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…

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Dr. Deming's 14 Management Principles

Dr. W. Edwards Deming suggest 14 management principles for long term sustainability in Quality, Productivity and Competitiveness.

I wonder how many point here adopted by the industries today.

1. Create constancy of purpose for improving products and services.

2. Adopt the new philosophy.

3. Cease dependence on inspection to achieve quality.

4. End the practice of awarding business on price alone; instead, minimize total cost by working with a single supplier.

5. Improve constantly and forever every process for planning, production, and service.

6. Institute training on the job.

7. Adopt and institute leadership.

8. Drive out fear.

9. Break down barriers between staff areas.

10. Eliminate slogans, exhortations, and targets for the workforce.

11. Eliminate numerical quotas for the workforce and numerical goals for management.

12. Remove barriers that rob people of pride in their work, and eliminate the annual rating or merit system.

13. Institute a vigorous program of education and self-improvement for everyone.

14. Put everybody in the company to work to accomplish the transformation.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Best Practice Sharing and The Role & Responsibility Of A BB or GB

Talking about best practice sharing. My point is very simple;
" I learn something new and I would like to share with you because I believe it is relevant to you. It is up to you to decide whether you are willing to open up your mind to consider or not, I will not force you to accept my idea as I believe you own the talent to determine what you need."
I only will take further action on you if you become a block for me or my team to move forward.
Otherwise, why shall I escalate to your management just because you don't pick my idea ?
Oh no no no... I won't do so... 


Monday, January 6, 2014

General Discussion On Lean & Six Sigma

“My management prefer Lean, not Six Sigma” or “My management prefer Six Sigma, not Lean”
“My issue is a Lean topic, Six Sigma is not able to handle my topic”

Do you ever receive such statement when dealing with Six Sigma or Lean topic ?

This is nothing new to me, obviously it is a misconception of Six Sigma and Lean. Not only the management level, I notice there are many certified GB and BB do facing the same situation.

Well, I always says that, Six Sigma and Lean is just a business direction or target setting.

Motorola aim for minimum or nearly zero defect rate by setting a target to achieve Six Sigma process capability.

Toyota aim for minimum operation cost  by setting a target to Lean down their operation process flow.

The whole idea behind Six Sigma and Lean is simple – minimize cost, maximize profit.

This is just a wish from the management, but we need an effective solution to make the wish come true.

Somebody from Motorola or GE develop a continuous improvement cycle call DMAIC, and the Japanese develop their approach call PDCA.

I m not going to talk about the tools in detail, anyway, for those experience in DMAIC and PDCA, you may found that the problem analysis tools use in two flow are basically the same.

Now the argument come – which is better then ? since I mention both DMAIC and PDCA are more or less same.

My point is, as a experience guy in continuous improvement, regardless is a quality issue, process capability issue, design issue or productivity issue, you must be able to decide a right tool to use to handle the problem. There is no one solution for all. Personally, I prefer DMAIC flow because this systematic systematically guide me define the problem statement correctly and understand process characteristic before we jump into solution development.

Therefore, the end in mind of continuous improvement activities is to achieve Six Sigma process level and Lean the whole business operation.
There is no such thing as “Lean Problem” or “Six Sigma Problem” .  Actually, both are “Business Problem” !