When you are engaged in developing 5s, IS0 9001, Lean Manufacturing, 6 Sigma, TQM or Kanban quality systems, you might find that you need to think about the equipment that helps deliver a result that exceeds your expectations. After all you would not attempt to tackle a sport, such as rock climbing or skiing, without being properly kitted out. I have visited thousands of businesses over the years and they frequently fall into the same trap.
There are some very simple mindsets that can transform your business and turn it into a powerhouse of great ideas and, more importantly, a hive of activity delivering your business promise on time, in time and in tip top condition.
The power of the 3 degree rule provides you with the opportunity to ensure that the business and its constituent parts are all correctly aligned towards the project. The result of this will alert and focus the requirements of the project to enable both correct training and therefore structure which in turn will highlight any shortcomings in equipment and supporting procedures. Leading the field in your business requires good supporting equipment. Materials handling and storage systems play a vital role in ensuring you operate efficiently and that you are making the right meaningful changes in your business.
Whose fault is it?
A Total Quality Management standard must include fail safe systems. The Clio car bonnet which is supposedly to have a fail safe device to prevent it from opening when the car is moving was clearly not safe and worse still the manufacturer was content to brake maintenance procedures. There is also Chernobyl, the Gulf Oil Disaster and of course Iraq, the worst political disaster since the Charge of the Light Brigade in 1854. No wonder, and thank goodness, we are holding back on Libya. Getting things right is not easy. All of these events are knee deep quality systems and complicated procedures. With so much checking being done how come we keep keep so many disasters! There is an easy answer. When 'thy will be done' becomes 'my will be done' you have a recipe for a 'project train smash'.
The right attitude is the 3 degree approach
You can get anything airborne, just give it a good kick, even flying is easy but landing takes a cool head and practice. The more dangerous, complicated or special something is the more training and planning is required. An aircraft that attempts to land at less than a 3 degree angle of approach gets a sore nose, more than 3 degrees and the tail plane is likely to plant itself in the runway. Additionally, there are always 3 other aspects you need to get right to achieve this. In flying terms they are Pitch, Roll and Yaw, so 3 is the magic number. In other words if the pilot adopts the wrong attitude he will crash and burn every time. There can only be one attitude to safely land a plane and that is at 3 degrees.
Your attitude is a very complicated place but there is one thing tougher and that is someone else's attitude. Attitude is a condition of approach, willingness and confidence, which is why the best quality systems work hard on hearts and minds. Ask three witnesses the same question and you will get three different answers because they are in three different positions and all see the same thing differently.
My point is that the 3 degree rule torpedoes quality systems every time because it is not a procedure so much as an attitude and the real challenge is attitude. This can not be taught because it is governed by emotion with raw energy. Raw energy distracts commitment and this is the reason we have team talks to harness the energy and motivation.
What the Icons do
I wonder if David Beckham thinks I wish I could play as well as Frank Lampard. What would happen if the Ferrari team tripped at the critical moment during a pit stop, or who does the Queen wish she is like. Can you imagine Filipe Massa saying " how much for that engine, have you anything a bit cheaper? ' Or David Beckham going to Matalan for his next designer outfit. Reinhold Messner, one of the world's greatest climbers, did not start out 47 years ago in the 1960s with the materials or equipment we have for climbing today, no mobile phone or satnav for him No, the only thing these very ordinary people share is an amazing attitude and that is what sets them apart.
The sheer bloody minded determination that there is no place for second best, that you are 'The' one and that you are going to do it right and best with all that that means, and you want it more than the air you breathe. Now that is attitude!
The 3 degree rule states that if you approach any task with the wrong attitude you will fail. The largest single cause of this type of failure is not seeing yourself in your right place and your total role in the whole setting in which you find yourself. In other words you are seeing things as you would like them to be instead of as they are. Until or without you start with what is, you are never going to achieve what is needed so any goal is just a good idea and can never become a reality. The difference is that you have to jump in, get involved, train, gear up for the task, get informed and practice every second of the day.
Many couples never really get married, they can not, they are already married to the idea of how marriage should be. You would think that would make for an impressive failure statistic would not you? The reality then hits them and they spend their lives chasing a goal which is never going to happen because they failed to see the key elements of what makes a successful, happy marriage. All champions have learned this, never a black belt was won without turning up to the training sessions and you do not go up Everest on Sunday afternoon after a heavy lunch.
So, first of all, you need to discover in yourself that you really want and need to do this, that you are teachable and that you are prepared to invest the time and money to gear up to do it correctly, not cheapskate it and not Just pay lip service to it. You need to equip and practice everyday with this equipment.
A Quality System in 12 weeks (not recommended)
When I was in my 20's I bought in an impressive Ministry of Defense contract by ensuring that their quality standard was implemented and I did it in a few weeks. I reported this to a prospective employer some years later and was given a job as managing director. I was then given 12 weeks to take 25 Homer Simpsons up to this quality standard or hand in my car keys along with my career. I have never forgotten it. It was a throw away line at an interview that grabbed me by the throat on my first day in the job! Just for the record I did it in under the time and we kept a Home Office contract thatave me the time needed to reverse the misfortunes of the company.
Remember that joyful feeling when they offered you the job
You now see yourself in the totality of it all. Remember how you felt when you were told you had the job in the first place! (Great I hope). You need to feel like this every day. The first few days in a new job are always exhausting but the positive feeling you have is the same one you need to deliver a successful quality project. It is the lack of this positive drive which will sink your hard work every time. Of course if you are already a black belt you will have developed this mindset and so the next stage is raising up.
You also need the right routes and carabiners, in the right documented condition and you will want to know who you bought them from and how old they are. More important
ly though you must have them at your fingertips ready to pack, deploy and use and for that you will need a storage and handling system.
What you get when you are not geared up
Workbenches, lifting equipment, shelving, bins, feed systems and transport are part of all quality systems and they are often overlooked because of their cost but without this equipment, or still still the wrong equipment, this is what you get:
- Waiting Time
- Slow productions times
- Time wasting journeys in the work place
- Too much or far too little
- Wasted investment in equipment which stands idle
The wrong gear is worse that no gear
The amount of people who buy yard trucks because they can not afford the correct handling equipment defies belief. It is the equivalent of using baler twine to go up the North Face of the Eiger. Yard trucks, although very successful, are single handledly responsible for billions of pounds worth of damage, delays and time wasting because they cause a domino effect in the work place and here is how it happens: –
Yard trucks need 4m aisles in which to operate so your pallet racking has to be 4m apart face to face, but you have already bought a factory unit too big and suddenly you are out of room, half the operating space you need, so now you Buy bigger and double your costs. You may think this sounds ridiculous but it was common place in the early 1990s and it still happens. Yard trucks in restricted spaces are demolition machines. New managers often come and they are faced with fleet costs that they are tied into several years and are punitive to exit so they are paralysed and caught up in a time warp. Sometimes in busy operations one type of equipment is allocated on a 'one size fits all basis'. I'm sorry Mr Schumacher, but the managing director of Mercedes says you have to use this 950 cc engine for the next race because we have a cheap batch of them rejected from our engine plant and they are good enough for racing, and by the Way we have some redundant gear boxes left over from the Smart car production line. Someone from the test line has a day off next week and has agreed to fit one for you. I know the race is this Saturday but the managing director says you are low priority. It is just so stupid as to be inconceivable, yet this mindset of 'mend and make do' is exactly why we have a 75% drop in manufacturing, with millions of job losses and why we have lost the majority of our engineering capability in the UK to foreign competition.
Why the true cost of the wrong equipment is 3.5 times more than you would have paid for the right top quality item and how it drags your business down into its substandard performance
Why, just because it is for work, does it have to be cheaper? Sack barrow imports from China last up to 28 times less than correctly constructed UK products. I see them everywhere I go, bent, broken and buckled, but they are still sold for £ 15.00 each, sometimes 3 times this price, with a 400kgs safe working load which is but rubbish, but they are so cheap nobody questions it. These are 28 times more expensive to buy because they do not work, but they are very cheap! How does £ 420 each now seem for a cheap sack barrow! The right one made in the UK is much, much cheaper. There is also all the administration time to order the replacement and the wasted time. 5 human trips without the sack barrow to do the job plus the closed muscles and the time off work because of back injury. What distracts the buyer is that he sees the right thing as being 8 times more expensive than the wrong thing, and because of a lack of understanding, goes for the price because it is so cheap it does not matter, it is a disposable item. This decision plants the company's backside firmly in the runway! So if you ever thought training was expensive, wait until you try ignorance. The solution is to call in a materials handling engineer and not to buy off the page. He would have cost nothing and saved you £ 430 too! In addition a materials handling engineer to commercial operations is the equivalent of having the best free week's skiing off piste, all expenses paid, in the Alps courtesy of an instructor. No quality program is complete without expert equipment, advice on procurement, application and specification. You can not tell that by watching at the page of a catalog. The supplier wants you to buy what they make most money on and not what delivers the best performance for you. Half the equipment in catalogs is placed in the range by people who are not engineers, do not understand it and have no idea or interest in what you do because they are too busy doing what they do. My point is that if you gear up correctly with the right equipment from the right places and people you can expect:
- Minimally a 30% increase in output
- Right first time products
- No extra time wasted on re-work
- No stoppages due to shortages
- Better attendances
- Faster production times
- More output from the same people
- Correct volumes and reduced work in progress costs
- Fully employed production plant and handling equipment
Less is more
Correctly applied materials handling, storage and distribution systems take up half the space or even less than that of their competitors and produce two to three times more with less equipment and people but if you go and look at what they bought you will not understand how on Earth they ever managed to afford it because on the face of it, it cost a fortune.
Materials handling, storage and distribution equipment plays a vital part in all quality systems. It means vital equipment has a well thought out role, a place and condition. Workbenches, tool stations and small parts are where they should be ready for use. Waste and scrap are kept out of sensitive areas and you spend less time counting, looking, reaching and tidying up.
The fact is that people who enlist quality engineering equipment, advice and design support outperform those who do not by a significant margin when it comes to quality assurance business results.