Continuous improvement is a primary requisite for an organization to sustain the consistency of quality in products, processes, and services which are aimed at accomplishing incremental improvement over time. The development of tools and techniques for addressing the concerns of continuous improvement in the context of an organization can be realized through the application of the four-step quality model known as the PDCA cycle which refers to Plan-Do-Check-Act. The application of the fishbone diagram as a viable technique for the identification of the root cause of the problems identified in this specific context could be observed in the report. The term continuous improvement has to be addressed concerning the case of Latino Engineering to address the issues identified after the recent acquisition of the company by an investment group (Anshin, 2014).
The background of the report could also be associated with the identification of profound issues such as defects in engineering equipment, the long turnaround time for resolution of issues, nonresponsive customer service teams; poor follow-up with clients, and delivery of wrong equipment to clients (Caron, 2016). The complaints were profoundly observed from clients that increased gradually over time thereby leading to concerns from the senior management to address the issues. The review of the scenario has to be aligned with the intended objective of Continuous Process Improvement for deriving explicit inferences into the application of appropriate tools and techniques for anticipating the root causes, elimination of the root cause, and ensuring that the root causes are subject to explicit control in the long term (Chandrakumara & Rao, 2016).
The strategies used for addressing the root cause could be identified in the application of the six sigma approach to identify critical success factors for the continuous improvement process. The pictorial illustration of the continuous improvement plan could facilitate flexibility in determining the textual overview of the procedure for identifying causes of issues for Latino Engineering and implementing a continuous improvement plan to address the same.
The continuous improvement plan for the case of Latino Engineering has to be designed with the use of a POTI diagram which would illustrate the factors of processes, organization, technology, and information required in the continuous improvement process. The POTI diagram facilitates the impression of the accessible infrastructure for Latino Engineering to implement a continuous improvement plan (Chapman, 2017).
The desired performance levels of Latino engineering have to be associated with the acquisition of engineering competencies.
The workforce should be apt in technical specifications for the profession.
Reforms in processes such as production and distribution are imperative.
The existing organizational structure of Latino Engineering has to be reformed
Changes in the process aspect of the continuous improvement plan can be realized through effective HR practices such as recruitment, training, and development of competent human resources (de Moraes, 2016).
Inclusion of new computer systems for the development of information systems.
Profound changes to the existing technology systems such as production
Accommodation requirements could be identified in the form of including additional warehouses for the inspection of products.
Machinery requirements imply updating existing machinery infrastructure to address engineering equipment (Djoudi, et al., 2015).
New networks for customer relationship management and effective tracking of inventory.
Employees are required to acquire skills in the following areas:
Proficient skills in engineering for addressing production insufficiencies
Verbal communication skills and proficiency in the English language
Cultural changes are required in the form of participative involvement of leaders
Staffing levels should be addressed with particular references to the improvement of recruitment in monitoring departments (Galván-Cruz, et al., 2015).
Training needs that should be implemented in the context of the case of Latino Engineering’s continuous improvement process refer to the improvement of communication abilities and production management competencies.
The requirements of information in the context of the continuous improvement plan would also have to be established in the scope statement.
The reports regarding client feedback would facilitate the account of progress obtained from the continuous improvement plan.
The new data requirements would refer to the distinct attributes for which customer satisfaction is declining.
The specific attributes include references to estimated root causes such as the lack of structural management, irresponsive customer service, and minimal responsiveness of the organization to change in ownership.
The textual overview of the continuous improvement plan has to be derived from the basis of three distinct aspects. As per Galvan, et al, the continuous improvement plan would reflect comprehensively on the factors such as basic quality tools implemented for continuous improvement process in the manufacturing activities of Latino Engineering and the implementation of the six sigma approach to ensure lean manufacturing outcomes based on critical success factors (Galvan, et al., 2015).
Seven basic tools for quality checking otherwise referred to as the 7QC framework was developed as an outcome of the initiatives of Japan to address the concerns of the quality revolution. The industrial program reforms were largely based on the outcomes of the 7QC framework which facilitated opportunities for statistical and graphical techniques for addressing quality-related issues identified for the organization. The tools could be applied flexibly since it requires a basic understanding of statistical technique for addressing complex quality-related issues (Guercini, 2014).
The flexibility of applying the framework across different industries and all processes of the organization ranging from product development to the delivery phases could also be accounted as a notable reason for considering its application in the case of Latino Engineering. The notable 7QC tools refer to stratification, histogram, check sheet, fishbone diagram, Pareto chart, Control Chart, and scatter diagram. A basic understanding of the individual tools would provide insights for adopting a relevant technique for identifying the root causes of problems experienced by Latino Engineering.
The stratification approach for the estimation of quality issues in manufacturing could be realized through the classification of data into different sub-categories based on division, class, levels, and group which facilitate insights into functional information for the assessment of the problem. According to Haried & Huang, Histogram is used for analyzing data concentrations for specific distributions that complement the understanding of distinct factors that emerge consistently in the context of the issue encountered by Latino Engineering (Haried & Huang, 2016). The use of a histogram, in this case, would be helpful to determine the intensity of individual complaints identified on behalf of the clients of the company. For example, the frequency of complaints regarding defective engineering equipment and the delivery of wrong equipment could be estimated effectively from the use of a histogram for quality checking. The application of histograms as a quality control tool would help Latino Engineering to prioritize the issues in production management.
It can be identified that the frequency distribution of customer complaints regarding irresponsive customer service and defective equipment is higher in the case of Latino Engineering which should be prioritized in the continuous improvement plan. The application of a check sheet or a tally sheet in the case of Latino Engineering would help derive an impression of metrics in a structured format about the issues in the manufacturing process of the organization (Ibáñez-Forés, Aragonés-Beltrán & Bovea, 2015).
The objective of a tally sheet is directed towards listing the specific events in the production process to account for the frequency of their occurrence thereby leading to a detailed apprehension of defect patterns and root causes for the patterns. As per Galván-Cruz, et al, the objectives for a continuous improvement process for the organization should be aligned with the outcomes from a tally sheet that can be applied to identify the defects such as missing components, labeling errors, issuing of wrong items, failure to comply with quality tests and rusted items in the products of Latino Engineering (Galván-Cruz, et al., 2015).
The utilization of cause-effect diagram or the fishbone diagram is utilized for defining the possible causes responsible for a particular quality issue identified in the manufacturing of an organization. The fishbone diagram can facilitate a clear impression of the root causes in the context of the case of Latino Engineering from the distinct perspectives of people, methods, materials, measurements, environment, and machines (Kassim, et al., 2016).
The quality problem identified in this case refers to the depreciation of the quality of engineering equipment facilitated by the company and this can be accounted as the effect from the fishbone diagram. People aspects in the case of Latino engineering that can be accounted as causes in the diagram include communication barriers and improper management. The introduction of new senior management with the retention of a large share of the existing workforce can be accounted as a formidable reason for inducing conflicts in change management thereby leading to disparities in communication. Method aspects of the causes refer to outdated technology, lack of planning, and poor prioritization of tasks in the production process.
The measurement aspect of the causes identified in the fishbone diagram for Latino engineering reflects the lack of short-term goals, lack of accountability, and limited progress tracking (Korhonen, 2015). The organization has recently undergone a major change in senior management which has not implemented any substantial changes in the organizational structure. The senior management has not established any credible monitoring schema for tracking the progress of the manufacturing process or delivery of the finished products which leads to quality problems. The aspects of machines in terms of causes could be identified in the lack of maintenance of the existing machinery, energy crisis, and frequent machine breakdowns.
The environmental aspects which could be assumed as root causes for quality issues, in this case, refer to the prominence of industrial health hazards and the higher probabilities of workplace accidents. The materials aspect in the fishbone diagram could be reflective of defects in supplier items, limited raw materials, and a lack of buffer stock to address alternative production approaches. As per Marle, Vidal & Bocquet, the use of a Pareto chart in this case could also be comprised in the 7QC framework which would help the project management to identify the trivial causes responsible for the majority of the problems experienced by the organization (Marle, Vidal & Bocquet, 2013). It can be apprehended that resistance to change and insufficiencies in organizational management are major factors for quality issues in production. On the other hand, addressing these concerns would have the maximum impact on the resolution of defects. The application of a scatter diagram could provide a pictorial representation of the association between the overall effects i.e. the problem and the causes.
A process control chart is used for determining the stability of a specific process under particular conditions (McBride, 2016). The application of quality-checking tools and techniques such as fishbone charts, Pareto charts, and histograms provided insights into the quality issues in the production of engineering equipment. The factors which have been primarily identified as root causes for the problem experienced by Latino Engineering in its production management comprise of lack of proper management, insufficiencies on the supplier side in terms of quality of parts, and the resistance of the existing human capital of the organization towards change. Based on the identified root causes, critical success factors would have to be estimated that could assist in eliminating or reducing the root causes and illustrated as follows.
The identification of critical success factors is necessary in the case of Latino Engineering to address the issues observed as outcomes from the 7QC framework. According to McKenna & Whitty, the implementation of the Six Sigma approach for the resolution of quality issues in production can be realized through consideration of the DMAIC framework that allows the definition of the problem, measurement of key milestones, analysis of data, improvement in current processes and effective control over the processes (McKenna & Whitty, 2013). The six sigma approach applied in the case of the concerned organization would be initiated with the design phase that reflects on client feedback regarding the products which could be monitored effectively to ascertain the specific problem areas and the root causes.
The measurement phase could be applied in this case through the use of process control mapping and a Pareto chart to identify the major sources of problems and access relevant data about current processes in production. Data collected from the measurement phase has to be incorporated into the analysis phase in the Six Sigma approach through the use of measures such as Root Cause analysis and process map to ascertain the varying impacts of root causes on the entire production process of Latino Engineering (Neizvesnyj, Kharitonov & Rogozina, 2013).
The analysis phase is followed by the improvement phase which is concerned with the design of experiments that could tailor new projects for improving the quality of the existing processes. Improvement in the case of Latino Engineering could be realized through a comprehensive reflection on the critical success factors alongside the implementation of mandatory reforms required in the existing production framework of the organization (Ogunsanya, Aigbavboa & Thwala, 2015).
The final stage in the implementation of the six sigma approach in the context of the concerned case organization is the control phase that leverages the outcomes of variance analysis and descriptive statistics based on customer feedback to implement control over the quality issues in the improved production and delivery frameworks.
The critical success factors that must be considered in the case of Latino Engineering could be observed in the involvement of management, project selection, control skills of the management, training, continuous education, and promoting acceptance of cultural changes. However, Rozenes said that the organization must emphasize considerably the commitment of management, cultural change, and training for addressing or eliminating the root causes of the production issues experienced by the organization recently (Rozenes, 2013).
The change in the senior management implies a drastic cultural change within the organization which is largely influential on the responsibilities of individual employees in the organization. The organizational commitment must be aligned with the business strategy and values of Latino Engineering based on the vision of its founder Dominic Latino.
The probable outcomes from the application of the six sigma approach could be observed in the improved control over labeling and delivery of finished engineering equipment, changes in organizational structure implying drastic changes in the HR department of the organization, and technological reforms through the inclusion of systems for information management. These factors are responsible for inducing short-term benefits for the organization which could be observed in the resolution of the pressing issues for Latino engineering such as defective engineering equipment, nonresponsive customer service, and delivery of wrong engineering equipment (Singh & Lano, 2014).
The improvements in the production apparatus through maintenance of existing equipment and introduction of updates through addressing modern machinery and heavy plant requirements could resolve the issues arising from defects in engineering equipment. The impact of the changes in organizational structure could facilitate effectiveness for monitoring the business activities thereby leading to higher productivity. Emphasis on critical success factors such as organizational commitment could be assumed as a significant entity for ensuring prolific long-term outcomes such as cultural alignment of the workforce to accomplish the organizational goals (Ogunsanya, Aigbavboa & Thwala, 2015).
The employees could become acquainted with the new management through the application of experimental frameworks of bilateral communication to improve labor-management relations. Furthermore, the management could be able to apprehend the human resource requirements and ensure that the aspects of customer relationships are improvised throughout a continuous improvement process. The implementation plan has to comply with the constraints of time i.e. 3 months in the case of Latino Engineering and can be presented in the form of a Gantt chart as follows.
|Phase||Month 1||Month 2||Month 3|
The report presented a comprehensive impression of the six sigma approach to production management of Latino Engineering with a profound illustration of tools and techniques used for identifying the root causes of the problem. The report also presented recommendations for addressing the root causes through the six sigma approach alongside anticipating the critical success factors that would ensure that the outcomes are sustained in the long term. The final section of the report presents an implementation plan citing the short-term and long-term benefits of the six sigma approach to production management for Latino Engineering supported by a timeline for the completion of the individual stages.
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