Best Practices 101, Part 1

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In the global economy that is today’s business environment, there are no guarantees as indeed, survival is not mandatory! The need for best practices is present in every industry, but mandatory in technology industries such as printed circuit board manufacturing.

In this new series, I will convey some of the personal lessons gained through my intimate involvement with more than 1,000 manufacturing companies, which has allowed me the unique perspective of truly understanding best practices by witnessing both the best of the best and the worst of the worst.

Best Practice - n. In business, a technique or methodology that, through practical experience, has proven to consistently lead to superior results over other means. Applied as a system, it combines all the collective experience, knowledge and technology at one's disposal.

                                              —Williams Business Dictionary, 2014

Process Analysis

One could argue--actually, I would argue--that before any improvement to a process can be made, the current state of the processes must be understood. Process analysis is just a fancy way to say this. If we consider waste to be anything in a process that is not adding value, then the question becomes, how do I identify waste in my process? The most effective method of identifying waste is by process mapping: from basic process flowcharting to advanced value-stream mapping. These two powerful tools will help any organization take the first step toward identifying the value, and non-value, activities in their processes. As my esteemed high school classmate Dr. Shigeo Shingo once famously said, “The most dangerous kind of waste is the waste we do not recognize.”

Read the full column here.

Editor's Note: This column originally appeared in the May 2014 issue of The PCB Magazine.



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