The three D’evils!

What is it that comes as the biggest challenge in the way of an organisation towards success?

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There are, and can be, an infinite number of reasons. But the three D’s, or the three Devils, look to pose a serious threat for an organisation to succeed.

 1. Defects:

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When the effort and money go in fixing things which should have been done ‘right first time’, it is definitely going to cost an organization way more than it can assess! With every defect in the delivered item, it is losing the faith of the customer and it is needless to mention that eventually, it’ll lose the business.

Even, if an item is not delivered yet, then also the employees are on fixing spree, which is consuming time as well as money that could be better spent serving customers and strengthening the bottom line.

2. Delays:

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Just like defects impact business, delays are also not taken positively by the customers. Delays between the process steps cost time and money and can negatively impact  the productivity and profitability.

Within the organisation, delays may lead to frustration of the employees and when the delivery is impacted, it may frustrate the customer as well.

3. Deviation

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When the product or services have small to the large difference in the output, the confidence of meeting customer specifications/ needs goes down.

Think of the scenario where you are going to tighten a nut…but the bolt is not of the right size. It is going to stop your work. There are parts which are just right, while sometimes we get some parts which are too big or too small to be used.

Deviations are the unwanted difference in the output of the same process. Some amount of deviation is inherent and can be lived with…but when the deviation is beyond certain agreed limits, called the specification limits, it starts causing the problem.

 

So, any organization, irrespective of their industry, must be cautious of the three Devils and always work in the direction to keep these away.

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All you need are these 4 steps to transform the way you work!

I was going through Deming’s philosophies again, and this struck me that the Shewhart (PDCA) Cycle is still the most applicable methodology of doing things in a systematic manner to improve continually. The USP of PDCA is it’s simplicity!

[We also call it Deming’s/ PDSA cycle (after Deming made it popular, influenced by Shewhart’s work). Here’s a good link to understand the difference between PDCA and PDSA]

In fact, whatever the name we put to a methodology of improvement, in it’s core it is PDCA!

Let us again see what is PDCA, with a hypothetical example (and it’s complex one on a minimized scale)…

We’ll start a Start-up (something en vogue these days :)) and get along a systematic approach…

Plan: Planning for- how to come up with ideas and evaluate them, how to get users and grow, how to do sales and marketing, how to hire, how to raise money, company culture, operations and management, business strategy as well as measures to assess the performance. This means, we have to plan for everything and anything that it takes to establish a company. We must have our goal(s) in mind and in writing!

(An interesting site on ‘starting-up’, I came across while doing some research for this example)

Do: Start executing the plan to establish the company. And, establish the company..collect data as per plan .

“Wow! Mission accomplished let’s have party…” 

Wait!! How do we know that mission is accomplished?? To answer this lets move to next step.

Check: Assess the Plan vs. Execution, evaluate the current performance. Whether the sales and marketing is going as per plan, whether we have raised enough money to perform activities needed for our service delivery, is our hiring as per plan and so on so forth.

Act: And during assessment, it’s found that we have done fairly in some of the aspects, like money generation while need more to do in few others (Service delivery,people and resource management).We take actions to correct our shortcomings and also to sustain on what we did well…

Now, continual improvement comes clearly in the picture. Based on the improvement learning and a sustain (standard) phase, we again plan future course of action and the cycle this ways goes on and on. [One day we may reach to a state where we could say, ” Voilà! Mission accomplished.”]

In essence, whatever task we have in hand, if we follow this systematic approach we are never going to fail. Though there are improvised/ modified forms of it available now, but I believe that all the necessary elements are well intact in PDCA and it’ll give quite comparable results.

Cheers and happy working!