Mind Mapping and Root Cause

This week’s post will primarily be about Mind Mapping and Root Cause. Mind Mapping is a diagram used for brainstorming. Originally developed by Tony Buzan, these mind webs are commonly used when:

a) you want to learn something at a faster pace,

b) developing new ideas,

c) collaborating with a group, and

d) trying to better understand a complicated system or structure.

Mind Maps are perfect for projects where there are hundreds of factors to keep track of because it allows you to simplify and summarize ideas in an organized and visual way. To assist you in keeping thoughts orderly, Tony Buzan created some helpful guidelines:

  • Starting at the center, use an image of the topic you will be outlining.
  • Whenever applicable, use images, symbols, and codes to keep things visually appealing and less “wordy”.
  • Highlight your keywords by using upper or lower case so they are easily identifiable.
  • Try to have each word alone on its own line.
  • Each line should be connected, starting from the central image. The central lines are thicker, organic, and flowing, becoming thinner as they radiate out from the center.
  • Use multiple colors throughout the mind map, for visual stimulation and also to encode or group.
  • Develop your own personal style of mind mapping.
  • Use emphasis and show associations in your mind map.

Occasionally, Mind Maps are successfully used when a company is trying to identify a problem. Once the overall problem is identified, Root Cause analysis is used to help further recognize not only what the issue is, what happened, why it happened, and what to do to prevent it from happening again.

For Probes Unlimited, Inc. these methods will be very valuable. Mind Mapping is a tool that can be used on all levels of PUI from designing a website, creating a new product, or to help improve efficiency on the production floor. Root Cause analysis is most helpful when problems/processes involve human factors and/or interactions. Since PUI is a manufacturing facility with several production cells, human involvement is frequent. No facility is perfect, but since the market continues to dictate price, organizations like us need to focus their resources to meet these needs. This is an effective, relatively quick and inexpensive tool that can greatly increase our productivity and help us keep our cost low.

Visit us at http://www.probesunlimited.com

A3 Thinking

Robert Aurelia, our purchasing aficionado at Probes Unlimited Inc, is currently attending a series of workshops to complete his Lean Level One Certification. The certification means that he will be versed in several technical and social tools that will aid PUI in our continuous lean journey for maintainable growth and productivity.

Over the course of these several weeks, Robert has reflected on some of the valuable and feasible changes that will be useful for PUI. Each week we will be looking at a new tool that Robert believes to be relatable to PUI. This week we will be talking about A3 Thinking. A3 Thinking is a method used to support businesses with problem-solving, control and continuous improvement of processes and products. It’s based on W. Edwards Deming’s method of P-D-C-A, (Plan, Do, Check, Act) and is also known as the Deming Cycle.

To prove the authenticity of the lesson, the class was separated in groups of 5, where they had to make airplanes out of LEGO bricks. The cell was set out of order on purpose and the teams were told to build in batches of 5. The only rule was that only one process would be built at a time. In other words, each person had to wait until the process before them had completed all 5 parts. They had 6 minutes to build as many as possible. Not surprisingly, this system was not successful. There were many parts partially built at all stages and their areas were cluttered and disorganized. After their unsuccessful bout, they began to discuss the methodologies behind A3 Thinking. Then they were asked to use their new principles to complete the exact same task. For this they used an A3 sheet. Essentially, a sheet of paper with multiple steps that identifies what the problems were. For round 2, they were encouraged to make adjustments. For this round they changed the order of operations, and converted to “one piece flow”. Amazingly, the results were remarkable. Robert commented that “the results were pretty impressive.  The first go around I believe our group had five finished planes and 15 in work in progress.  After another round of our A3 thinking, we completed 40 parts with only 4 parts in “WIP” in the same amount of time. “

All in all, he is a believer.

Visit us at http://www.probesunlimited.com