’s important to ensure that everyone understands the goals of the process and why they are important. This can be done by setting clear objectives, communicating regularly with employees, providing ongoing training and support, and rewarding positive behaviour. Additionally, it is essential to establish metrics that measure performance and track progress over time to ensure continued success.
What Are The Benefits Of Implementing Lean?
The benefits of implementing lean include improved customer satisfaction through better quality products or services; increased employee engagement due to greater job satisfaction; reduced costs due to improved processes; improved efficiency through streamlined processes; improved communication between departments; and improved overall profitability as well as sustainability in the long-term.
Lean principles are an invaluable tool for businesses looking to improve their operations and increase efficiency while reducing costs. Through clear objectives, regular communication with employees, ongoing training and support for those involved in the process, as well as rewards for positive behaviours—lean can be implemented successfully across any business model or industry. By understanding what lean is all about, businesses will gain insight into how they can best utilize these principles in order to better their operations while continuously striving for improvement—ultimately leading them toward greater success!
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Our improvement scorecard has been developed to quickly and painlessly produce a score based on your answers. In under 5 minutes, you will generate results with tailored tips on how to IMPROVE CUSTOMER VALUE.
When it comes to Lean, your Improvement Score is a strong indicator of success. The Improvement Score measures the level of improvement achieved and can be used to track progress and identify areas for further improvement.
No gimmicks, no time-wasting, just some simple yes/no questions to set you off on your personal growth journey!
Have you used our Free Improvement Scorecard to inform your decision-making process in Lean? Try for free now at https://bit.ly/3XPwj6y
I recently visited the UK and had a wonderful Christmas present, Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds immersive experience. This experience had a unique mix of live action, multisensory effects and virtual reality bring the Martian adventure to life and all set to Jeff Wayne’s iconic score.
Like any “Process Improvement Nerd” I observed the whole experience from the check-in process through to the customer feedback loop and what impressed me the most was the use of Visual Management.
Lean can be an effective tool to increase efficiency and productivity, but visual management plays a crucial role in its implementation. Visual reminders of goals and progress can help employees stay on track and build momentum towards success.
So how did this weave its way into the War of the Worlds? Well right from the start we were given colour bands to represent out timed allocation for starting the two-hour experience. The Martian’s eyes in the bar would light up to indicate your groups session was about to begin. Throughout the experience as we transitioned through the 24 different scenes, and I observed lots of visual cues that the cast used to keep the flow of the adventure.
Lean can often be misunderstood, but Visual Management is key to making sure it succeeds. Employers need to have systems in place that use visuals or symbols to help people remember and understand goals, tasks and processes for their employees to successfully implement Lean. What strategies have you used for visual management in your organisation?
So, you’re not sure how your business is performing when it comes to Measuring your process improvement performance?
A true Win-Win-Win will only exist when striving for new ways to work together to improve processes and amplify Client value.
Our new business improvement scorecard has been developed to quickly and painlessly produce a score based on your answers. When generating the improvement score, we take into consideration the growth category of Process Improvement. The primary question to answer is “Is there a framework for process improvement and is there a suite of tools in place?”
One way to improve your lean process improvement is to start by conducting a thorough evaluation of current processes.
Do you want to learn more then Take the Scorecard!
So, you’re not sure how your business is performing when it comes to Measuring your improvement capability?
We advocate learn by doing throughout the whole organisation, ensuring that it works best for each team member to increase capabilities.
Our new business improvement scorecard has been developed to quickly and painlessly produce a score based on your answers. When generating the improvement score, we take into consideration the growth category of Capability and Development. The primary question to answer is “Is there core capability in the organisation to deliver process improvement?”
One way to improve your lean capability and development is by implementing process improvement techniques.
Do you want to learn more then Take the Scorecard!
So, you’re not sure how your business is performing when it comes to Measuring your strategy and alignment?
It is vital that your organisation from the leadership team to frontline workers, are aligned towards the same goal so that long-term success is achieved.
Our new business improvement scorecard has been developed to quickly and painlessly produce a score based on your answers. When generating the improvement score, we take into consideration the growth category of Strategy & Alignment. The primary question to answer is “how well is your strategy developed and does everyone have line of sight on how their role contributed to the strategy?”
Do you want to learn more then Take the Scorecard!
So, you’re not sure how your business is performing when it comes to process improvement.
You’re probably familiar with the business improvement cycle: identify a problem, develop a solution, implement the solution, and measure the results. But even if you’re good at following this process, it can be hard to know whether you’re making progress. Without a scorecard, it’s hard to know where you stand and where you need to improve.
Our new business improvement scorecard has been developed to quickly and painlessly produce a score based on your answers. We developed the Business Improvement Scorecard as an online tool to help our clients identify the gaps categories of improvement.
When generating the improvement score, we take into consideration these key growth areas:
- Strategy & Alignment
- Capability and Development
- Process Improvement
We will discuss this growth areas in future blogs.
In the meantime, does your business actively engage in process improvement? Take the Scorecard and find out!
Sometimes the simplest Lean concepts can make all the difference in identifying areas for improvement.
Take the humble spaghetti diagram used to plot the path taken by a product as it travels through the steps along a value stream. The visual tool enables teams to identify redundancies and wasted in a process flow.
A visit to the Gemba (where the work is done), a simple drawing and you’ve got your spaghetti chart.
A recent example of an organisation that had such an experience is Henna Street Framers, a Victorian based bespoke framing company. As a part of their Lean journey, one of the first steps was to create a spaghetti chart of the assembly process for framing.
As you can probably imagine from looking at the actual hand drawn image, it was clear that there were a number of bottle necks, as well as double handling of product throughout the manufacturing process. With this information under their belts, Ella and the manufacturing team overhauled the layout of the assembly area while focusing on flow, elimination of waste and standard work, amongst other improvements.
The results speak for themselves – in just 12 months the team have reduced their lead time for production from 8-12 weeks, to under 4 weeks. Thanks in no small part to a deceptively basic lean practice that anyone can use.
We have loved working with the team @Henna Street Framers and am so proud of the positive transformation Ella has delivered.
Is your gut telling you that your business needs improvements, but you are just not sure what you need? Contact us now to book a complimentary face to face meeting to discuss your requirements.
After a successful year of putting their hoshin plan into action, the “Epic” team from The Summit, reflected on how far they had come in just 12 months.
One of the positive outcomes that stood out to them was “Busy, busy, busy!” When reflecting the team recognised that they managed to stay calm, focused and made strides towards their bigger 3-year goals, even with a big increase in their business.
Their journey, like the “N” our new logo, was not a straight ascent to the literal summit. It was a navigation though the learnings along the way. Did everything go smoothly in the deployment of the strategy for the Summit this year?
Absolutely not, but the reflection, willingness to learn from the descents along the way and a little coaching have truly paid off. While success can often appear to be driven by luck or fate alone – this hardworking group knows better: it takes grit and perseverance in order reach your objectives. Their dedication has propelled them further than ever before! They kept their heads down, worked hard but smartly until their collective efforts, aligned to their true north, were rewarded with tangible results. It’s a great reminder that success can come from staying organised and avoiding those pesky procrastination habits!
Congratulations to all at the Summit on achieving a success with your hoshin strategy deployment. By concentrating and investing in key initiatives, you’ve set an example for the many to follow – leading to real growth and alignment!
Remember that having a plan in place is essential for any endeavor you embark upon; don’t let anything stand between yourself and victory! If you want to learn more around our Hoshin Strategy Development and deployment services, then book a 30-minute chat online @ Go True North or call us on 1300 920 543.