Before any organization embarkes on an improvement program its important to take stock of its current position.  This is for two reasons, firstly in order to quantify improvements that are made, secondly and perhaps most importantly to ensure the appropriate timing to introduce improvment activity. 

However, what data should the organization capture, what can provide quantative information which can both  highlight problem areas whilst providing assurance that subsequent changes deliver value.  The list below describes an indicitive list of the start point of measures

  • Defects produced
  • Takt Time
  • Cycle Time 
  • Lead Time
  • Inventory Levels
  • Cost of quality
  • Productivity
  • Resources

The other issue is how to capture this data.  One excellent method of capturing the business as is position is to produce a Value Stream Map.  Value stream maps capture the material and information flow within an organization and provide a mechanism for capturing information about current processes and most importantly current problems.

Other methods exist also, from existing scorecards through to financial reports – the important step is to ensure that some data is gathered.

 Failure to analyze before you start could cause a number of problems

  • Failure to identify areas requiring improvement
  • Failure to proove that improvement activity results in benefits
  • Failure to idenfity correct approach to solve problem
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