In this TQM article, I shall share with you what role can a Team Leader play in order to lead a TQM Team to success. Data Verification is a success factor to TQM Improvement project. This TQM article is a case study of a TQM implementation project for Reduction in variable cost. It provides an insights of the importance of Data Verification and the role of the Team Leader to ensure it is done effectively.
Which phase in the D.A.I.C. Improvement Methodology call for Data Verification? It is stated in the ANALYZE Phase as in my previous article titled : TQM Implementation Project published on May 13, 2006 02:48:20 pm.
Just to recap, Data Verification is a sub set tool in the Fish-Bone diagram and Why-Why Analysis tools. As both of these tools brainstorm possible causes of a problem, it needed to be verified before any action is taken. This is to ensure the team does not work on something which is not real. Hence Data Verification is carried out to ascertain the possible causes are quantifiable with fact.
I have several discoveries during my hand-holding project. In several occasions, team members confirmed the possible causes based on their memories or past experience. They assumed things would not changed hence confirmed the possible causes as true. Due to this assumption, the team leader, in most cases, consented to the judgment made by the members. Consequently, the team spent unnecessary time on these so called true causes. By the end of the project, the team do not see any improvement result after implemented solution to these true causes.
During a project progress meeting on 18 May 2007, the following conversation were captured. Below are some of the conversion between Team Leader (TL) and the team members(TM) :-
TL: We ought to verify several possible causes as brought up during the brainstorming of Fish-Bone diagram one month ago. Team member please report the progress.
TM1: The usage of mild steel nut has been high over the last 6 months. I have checked the usage and it was meant to replace worn out nut.
TL : Did you verify why the replacement quantity was high?
TM1: Yes, the worn out was caused by dirty nut during the work process.
TL: Besides dirty nut, did you investigate what else could cause the nut to worn out?
TM1: Oo… the impact wrench pressure setting was the same for all sizes of nut. Hence, it is over tightened for smaller size nut.
TL: Why is it so?
TM: Because the worker set to the highest pressure.
TL: What is the reason for worker to set to the highest pressure?
TM: Worker are not trained.
TL: Naturally, the solution is to provide training for these workers, right?
The Team Leader could have accepted the progress report and move on. However, after some deliberation, the team leader has decided to witness the situation herself with the team members.
Below are their new discovery:-
1) The usage of nuts was high over the last 6 months.
2) Most quantity consumed belongs to 3/4 inch size nut
3) 2 out of 6 new nut tested for fitness failed.
4) Impact wrench was set to maximum because the air hose to the wrench leaks which caused weak air pressure.
From the findings, the solutions generated are as follows:-
a) set up quality check on purchased nut;
b) repair air hose;
c) Training worker on pressure setting. This round of decision differs from the initial decision to train the worker.
Summary: When conducting data verification, team cannot rely on past record alone as thing could have changed over time. Team leader has to play a bigger role to ensure the integrity of data verification. If need be, personally involved to understand the situation based on current state of affair.
Disclaimer: This article is written by the author based on his practical application experience. All definitions and interpretation of terminology are his point of view and has it has no intention to conflict with experts in similar topic. The author holds no responsibility for the use of this article in any way.
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