Friday, November 18, 2016

QMS True North

When navigating by map and compass, it is important to be aware of magnetic declination. The
magnetic north is not located at the North Pole, so more than likely, your compass is not truly pointing north. You need to adjust your compass reading and account for the difference to find True North. Knowing where true north is can make a big difference in getting to where you want to be.

True North in Lean Manufacturing
In the world of Lean Manufacturing, True North is also important.  As you start out your lean journey, you will begin with a Value Stream Map of your current state. From the current state, you will decide what your desired state should be in order to achieve the future state. Getting to the future state is a journey, and you need to make sure you are moving in the right direction. With True North, you set up parameters and milestones to keep you moving towards your future state. You act tactically to achieve strategic goals. Performing a True North analysis will detect any deviation from your strategic goals.

True North in Quality Policy
ISO 9001:2015 requires strategic thinking. Your company’s quality policy and objectives must be aligned with your business strategic goals. Just like with Lean Manufacturing, you should have a future state in mind with your Quality Management System (QMS). Management reviews need to make sure QMS stays aligned with the strategic goals and objectives of your organization.  As with the lean True North analysis, your Management Review should contain the same analysis with parameters, milestones and metrics to ensure you are not veering away from True North.

To maximize efforts, both lean and quality initiatives should be integrated into your overall business plan. Your True North analysis should incorporate both the Lean and QMS aspects.
If you don’t have a defined future state in either lean or quality, there is no one better to contact for assistance than the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center. We can show you how to integrate both Lean and Quality in your Business Plan to propel your company towards a Future State of growth.

To learn more about lean and quality services at The Center, call 888.414.6682, click here, or visit the-center.org.


About the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center
Since 1991, the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses to successfully compete and grow. Through personalized services fitted to meet the needs of clients, we develop more effective business leaders, drive product and process innovation, promote company-wide operational excellence and foster creative strategies for business growth and greater profitability. Find us at The-Center.org.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Think Strategically, Act Tactically With ISO 9001:2015


You are in business for a reason. One of those reasons involves the successful setting and achieving of long-range goals. And, in order to achieve those goals, strategic plans were executed.  From a business standpoint, tactical day-to-day operations, which are short term, need to support the strategic plans of an organization. This includes items such as scheduling, training, lean programs and an effective Quality Management System (QMS).

ISO 9001:2015 and Strategic Direction
ISO 9001:2015 has several places where it refers to “…the strategic direction…” of the organization. For example, in clause 5.1.1 under Leadership, it states that top management demonstrates leadership by, in part, “ensuring that the quality policy and the quality objectives are established….and are compatible with the context and strategic direction of the organization.” Also, in clause 9.3.1 under Top Management, it states that top management will ensure “alignment with the strategic direction of the organization.” The ISO 9001:2015 mentions of the organization’s strategic direction is not just limited to these two clauses. In fact, it is embedded throughout the entire document.

Full Integration is Key
The new ISO 9001:2015 standard ensures that QMS requirements are integrated into the business processes by top management. QMS should not be viewed as just an add-on.  It should be a fully integrated part of the business model. As you are planning changes in your operation, regardless if those changes are a result of a lean initiative, six sigma project, new website or quality initiative, you need to review those changes strategically. You need to ask yourself: Are these changes consistent with the strategic direction? Will these changes impede our long term goals? Will the ripple effect have a negative impact on the strategic plan?

It is way too easy to veer from the strategic plan with small decisions. Keeping the strategic direction in mind while performing the tactical will go far in achieving those long term goals you set to achieve. Think strategically and act tactically!

Let The Center Assist You
If your manufacturing company is ISO 9001 certified or considering achieving this credential, let the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center help. Our experienced facilitators can guide you through the process of earning and maintaining your ISO 9001 certification. To learn more, call The Center at 888.414.6682 or click here.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Implementing Lean Six Sigma

implementing lean six sigma

If you are interested in optimizing your organization’s capabilities and efficiencies to produce the best quality output possible at the lowest cost, it’s time to adopt Six Sigma methodology. Six Sigma is a measurement-based strategy for process improvement and variation reduction that utilizes DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control) as a road map to successful implementation. It is a systematic, team-oriented approach that will result in a more user-friendly workspace while streamlining operations, increasing value and reducing waste.

Benefits of Six Sigma
When implemented correctly, Six Sigma guarantees a sustainable, reliable system that increases your organization’s revenue and allows for production of products and services to be completed faster without compromising quality.

The advantages of implementing Six Sigma methodology are endless and include:
·       Increasing revenue
·       Decreasing costs
·       Improving efficiency
·       Developing quality employees and teams

Implementation Guidelines
Once an organization has decided to implement Lean Six Sigma, the first step is getting all employees on board in adopting the methodology. Although Six Sigma is a rather simple concept, its effectiveness relies on the team’s dedication to the continuous improvement process, as it is an ongoing process of change and development.

Manufacturers can simply implement Lean Six Sigma by:

1.     Deciding the areas within your organization that need the most improvement.

2.     Educating leaders in every functional level within your organization of the necessary changes/policies that will be implemented.

3.     Ensuring your employees are on board and positioned adequately to effectively carry out the program’s incentives.

4.     Implementing an effective measurement system for each aspect of your organizational production process, as measurement is key to evaluating what areas need to be improved upon.  

If the employees within a facility can fully understand and execute the components of Lean Six Sigma, any manufacturer can be successful in improving their efficiency, quality and customer service.

Let the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center Assist You
Interested in beginning your Six Sigma journey? Call The Center today to learn more about the courses offered and schedule your free assessment. To learn more, visit our Six Sigma Services page.


About the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center
Since 1991, the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses to successfully compete and grow. Through personalized services fitted to meet the needs of clients, we develop more effective business leaders, drive product and process innovation, promote company-wide operational excellence and foster creative strategies for business growth and greater profitability. Find us at The-Center.org.