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Monday Morning Message on Lean – Lean and ISO

December 20, 2010


I have been lucky enough to be working with a government agency that is implementing a new system. As part of the implementation we are using Lean tools like Value Stream Mapping and quality tools like SIPOC (Supplier-Input-Process-Output-Customer) diagrams, Fishbone (a.k.a. Cause and Effect, or Ishikawa) diagrams along with creating procedures and measures that would comply with the ISO 9001 Quality Management System standard.

One of the things that struck me was when we were looking at particular tasks and used the Value Stream Mapping data point of Accurate & Complete (a.k.a. Complete & Accurate or C&A) is that we could go a little further to make this even more relevant. To me, A&C is one term, meaning that the information given to you has to be accurate and complete or else it is a defect. Think of it as First Pass Yield (FPY) for information. I usually ask the participants to give ma an estimate based on a percentage. I’ll ask “out of 100 or out of ten how many times are you missing information or the information is incorrect?” Then I will ask how many times out of 100 do you ever hear back that what you did (your process) was missing information or had wrong information? I call this the feedback number. I invented this years ago when I realized that when value stream mapping in office, service or healthcare functions, when a mistake is introduced into the system it may be several steps down the value stream before anyone notices. Sometimes the person that finds the error just fixes it and the person who made the error never finds out. Other times, they send the error back for correction and this takes additional resources and time. All of this can be seen as waste.

While we were discussing A&C, the comment came up that it is extremely important in this case that the reports are also timely. These reports relied on information being entered into the system by a certain time so that others could use the data and generate other important reports. If the information is late either the reports are delayed or they may go out missing important information once again reducing A&C. This made me think of (leader) standard work from David Mann’s book “Creating a Lean Culture”. So I began to think that we needed to create a new VSM data point like “% Late” or “% On-time”. This may be a way that we could monitor this complex process through the ISO 9001 Quality Management System using VSM measures & metrics.

I know that Toyota or other lean companies do not have to have ISO 9001 certification, but for some companies, pursuing ISO 9001 is a good idea. I think that in the world of Lean we could help out by streamlining the processes, reducing waste and helping create a better QMS.

What do you think? Do Lean and ISO 9001 go together? Let me know your thoughts.

Thanks, Tony

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