You Only Know What You Know

New knowledge comes from the outside.

At last week’s roundtable we talked about how new insights emerge when knowledge is shared at a structured investigative activity and using a facilitated dialogue.

One example was an aerospace part used to keep dirt and water out of a sensitive area of the end product. The part was expensive for what it did and complicated to build. From a business point of view the part was an extremely minor cost of the final product. However, the complications it caused to the organization made it worth a study for improvement.

A group activity called Value Engineering workshop was convened. The attendees consisted of the specialties involved with this part; product design, manufacturing, installation, finance, workers, engineers, managers, and others. Each brought their own solution, mainly telling the other departments to just do their job better.

The group went through structured activities which supported the main questions of: 1) What is it? 2) What does it do? 3) How much does it cost? 4) What else will do that? 5) What does that cost?  They found the old design consisted of

  • 10 Sheet Metal Components
  •  57 Rivets
  •  90 Linear Inches of Sealant
  •  9 Suppliers
  •  $4,000 each

 After several convergent and divergent activities the group proposed a new design consisting of:

  • 1 Machined Component
  • 0 Fasteners
  • 0 Linear Inches of Sealant
  • 1 Supplier
  • $100 each

 The process of sharing while focused on a mutually beneficial project produces amazing results. One example is while a design engineer was looking at the actual part, he said “in the 23 years I’ve been designed product, I’ve never been told how much it costs to install a fastener. All I have to do is place a cross on the drawing where the fastener should go. And I’ve always figured the more the better.”

Take Away

Many Theory-Methods-Tools bring out what is hidden. Once discrepancies, and their meanings, are exposed the group will generate their own improvement ideas. The idea is that you make things visible because you never know what you will find, keep it simple so everyone understands, then move the project forward at one unit. The result is a High Performing Team.

 Dave Nave & Associates 2017   -   dave@davenave.com