A Return to First Principles (Part 10), Do I Really Know the Best Way?

The exciting aspect of process analysis is the learning you will gain. Of course, the amount of learning will increase with the amount of work put into the process analysis.

Remember that process analysis is based on the three characteristics of a process. One of those characteristics is, there is one, single current-state best way to perform the process.

Now here is where it gets interesting! What if you have multiple people performing the activity? (And the majority of activities are performed by multiple workers.) And, to compound matters, what if you have a multi-shift operation, where people on opposite ends of the clock are doing the same task? Is there really one best way to do it?

Some would argue that several “good” ways to do the task. Different people performing the task, multiplied by several shifts, and multiple generations of performers (i.e., newer workers being trained by experienced workers), can result in an “evolution” of methods. In fact, I could have multiple branches of evolving performance, all of them “good” by the measure I am using to define process success. So–I ask again–is there really one best way to do it?

The answer is…..yes, there is still one best way. Here is the rub, if you will…that one best way may be spread over several workers and several shifts. In other words, elements of each evolved method may contain portions of that one best way.

Unearthing the real one best way will become a treasure hunt akin to the Forty-Niners (gold prospectors, not football players) swarming into California in search of the gold that gave the state its nickname. We will pursue this thought in the next installment of the series, but I will warn you again: hard work ahead!

About Tim James "Mr. Procedure"

A communicator; all-purpose capability in writing, designing and presenting training for all facets of organizational function. While my focus has been manufacturing, my training/development experience includes supervisory and lead person development, audit processes, continuous improvement and Lean, and Quality Management System implementation.
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