PROCESS IMPROVEMENT PROGRESS CHARTS
In a process improvement study, improvement progress charts are to be made.
Maynard and Stegmerten
When a job is studied in great detail operation by operation, a number of suggestions for improvement will almost inevitably be made. Some of these will be adopted and put into effect at once. Others will be held up pending the decision of another department or supervisor. Still others will require experimentation to determine their feasibility, or several suggestions affecting the same point will have to be tried out to see which is the best.
As a result of this, the exact status of a study at any particular moment is often uncertain. This is particularly true if the study is being made by a group. When several people are involved, it is more difficult to keep their efforts pointed in the same general direction and to give them the same understanding of the progress of the study and its present solution status. In order to avoid working at cross-purposes, the group should pause from time to time to review what has already been accomplished, what is pending, and what remains to be done.
The process study progress chart is a device that can be used for this purpose. It shows clearly and in a related manner the status of the job and of each operation of the job at the moment the chart was drawn up.
Typical Progress Process Charts. The progress process chart, or progress chart, is commonly prepared in two different forms. It may be drawn in the same manner as the operation process chart, or it may be a mere tabulation.
Figure 31 in Chap. VII ( Maynard and Stegmerten) showed the operation process chart that was prepared at the beginning of a study of the manufacture of an electric-clock motor and drum.
The operation process chart form of progress chart has certain definite advantages. It is in the same form as the operation process chart previously prepared and hence can be readily interpreted by anyone who is familiar with the operation chart. Further, it shows the operations in. order and in. their relation to one another; since the suggested changes on one operation often affect other operations,
this is highly desirable.
The other form of progress chart in tabulated form is shown by Fig. 107. This chart covers the stamping for which the flow chart, Fig. 36 of Chap. VIII, was prepared. The tabulated form
of progress chart possesses the advantage of being easy to prepare, since the whole chart may be made on a typewriter. If the job that it covers is fairly simple, this form is entirely satisfactory.
Uses of Progress Process Charts.
The use of the progress chart in connection with methods studies made by a group has already been pointed out. When the job is at all complicated and a number of different changes are contemplated, it will prove desirable to prepare an up-to-the-minute progress chart immediately before each meeting. If each group member has this chart before him, it will inform him of what has been accomplished on
those phases of the study with which he himself is not connected and will prevent much unnecessary discussion and comment. Free discussion should, of course, be encouraged at all meetings, but it should be discussion that will develop new ideas rather than a review of what has gone before.
The individual analyst will also find the progress chart a useful tool. It is seldom that a methods study can be started and carried through to a conclusion without interruption. Sometimes the methods study of a job must be carried on in conjunction with regular, routine rate-setting work. Again, because
progress is often halted while information or a decision is being awaited, methods studies of several jobs may be conducted at the same time. In any case, it will prove helpful from time to time to construct a progress chart to show how the methods study stands and to make sure that future efforts will be directed
The analyst will in addition sometimes be questioned by his supervisor or other interested individuals concerning the accomplishments that are resulting from his studies. .A progress chart will answer such questions clearly and will enable the analyst to show what he is doing.
The purpose of this volume has been first to give a general description of the various techniques of methods engineering and their relation to one another and then to discuss in some detail the procedures employed in connection with the first and a very important step of methods study, namely, operation analysis.
It will be seen that operation analysis is an entirely practical subject. The analyst, far from dealing with theoretical considerations, seeks for practical result-getting improvements. The various tools that he uses operation process charts, flow charts, the analysis sheet are designed principally to guide his
thinking and to keep clearly before him the points that he should study and seek to improve. The real accomplishments, however, are made by the analyst himself rather than by the tools that he
uses. No chart or form will take the place of sound reasoning and constructive thinking.
The examples given of improvements that resulted from operation analysis were taken from a number of different industries. Many kinds of operations performed on many kinds of products were described. It is impossible, of course, to include all operations encountered in industry, but it is hoped that enough have been given to show once and for all the baselessness of the "our-work-is-different " attitude.
To the analyst, all work is much the same. The externals are different, of course, for every job studied, but there are many fundamental points of similarity. In most cases, a part is picked up, worked upon, and set down. Certain motions are employed that are common to all jobs. If they can be improved on one job, they can be improved on many jobs.
Analysis work is not limited to methods engineers but may be conducted by anyone who is interested in bringing about job improvement. If the analysis work is done systematically in accordance with the procedure described in this book, more will be accomplished than if the work is done haphazardly. Anyone connected with industry can apply the procedure outlined, for there is nothing particularly difficult or technical about it. The trained observer with a background of previous experience in
making improvements will undoubtedly accomplish more than the man making his first analysis, for he will be able to recognize many possibilities for improvement at first glance and will know
the action to take that will be most effective in getting the improvements made. The beginner should not be discouraged by this, however, for he too will accomplish more as he becomes more experienced, and the only way experience can be gained is by making a number of analyses.
A group consisting of a superintendent, design engineer, foreman, inspector, group leader, and perhaps others, led by an experienced methods engineer, when formed for the purpose of
studying a job in which all are interested, will accomplish much. Each member will approach the problem from his viewpoint, and if the viewpoints are coordinated by capable leadership, the
results are likely to be much greater than an individual working alone can secure.
A methods study properly made consumes time and effort. Most industrial supervisors are so loaded with responsibilities and duties that they may find it difficult to give time to operation analysis. Nevertheless, the time should be found and used for that purpose. Progress is essential if an industry is to maintain its competitive position. Therefore, the type of analysis work that leads to improvement and progress is also essential. Just getting work out in accordance with an established routine is
not sufficient. To advance, the work must be put out better today than it was yesterday and better still tomorrow.
Any industrial executive or supervisor who has the interests of his company at heart should, therefore, devote a portion of his time to analyzing the work that comes under his supervision and
to improving it. Current problems are important, but at least 5 to 10 per cent of a week's time should be set aside for seeking improvements. If each supervisor of an organization will do this and will conscientiously do his best to make changes that will reduce waste and increase productive effectiveness, the organization will soon attain an enviable position.
Management has a certain responsibility in this connection. It should encourage the* search for improvements; it should consider all suggestions made, adopting as many as seem practical;
and, finally, it should reward outstanding accomplishments as an incentive to further effort.
It should be remembered that any job can be improved if sufficient study is given it. This is literally true. There may be jobs here and there that cannot be improved further, but the authors have rarely encountered them. If they exist, they may be considered to be the exceptions that prove the rule. Throughout industry there are countless opportunities for improvement. Every operation in every plant offers a challenge. It can be done better. The problem is to find out how. Operation analysis is
a method of finding out,
Updated on 5 May 2018, 1 November 2013