Service Industry Lean Manufacturing – Implementation Guide

Non-manufacturing industries have not embraced lean manufacturing to the same extent as those producing a product. Some service industries have found the same principles apply, although the use of lean manufacturing tools is different.

For example, a value added analysis is just as easily conducted with a worker talking on the telephone as someone using one.

The 5S tool can be used to organize the surroundings in the telemarketing office. All materials the telemarketer uses should be organized and within reach without having leave the area. This 5S organization enables the telemarketer to continuously utilize any material in front of them as well as keep an eye on a computer.

The same SMED tools can be used with a administrative assistant as a machine operator. The process map and movement will show the waste in each. The assistant’s travel shows the motion waste. The waiting waste is often huge in any white collar or service job. For example, the waste from waiting on a colleague, manager, supplier, or anyone else can be eliminated. There are ways to minimize it by removing the root cause as well as finding activities to fill the time. These activities should be of short duration, such as data entry, filing, or printing.

Line balancing is easy in a service environment. The key is flexibility. For example, two tellers at a bank may be required 6 out of 8 hours per day, but the trained lean expert or industrial engineer is required to notice it. The additional two hours of waste comes in buckets of 1-2 minutes throughout the day. Again, this time must be filled with value added activities in a standard work format. If the job isn’t standardized, the two individuals may absorb the time and appear 100% busy. There are many other instances where job combinations are obvious.

The value stream map is an excellent tool for service industries. Rather than the traditional macro level view of the system, the value stream map can be used in a department or area of the business. An example would be the service desk at a department store. Begin with the information flow and trigger for activity, which might be a customer. Break the map into various segments showing the few activities that comprise 90% of the work, such as returned goods, request for information, or complaints. Standardized Operations should be utilized for returned goods to minimize motion and waiting, such as a decision flow diagram. If the manager is called a large percentage of the time, the decision flow diagram needs improved. Obviously the 5S and SMED tools are also relevant, as well as root cause problem solving to eliminate the complaints.

Service industries often use kanbans without knowing it, such as ordering supplies. The same pull systems can be used in service industries as the manufacturing sector. The supply distribution center is one obvious example. Inventory waste can be eliminated using pull systems beginning with the end downstream customer.

When implementing lean manufacturing in a service industry, it is important to tailor the training to the business. Most SMED (single minute exchange of die) training is developed using examples of setup activities for equipment. It is easier for people to understand and see the waste in their processes when the training has obvious applicability.

One of the best long term lean manufacturing tools to apply in a service industry is the kaizen event. Kaizen means “incremental improvement” in Japanese. The kaizen team is comprised of a cross functional team developed to quickly and substantially improve a business issue. For example, a kaizen might be developed to reduce hospital check in time for testing. The team might include the individuals conducting the check-in, a nurse, manager, an IT representative, and a couple customers. If the average check in time is 35 minutes (the elapsed time from walking into the building until seated in a private room), the kaizen objective might be to reduce the check in time to 20 minutes within 5 days.

Cellular manufacturing can be used in many service businesses. Rather than placing individual pieces of equipment such as the postage meter, copier, fax, and file drawer throughout the area for everyone to use (and wait on), consider placing these items together in a U shaped cell to minimize movement.

The “One Piece Flow” concept is a great tool for processing items such as quotes, bills, or mail pieces. For example, if four people must review a quote, and the first person processes 500 prior to moving to the second individual, and so on, the cycle time is going to be very long. Also, if the fourth person notices a mistake the other three missed, all 500 are bad and much labor was spent unnecessarily. Moving the piece in a flow of “one” or in small batches minimizes the error cost and reduces cycle time.

Service industries have a terrific opportunity to reduce waste. Sometimes it is simple and obvious, while other times it takes the same creativity as in the factory.

Disability Retirement For Federal Workers – The Importance of a Coherent and Consistent Application

Federal and Postal employees either fall into one of two possible retirement systems: FERS (an acronym for Federal Employee Retirement System) or CSRS (Civil Service Retirement System). Whichever system the Federal or Postal employee falls under, the benefit of Federal Disability Retirement is an option which is available, in the event that a Federal Government worker is no longer able to perform at least one of the essential elements of one’s job. Remember that, in order to qualify for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, the medical condition or injury does not have to be job-related. Indeed, one could have incurred a career-ending spinal injury while on a skiing trip, and still qualify for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under either FERS or CSRS.

The Agency which determines that a Federal or Postal Employee is entitled to Federal Disability Retirement benefits is the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). They are empowered by statutory authority to scrutinize each application for approval or disapproval. In order to be eligible for the benefit of Federal Disability Retirement, one must prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, three basic components:

(A) a Federal or Postal employee under FERS or CSRS has a medical condition;

(B) the medical condition prevents him or her from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job; and

(C) that the Agency is unable to accommodate the individual or, alternatively, to reassign the individual to a position in the same pay or grade.

In order to successfully prepare and submit an application for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, two overarching elements should always be kept in mind: Coherence and Consistency. “Coherence” has to do with the form of the application, while “consistency” has to do with the content, or substance of the application. Both elements are important in preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application. Thus, an effective Federal Disability Retirement application will make logical sense and “fit together” with everything (coherence), as well as have an internal structure of information which agrees with one another (consistency).

How does one prove that he or she is eligible for Federal Disability Retirement benefits? Is there a table or schedule of accepted medical conditions? As to the latter question, the general answer is “No”. Qualifying medical conditions have more to do with the symptoms of a medical condition, rather than the formal diagnosis. Thus, physical conditions can range from Cervical & Lumbar diseases, Degenerative Disc Disease, Spondylolisthesis, Ankylosing Spondylitis, Failed Back Syndrome, Chronic Pain; Fibromyalgia; to total hip replacements which limit and restrict flexion and mobility; cardiac issues; migraine headaches; Chronic Fatigue Syndrome; Chemical Sensitivity issues; Asthma; Hypothyroidism; Plantar Fasciitis; Carpal Tunnel Syndrome; shoulder problems, often referred to as bursitis or shoulder impingement syndrome; trochanteric bursitis; lupus, Multiple Sclerosis, as well as a great many other conditions which are not named here, and which are too numerous to catalogue. As for Psychiatric conditions, the list can be just as long: Major Depression, Anxiety, Panic Attacks, Bipolar Disorder, Agoraphobia, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, ADD & ADHD; Paranoia; Schizophrenia; Asperger’s Syndrome; and multiple other psychiatric conditions. Whether attempting to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits based upon a physical medical condition or a psychiatric medical condition, it is important to prove that one is eligible for the benefit.

Which brings us to the first question: How does one prove that he or she is eligible for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, either under FERS or CSRS? In any application for Federal or Postal Disability Retirement benefits, one must make sure that the application is both coherent, as well as consistent. Coherence of an application results when all of the various components of the application “fit” together. Thus, for example, in preparing the Applicant’s Statement of Disability (SF 3112A), Block 4 asks the applicant to “Fully Describe Your Disease or Injury”. If the disease or injury is a physical one, then the focus of the narrative should be to describe the pain, the physical restrictions and limitations, etc. Then, when one comes to Block 5, where it asks how your disease or injury interferes with the performance of “your duties, your attendance, or your conduct,” the focus should have a coherence with the previous answer – meaning that, if the narrative described physical issues, the impact upon one’s job should therefore focus upon the physical aspect of the job. Thus, by way of example, to say that you “cannot concentrate or focus” upon a certain aspect of the job, would only be coherent if either (A) the job required cognitive-intensive work and the severity of the pain impacted one’s cognitive faculties, or (B) the medications prescribed to alleviate the physical condition impacts one’s focus or concentration. Conversely, if the narrative concerning one’s medical condition entails primarily psychiatric issues, then the impact upon one’s job should encapsulate cognitive issues (i.e., focus, concentration, ability to analyze, evaluate, etc.). As you can see, coherence in an application for Federal Disability Retirement benefits is an important component.

Furthermore, an effective application for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS should be consistent. Each element of the application should “agree”, wherever possible, with all of the other components. Where inconsistencies occur – for example, between what the treating doctor says and what the applicant states in his or her explanation on SF 3112A – a red flag may arise, providing an opportunity for a denial from the Office of Personnel Management. Thus, don’t try to “oversell” the description of the medical condition. Remember how, when you were deathly ill but your voice sounded perfectly normal over the telephone? You had to call in sick, and you had to “sound like” you were sick, even though you were in fact deathly ill. In preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application, this is not the time to “sound like” something more than what the treating doctor states.

Ultimately, the success or failure of a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS as submitted to the Office of Personnel Management will depend upon the coherence and consistency of the application. Preparation is the key to success, and it is important to always remember that coherence and consistency are two elements which must always guide the formulation, preparation and submission of a successful Federal Disability Retirement application.

All About ASAP, FYI and FYA

ONE day, a collegeague turned to me and asked, "What's FYI?"

"For your information."

"What's FYA?"

"For your action."

"What's WRT? "

"With reference to …"

Before the conversation dragged on any further, I quickly looked up a website on acronyms used in business communications and sent it to him via e-mail.

This conversation made me realize that the full meaning of many acronyms and abbreviations may not be immediately obvious for many people – students or working adults alike.

For starters, an acronym is a word created from combining the initial letters of each word. For example, For your action.

An abbreviation is a word shortened from its original form. For example, "Attn." is an abbreviation of the word "attention" to convey the meaning "for the attention of".

In general, a full stop is used for abbreviations where the last letter of the word and the abbreviation are not the same. For example, "Co." (Company) needs a full stop but "Ltd" (Limited) does not. Acronyms do not need punctuation marks.

Below are some frequently used short forms in business communication like e-mails, faxes and letters:

aka . – also known as

On Monday morning, Kay El, aka The Boss, walked in happily and blessed her assistant, Pee Jay.

approx. – approx

Checking her e-mail, Pee Jay read, "Today is the boss's birthday. Can everyone please slip off quietly to the cafeteria in approx. 15 minutes?"

ASAP – as soon as possible

Pee Jay opened up her daily planner and scribbled ASAP next to some of the urgent items on her to-do list.

Attn . – for the attention of

Leafing through the stack of mail to be sent out, Pee Jay asked her boss, "To what should I address the cheque for the annual report?"

Her boss replied, "Just write 'Attn: Ms. Christine Jalleh." She'll know what to do with it. "

Bcc . – blind carbon copy or blind copy to. In this case, the carbon copy is sent to an e-mail recipient which e-mail address is not visible to the cc or other bcc recipients.

"By the way, I think it's better if you bcc me in your e-mail to Brown. We would not want him thinking that I'm supervising you for this project."

Cc . – carbon copy, or copy to

"But I would like to be cc-ed on the e-mail to Mr Green as I have not yet introduced the two of you to each other."

c / o – in care of, used when sending a document to A who will receive it on B's because because B is away from the office.

"Boss, I think Christine is back in China this week. Would it be all right if I sent the cheque in care of her assistant? I'll still write her name on top with c / o Ah Sis Tern below."

COD – cash on delivery, where a person makes payment for an item purchase after it has been delivered.

"I'm also sending out the cheque for the set of Business English reference books we bought COD on eBay."

eg . – exempli gratia (for example)

Pee Jay replied to the e-mail, "Hi everyone. Please remember that the boss does not like surprises, eg everyone shouting 'Surprise!' in the cafeteria. "

et al. – et alii (and others). Usually used to list co-authors after the lead author in a bibliography, this form is now commonly used to address the other people other than the recipient in e-mails.

She received a new e-mail, which read, "Dear Pee Jay et al., I was reminded that the boss does NOT like surprises …"

etc. – et cetera (and so on OR and so forth)

This means that we will not be able to collectively surprise her by springing out of the cafeteria doors as we had planned, etc.

exc. – except

"Can everyone, exc. Pee Jay, be at the cafeteria in 5 minutes? We need to figure out a surprise without the surprise element.

FYI – for your information

Her boss's voice bought the young assistant back to the present, "Pee Jay, I'm forwarding you all these e-mails FYI, okay?"

FYA – for your action

"Note that some of these e-mails are FYA …"

ie . – id est (that is)

After acknowledging her supervisor, Pee Jay decided to help her collections out and typed, "She's in a good mood today, ie we will be a new account and completed a major project."

K – thousand, eg 450K = 450,000

"Just to give you an idea of ​​her mood, it's a 450K retainer for the first quarter …"

PA – personal assistant

The immediate reply to Pee Jay's e-mail read, "Thanks for the info, Pee Jay – you're the best PA!"

pa – per annual (per year)

Pee Jay smiled and responded, "Haha, there is a reason why I'm paid RM65K pa"

pp – per pro (used when signing a document on someone's behalf)

Looking back at her paperwork, Pee Jay signed some invoices on her boss's behalf, inserting pp just before her signature.

Pto. – please turn over, used at the end of a page to indicate that there is a continuity to the text.

"By the way, please remember to type Pto. On the first page of the proposal you're sending.

viz . – videlicet, namely

She got up and left a note on Pee Jay's work station before leaving. Scribbled on it was, "Can I pass you my slice of birthday cake after I cut it? I really do not need a lot of carbo, viz. Refined flour, at my age." The note ended with a wink.

Readers can go to http://www.acronymfinder.com/ to search for the meanings of over 4 million acronyms and abbreviations. This online dictionary also allows users to filter their search according to categories like information technology (IT), military and government, business and finance, science and medicine, organizations and schools, and slang and pop culture.

Essential Elements of a Quality Management System

A good quality management system in a pharmaceutical company can significantly improve the net profit status, high quality medicines for patients, less rework and recall which save more money, good work environment and compliance with local and international regulations.

Quality management is a philosophy. It takes management understanding, commitment and responsibility before introducing and implementing the concept. Once practiced a good quality management system slowly develop or reshape a sustainable organization culture that pays off rapidly.

The initial step of introducing a good quality management into a system is to know the essential elements of the quality system and clear study from where to start. Company objectives should be clearly understood. Policies should be prepared. Then comes the design of the process flow, validating the process, material flow and organization chart. When a good integration between people, process and material is achieved the next step is to putting the integrated system in a state of control. Any deviation from the controlled system must be analysed and corrected.

Some basic but essential elements of Quality Assurance as depicted in GMP guidelines and ISO 9001 guideline for pharmaceutical industry can be listed as: the Preparation of standard operating procedures of a complete system maintaining cGMP principles; Preparation and maintenance of effective change control of quality and master file documentation; Recording and management of manufacturing change control; Recording and reporting procedure of Deviations of your systems; Quality concern investigation process; Customer complaint investigation procedure; Quality audit procedures; Vendor assessment, evaluation and certification procedure; Quality control laboratory procedure, Rework procedures for the defective manufactured products; Procedures on training for manufacturing staffs and recall procedure.

Standard operating procedures and manuals should be written in details and referenced to relevant other documents, so a new starter within the organization should be trained easily and expected to perform as per procedure. The result will be a common standard of activities across the organization, good tractability of work flow, deviations and ease of corrective actions as necessary.

Standard Operating Procedure

You should prepare SOPs, forms, templates and manuals, which can be used immediately as the system runs. Forms and templates should be used for record keeping which your people can follow routinely.

Documentations – Classification, Definition and Approval

Quality and Technical/Master file documents to be created to build up a good quality management system for your manufacturing sites. Definition of documents, their classification, approval requirements and retention requirements should be understood.

Quality Documentation Management and Change Control

Procedures to be created on how to generate new quality documents or change control of existing documents, review of quality documents, satellite file management, role of document author, approver, document control officer and satellite file administrator. In this procedures you will also define the numbering systems of different quality documents like audit files, SOPs, forms, templates, manuals, training files, QA agreements, project files etc and their effective archiving system.

Preparation, Maintenance and Change Control of Master Documents

Procedures to be created which will particularly focus on the management of master file documents like specifications, control methods, raw materials, finished goods and packaging specification and test reports, formulation, stability files etc required to generate during the product registration in the market.

Deviation Report System

It is a regulatory requirement to capture all sorts of deviations evolves in your systems in order to maintain the continuous improvement of your processes and systems. Procedures should be created that describes how to categorize the deviations between production, audit, quality improvements, technical deviations, customer complaints and environmental, health and safety deviations. It should also describes the management responsibilities of initiating deviation, capturing data, analysis, investigation, determination of assignable cause/s, generation of management report and initiatives to be taken on corrective and preventative actions.

Vendor Selection and Evaluation

Procedures to be followed during the vendor assessment and vendor evaluation for purchasing of raw materials, critical and non critical packaging components, laboratory supplies, engineering supplies and imported finished goods from the vendor. These instructions are essential for approving prospective vendor.

Vendor Certification

This procedure aims to describe the process by which a vendor may be certified to supply materials or services. This procedure applies to vendors that supply a material or service to be used at any stage of manufacture by operations. Here you will describe the roles of each department in the process to certify an approved vendor.

Product Complaint Procedure

You should have strong procedure to cover the receipt, logging, evaluation, investigation and reporting system of all complaints received from customers for the marketed products. This procedure should contain step by step instruction to be followed during the customer complaint management like numbering of complaint, registering the complaint, evaluation, determination of assignable cause for the complaint deviation, implementation of corrective and preventative actions, trending of complaints and handling of counterfeit products.

Annual Product Review

Some countries require reports as Annual Product Review to sell your products into their market. So you have to create instructions on how to do annual product review, to evaluate data, trends and to identify any preventative or corrective action that would lead to product quality improvements and report them to management.

Rework Procedure

Procedure should contain the step by step instructions to be followed when the rework of an in-process or completed finished good is required. Product Identification and Traceability The purpose of this procedure is to define the method used for the identification of all contributing materials that could affect product quality and to ensure their full traceability.

GMP Audits

Procedure should be created to describe the process of planning, performing, reporting and follow-up of different audits for your systems like Internal Quality audit, Vendor audit, Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) audit, EHS workplace inspection, Housekeeping audit.

Evaluation of Batch Documentation and Release for Sale

This procedure should describe the process of collection, evaluation and record of batch related document generated during the production of a batch before an authorized person can release the batch for sale.

GMP Training

Effective GMP related training modules to be created for your manufacturing staffs. Training records and reports have to produce on each employee as justified.

Management and Control of Contract Work

There should have procedure to describe the management and control of contract work provided by the contractors for packaging and finished products for your company as well as control of contract works done by your company on behalf of others.

Quality Concern Investigation Process

Procedure should be made that contains instructions to follow when conducting Investigations collection of data and information, analysis, assigning root cause, determine corrective and preventive actions.