Friday, October 17, 2014

One Piece Flow For Semiconductor Packaging Assembly Process

Can “One Piece Flow” concept applicable in semiconductor packaging assembly process?
To me, there is no “Yes” or “No” answer for this case, it’s very much depend on the nature of product mix.

There are two situation in manufacturing, so to semiconductor assembly industries
- High volume low mix
- Low volume high mix

Its depend on who you ask, the guys from memory, chip card or LED product line may tell you one piece flow is possible, as design of such product line is quite standard and high demand. Therefore they can just load their assembly line with volume and keep their line running for few days without any change over.

I may tell you different story if I have to answer the question. As I come from the environment of producing power semiconductor to automotive industries. It is a high mix low volume business environment in general, therefore, one piece flow to is quite difficult to achieve.

Two or three time line changeover is common in my environment, due to the design complexity and JIT concept emphasis by the automotive customer. Therefore, batch production system still a better way to run production in this industry. Of course, study of optimum batch size is require to ensure high utilization of equipment and human resource.

Over my many years’ experience in this industries, I haven’t see any successful assembly line using the concept of one piece flow. I also see some key equipment supplier trying to introduce the linked line, that integrate various processes through a conveyor system in the early 90’s, but today, they are no longer offer such solution in the newer machine.

Why ?

The main reason is – the conveyor system limit the line flexibility of line balancing.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Discussion Over Bottom Up Deployment Approach

I’m feeling a bit disappointing when I have to turn down an invitation to be a speaker of 6th Lean Six Sigma & Performance Excellence Asia Summit 2014. In other word, I miss the chance to share my experience in deploying LSS program through bottom up approach.

The main root cause is, somebody in the team that holding higher influence power have different opinion regarding the deployment approach that we are adopt in the past three year.

Well, let’s discuss,

Top down program deployment approach should be familiar to most LSS practitioner. The approach is pretty simple; the few big bosses of an organization set goal and direction, everyone under the hierarchy just follow command from the top. Usually, top down deployment approach give limited freedom for the people to speak up their opinion toward the top management decision.
Whereas, bottom up approach is a bit complicated and confusing. Somebody may mislead that as long as there are top management involvement in the working team, it shouldn’t be classify as bottom up approach anymore. It should be classify as Hybrid approach. Huh…. from who the theory comes from?

Ok, if based on his theory, LSS deployment that adopting bottom up approach should start at shop floor level and initiate by the shop floor operator then? No management involvement at the beginning. Can this happen in LSS deployment? I doubt.

Bottom up, based on my understanding, is a management approach where more freedom was given to a program committee set their direction that supporting achievement of organization goal. The “Program Working Committee” members may consist of shop floor operator, engineer, director, senior VP, or even CEO. It depends on the nature setup of the program.

In this case, program goal and direction is set by the working committee, not the top management. Top management may not be so much involve in the program, but must be acknowledge the existence of the program activities,  or sometime play an advisory role to ensure overall organizational goal and direction is followed.

I think the different of top down and bottom up approach could be easier to understand based on the statement below;

Top Down – I m the boss, I set the goal and direction, just follow me, no question ask.

Bottom up – we are in a family, let’s work out something to help our family grow.

Make sense ?

There is no right or wrong answer here, individual perception differ mainly due to education background and experience. I respect different voice, but forcing me to align with a special power could be a wrong way.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Laney P / Laney C Chart

Found something new in my newly installed Minitab Release 17.

The Laney P and Laney C chart.
If you wish to know the different of classical P and Laney P', pls Google around, you will get the comprehensive answer.


Friday, July 11, 2014

Management Involvement Become A Blocking To Grow ?

Many practitioner suggest a Six Sigma program kick off should come with the blessing of top management. Likelihood a program cannot be sustained if lacking of the key ingredient. Therefore, the key word, “Management Involvement, Management Support, Management Commitment” or whatever… always assume to be the key success factor of Six Sigma program.

My question is, to which extend the so call “Management Commitment” we need in order to kick off some program activities successfully?

There are practitioners expect a full Management Commitment in the program, otherwise, they will not start anything.

Full management commitment here meant, the management should follow up the progress of the program activities, project review, improvement project selection, and so on…

My next question is, as an experience program lead, are we really need those item mention in order to start something?

Usually, my expectation of Management Support is very simple, as long as the management agreed to release some resource for me to work on, that is consider good enough. I will manage the rest. What most important to me is a chance to shows good result at their area in order to get their buy in.

All of us born with the resistant to change. We can change someone by forcing or by influencing. Forcing the management to change could be easier and effective under top down approach, however, this method may cause even highest resistant to change in a bottom up approach.

Leading a Six Sigma program in an organization where Six Sigma is just a nice to have program to the management, without any top down direction from the CEO, nothing much I can expect from the so call top management.

You may ask me, as the CEO is not really interested, why shall I put in my effort to drive the program?

Well, my answer could be very simple, I’m paid to do the job, and I see the opportunity to grow my career path in this field, therefore I fight for it, not only to hit the KPI of my functional manager, also for my personal goal.

My ultimate goal is to continue expand the program within my area of influence and show result. Management Involvement, Management Commitment, and so on is not so critical to me at the early stage, what most important to me is the permission for me to start some small group activities at their territory, and slowly I can pull them in to involve.

Over my past experience, I never experience a smooth and easy journey in program deployment. “Management” topic always the biggest challenge that blocking my way to move forward. Thank god, there are always 3 options for me to choose

  1. Stop there and wait for the rock to melt down by itself
  2. Break the rock with a hammer
  3. Find a way to by pass
Which is the better option? You decide…

Friday, June 27, 2014

Minitab - Regression Analysis

I wonder why Minitab does not include interaction term in Regression Analysis. To include interaction term in regression model, I have to manually add a column with the value of interaction of factor A & B.


Now I learn…