4-Step Solution

...solve problems & capture opportunities

4-Step Solution

Improvement projects are completed using the Momentum 4-Step Solution...an intuitive, lean and structured problem solving approach to effectively and efficiently solve problems and capture opportunities. The 4-Step Solution includes 4 basic improvement steps and supplemental improvement tools that are scalable to deliver effective solutions for small incremental improvements, large breakthrough improvements and new opportunities…fully compliant and harmonizing with ISO 9001, ISO 13485, FDA GxP, Six Sigma DMAIC, PDCA and PMBOK industry standards.  The 4-Step Solution simplifies and accelerates continuous lean improvement to build and sustain global excellence...quality aligned with business strategy.

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”  - Albert Einstein

The 4-Step Solution includes 4 Basic Improvement Steps that capture fundamental baseline knowledge for any improvement project and Supplemental Improvement Tools that can be used to enhance problem solving as needed.

 

1. Problem/Opportunity

2. Root Cause

  • Cause-and-Effect Analysis​

  • Lean Analysis

3. Action Items

  • Change Control

4. Effectiveness​

  • SMART Goals

  • Statistical Process Control (SPC)

  • Quality Control Plan

  • Verify Sustained​ Date

  

 

4 Basic Improvement Steps

The 4-Step Solution includes 4 basic improvement steps that capture fundamental baseline knowledge for any improvement project.

  

       

1. Problem/Opportunity

 

Provide a clear and concise problem/opportunity statement. A clearly defined problem/opportunity statement is an essential starting point to an effective solution.

  • Define | The problem/opportunity statement is used to clearly define a problem or opportunity. This should include customer requirements (internal and external).

  • Measure | Supporting data to measure the impact of a problem or opportunity can be attached and viewed (e.g., voice of the customer, risk impact, financial impact, process map, capability assessment, Pareto chart, etc.). Leverage data from your organization's established enterprise reporting system to assure alignment with KPI's and leadership priorities​.​

    

2. Root Cause

 

Define the root cause of the problem. If the root cause is not readily apparent or there may be multiple root causes, consider using the Cause-and-Effect Analysis for in-depth root cause analysis to solve the problem. When there are several “possible root causes”, select the “actionable root causes” and assign the key action items necessary to achieve a successful solution. Lean Analysis can be used for in-depth process analysis to reduce waste and improve process efficiency.

     

3. Action Items

 

Assign and complete the key action items necessary to address each actionable root cause. Improvement begins when action is taken. Consider actions such as a Kaizen event, DOE-design of experiments, etc. Continuous lean improvement is supported with a concise and effective action items feature to assure visibility and accountability of action items...accelerating improvements to achieve desired business results. Momentum Change Control provides collaboration for relevant interested parties. Change control validation plans assure that appropriate process changes, documentation, approvals and training occur prior to implementation...reducing risk and promoting buy-in for smoother changes. 

    

​​4. Effectiveness

 

Verify that all required action items were completed and were effective in addressing each root cause to achieve a solution. Was the problem solved? Was the opportunity captured? The SMART Goals can be used to confirm that specifically defined goals were achieved. Effectiveness can be readily sustained using Statistical Process Control (SPC), Quality Control Plan and/or Verify Sustained. Most importantly, improvements are verified effective and sustained to assure ongoing excellence even as business environments change.

Supplemental Improvement Tools...built-in expert guidance

Continuous lean improvement requires learning and developing skills from many different sources and bodies of knowledge...such as quality, six sigma, lean, project management, enterprise software and more. Momentum Supplemental Improvement Tools are used to enhance the ability to solve problems and capture opportunities. For each supplemental improvement tool, built-in expert guidance provides a starting point to apply the tool effectively, accelerate improvement and minimize the need for training. Supplemental improvement tools are accessible as a visible checklist for every project...helping to guide selection of the "right tools for the job". Momentum Supplemental Improvement Tools are available to use as needed and include:

  • Cause-and-Effect Analysis​

  • Lean Analysis

  • Change Control

  • SMART Goals

  • Statistical Process Control (SPC)

  • Quality Control Plan

  • Verify Sustained​ Date

 Cause-and-Effect Analysis

Your team of subject matter experts analyzes the issue (Gemba Walk, Process Flows, 5 Whys). Use the below Cause-and-Effect Diagram (bullet list) to identify and document possible root cause(s). Select the highest priority "Actionable Root Cause(s)" to assign Action Items for Improvement.

  • 5M+E+D Man, Machine, Material, Method, Measurement, Environment and Design.

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 Lean Analysis

Utilize Lean tools to identify opportunities to reduce waste in the process (e.g., Value Stream Mapping, 8 Wastes, Poka-yoke mistake proofing, 5S, etc.). Select the highest priority Lean improvement opportunities to assign action items for improvement.

  • Value Stream Mapping​​ Value stream map to provide an overview of an entire process, starting and finishing at the customer, and analyzing what is required to meet customer needs.

  • 8 Wastes​​ DefectsOver ProducingInventoriesUnnecessary ProcessingUnnecessary MovementUnnecessary TransportWaitingSkills.

  • Poka-yoke Mistake Proofing​​ Mistake proofing (poka-yoke) to make errors impossible or immediately detectable.

  • 5S​​ 5S to create a workplace suited for visual control. The 5S quality tool is derived from five Japanese terms beginning with the letter "S" used to create a workplace suited for visual control and lean production. The pillars of 5S are simple to learn and important to implement.​

    • Seiri To separate needed tools, parts, and instructions from unneeded materials and to remove the unneeded ones.

    • Seiton To neatly arrange and identify parts and tools for ease of use.

    • Seiso To conduct a cleanup campaign.

    • Seiketsu To conduct seiri, seiton, and seiso daily to maintain a workplace in perfect condition.

    • Shitsuke To form the habit of always following the first four S’s.

 

 Change Control

By definition, improvement cannot happen without change. For this reason, Change Control is integrated into Step 3 Action Items. Change Control should be considered for improvement projects that have higher financial value, higher risk rating or multiple relevant interested parties that need to collaborate for smooth implementation. In addition to improvement projects, the Change Control tool can be used to centrally manage change control enterprise-wide. It is recommended that an enterprise-wide Change Control Team be established to identify, approve and document appropriate change control prior to changing high value processes.

 

 

 SMART Goals

Some things are too important to be left to chance. SMART goals are useful when very specific results must be achieved.  SMART goals help to avoid misunderstandings and are especially useful when critical, high value projects are at stake. Successful achievement of SMART goals confirms that the solution was effective. SMART goals are integrated into Step 4 Effectiveness since the achievement of SMART goals represents an effective solution. If SMART goals are not specified, the default goal is to simply follow the 4 basic improvement steps to effectively address the root cause(s) and solve the problem.

  • SMART SpecificMeasurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound.

 

 Statistical Process Control (SPC)

Define the statistical process control for sustaining improvements (control chart, inspection system stability monitoring, etc.).

 

 Quality Control Plan

Define the quality control plan for sustaining improvements. The quality control plan is essentially a checklist of process steps and actions required to make sure things get done right the first time and are sustained.

 

 

 Verified Sustained Date

Verify sustained date allows setting a future date to verify that improvements are sustained. Verify sustained date is useful for sustaining critical processes, sustaining processes subject to drift (low Cpk) or when improvements cannot be immediately verified. Verify sustained date is essentially a strategic audit scheduled for a future date to assure that high value improvements and processes are sustained.

 

 

The 4-Step Solution is an “Improvement Toolbox"

With its 4 basic improvement steps and supplemental improvement tools, the 4-Step Solution serves as an “improvement toolbox” providing best practice problem solving that can be utilized by project leaders at all levels to consistently deliver effective solutions for small incremental improvements, large breakthrough improvements and new opportunities. By opening the same toolbox for each improvement project, a familiarity develops for using each tool. Of course, improvement professionals are free to use additional tools if desired. Supplemental improvement tools are accessible as a visible checklist for every project...guiding selection and use of the "right tools for the job". Employees at all levels gain proficiency at applying these improvement tools to build and sustain the momentum of excellence.

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Create More Improvement Leaders...build momentum at all levels

The 4-Step Solution uses intuitive terminology...promoting better understanding at all levels with less reliance upon training. Continuous lean improvement skills and effort should not solely be relegated to the select few highly skilled problem solving experts in an organization...but should be accessible, understood and frequently used by process owners at all levels. Wider participation in continuous lean improvement at all levels leverages collective knowledge and creates more leaders that contribute and build upon the momentum of continuous lean improvement.

Sustain Excellence

Most importantly, improvements are verified effective and sustained to assure ongoing excellence even as business environments change.

  

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