A friend of mine – Satish – forwarded me an email on “How the Indian Industry is managing quality?” :
The concept of “exactness”, propagated by Yoshikazu Tsuda, the professor of quality, is an effective concept for controlling process variations. Tsuda, who transformed clustering in India, drew up a plan for companies to start the cluster journey with “exactness”, followed by daily work management.
Exactness is the starting block of quality. It requires that each company pursuing quality practises daily work management. Exactness of operations comes through exactness in man, method, material, machine and environment. These conditions must be exact enough to achieve daily targets consistently.
… The 5Ss are five Japanese terms: seiri (separating required tools from the rest), seiton (neatly arranging tools and markings for easier identification), seiso (clean-up campaign), seiketsu (to conduct the above three regularly), and soitsuke (forming the habit of following the first four).
Exactness in checking, measurement and feedback given to each work station, the method of maintenance and the skill level of the operator all play equally important roles. For instance, if certain process parameters need to be measured, say, the temperature of oil, the location where the sensor is planted and made available to the operator must also be exact.
I am about half-way through a Black Belt program on Six Sigma and, since the beginning of my own journey on the quest for Quality, I have come across countless examples of Quality at work. Many organizations have successfully demonstrated benefits resulting from improvements in their approach to Total Quality Management. And interestingly, I have also had the wonderful opportunity to track the progress of some projects on Six Sigma / Quality, specifically in the context of Financial Services.
My own view? There is still a long way to go before these methodologies can be fully leveraged in the context of the Service industry. My own experience with 5S at work will bear testimony to how “irrelevant” some of these concept may seem in our day-to-day work-life.
The principles are sound, but many of them have their roots in Manufacturing. In a Service economy, we are still at the stage where there seems to be no direct correlation (or causation) between an untidy workplace and overall customer satisfaction! Though, that’s not the case.
Here’s hoping we get there sooner, rather than later.