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Re waste prevention tech: It's Vector, not Factor!



<WARNING:  Excel spreadsheet attached!  Sorry if it whacked your PC or
anything)

I started off as a P2 guy in the US, moved to Asia and eventually ended up
teaching P2 as well as the whole Operations Management core curriculum (60
sessions, 130 students) in our MBA program.  Since I am now teaching the TQM
module I thought I would add a point to this debate.

In the Japanese spirit of kaizen or continuous improvement, is not the
debate about what is waste prevention technology somewhat missing the point?
In true TQM, continuous process improvement and breakthrough thinking are
the essential spirit, which of course is directly applicable to P2. Even
good waste prevention technology doesn't do that well when the spirit of
kaizen is not present.  By directing the focus of process operators to the
root cause of problems (Hi Bob!) the vector of less waste can be established
as a control tool.  However this is a Human Resources challenge, not a
technical one.  Technical obstacles will eventually be broken by good teams
with the right understanding of corporate vectors.  Though I teach
Operations Management, the answers to many of our cases focus on human
behavior, of executives, workers or both.  Waste won't be prevented if the
technology is good and the operators don't care.

I was playing around with Excel and created two tables and charts that
provide a nifty picture of environmental performance, one is about corporate
performance such as would be of concern to a potential buyer or lender, and
the other is about life cycle impact.  The performance one is plotted as an
Environmental Weather Report using a radar graph; the bigger the black blot
or stormcloud, the worse your environmental weather report is!  The idea is
to shrink the storm cloud.  The other is an area line graph that shows
cumulative impact over the product life cycle.  The idea is to reduce the
slope of the graph.  These are so simple someone might actually use them.
The idea of the environmental weather report I got from a P2 adviser in
Austria I met at Euro P2 Roundtable in '96, and whose name I will post as
soon as I find it again.

In both tables I used two dimensions:  The relevant environmental
performance score (1-5 where 1 is best) and the weight you put on the factor
(1-5, where 5 is highest).  So the  worst score for a factor is 5 (worst
performance) times 5 (you care the most).  This is easy to plot and is a
little more realistic than some other models that simply rank impacts
without regard to whether a user thinks they are relevant.

Actually the real reason for all of this is that I think the new chart
capabilities of Excel are really cool and I wanted to try them out.  

So the spreadsheet is attached here as an Excel 95 file, EPIPIX2.XLS.  Let
me know what you think of it!  Please post comments to me
(hamnghee@mozcom.com), not the P2TECH listserv.

Burton Hamner
Asian Institute of Management