In the last few posts I’ve described three stages on the quality journey: Guard, Guide, and Gain. I believe these are developmental stages, and my customers have taught me that the further you go on the journey, the larger the payback. Guard is great, but Guide and Gain are Gnormous. (Somebody please stop me.)

The really curious thing, however, is that getting these paybacks is less about the tool than about how you use it. We have lots of customers who have used GainSeeker to Guard, and they’re proud and satisfied with the payback that they’ve received. For whatever reason, they’re stuck there. Others are using the same tools, in different and more profoundly impactful ways, and getting even more value.

GainSeeker® Suite – One tool for all three stages

GainSeeker® Suite is uniquely able to support your journey across these stages. You don’t need to add new software modules or buy more software. The functionality is already there. What changes is what your people focus on, and their own knowledge of tools and techniques of using data to drive continuous improvement.

Stage 1: Guard

During the Guard Stage, use GainSeeker to automate the process of collecting and managing data, making it fast and easy. This saves time and money, and gets the data into a common data location where it is easy to get to for reports and investigating customer complaints. You can do more with less, and free up your people to do value-added work.

The key GainSeeker features that come into play in the Guard stage include:

  • Customize workflow to meet operator requirements
  • Automatically digitize data
  • Give instant real-time alarms to all stakeholders
  • Data stored in central repository
  • Easy-to-create customized Certificates of Analysis
  • Options for rich and thin client data collection
  • Data entry in both forms and via guided process
  • Easy data review and proof to customer if complaint arises
  • Interface to any gage, text log file, data base

Stage 2: Guide

Shifting to the Guide Stage does not mean you need new software or hardware. You may turn on some new features that you haven’t been using in the past (like real-time alarms based on control limits instead of specifications). The biggest shift is not in software technology, it is in your people and the way they use data. This may be a little frightening, but it doesn’t need to be. Start small, and look for (and celebrate) early wins.

The key GainSeeker features that come into play in the Guide stage include:

  • User configurable alarms for all Western Electric controls tests
  • Live real-time control charts
  • Dashboards communicate status of current state graphically or in tabular format
  • Set anchor points to signify a shift in the process
  • Right click on charts to get to underlying data and notes
  • Statistical filters focus on performance and exceptions

Stage 3: Gain

As in the shift to Stage 2, moving into Stage 3: Gain is more about transforming people than using technology. You’ll find that you begin asking new questions of the data, and of your people. This is often accompanied by the development of teams and competency in team problem solving. GainSeeker makes this transition easy for your people because they don’t need to burn hours doing the data shuffle – they can dive into data to quickly and easily discover the answers to their questions. Nor do they need a special high-end stats package and the know-how to build customized queries

The key GainSeeker features that your people use in the Gain stage include:

  • Data brushing to visually zero in on key data points
  • User configurable database hierarchy to model business structure in GainSeeker
  • Compare and contrast any combination of part, process, and test values
  • Unique Group Data function to filter/sort by various tags, on the fly, to the nth level
  • Unique Variation Wizard to identify the sources of variation without having to manually investigate each interaction
  • Unique Drill-Down Wizard to identify the factors that are generating the most defects (e.g. Machine x on Shift y)
  • User-configurable dashboards to focus attention on the critical opportunities for improvement
  • Chart Quality and Performance (up/downtime) by cost

At what level is your organization operating?  What tools are enabling that performance? What roadblocks does your organization have to improved performance? Please leave a comment, or  write to me at ejmiller [at] hertzler [dot] com. I’d love to hear from you.