10.2.1 QUANTUM IMPROVEMENT

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The principal thesis of Quantum Improvement (QI) is really just an extension

of the 80/20 Rule by compounding the multipliers. Fundamentally, QI

assumes that the top 20 percent of the 80/20 Rule is nonlinear and projects that

one percent of the problems cost (or return) 50 percent of the money. What

you want to do in this part of the process is to ensure that at least the most

important findings are incorporated into the ongoing process.

Remember how the 85:15 Rule and the Pareto Principle and the Monte Carlo

Simulation technique work? What was common to all of them? That just a few

problems cause the most trouble or cost the most money, or both. That’s the

idea behind Quantum Improvement: To make a quantum leap with a minimum

of effort.

This is the perfect place to implement or reimplement the concept of benchmarking.

Pull together the benchmarks that represent your competition and

evaluate your position with regard to them. Use Quantum Improvement techniques

to select the best of the best of the best and make startling improvements.

There are many processes available that claim to do all things for all people:

Total Quality Management (TQM), Total Quality Leadership (TQL), Quantum

Improvement (QI), Quantum Process Improvement (QPI), Reengineering, Six

Sigma, Business Process Redesign (BPR), Business Process Improvement (BPI)

and a host of others. The truth is that each has something to offer but none is

a panacea.

I can’t recommend a company or consultant to perform this task for you.

You need to do your own analysis based on your own needs. I do suggest you

use a consultant or company that doesn’t promise to solve all your problems.

Your improvement process should be accomplished in stages. Until now, I have

recommended using some technique, such as Pareto Analysis, that gives the

greatest result first. Now however, you are dealing with people, with management,

with employees. The approach in this instance is to attack the ‘‘lowest

hanging fruit’’ first, so long as they represent important issues, and then evaluate

the results. Early successes are important motivators to continue the effort.

To try to change the entire culture of the enterprise is a sure path to failure.

Don’t leave it all behind just because you made a breakthrough. Institute a

program of ‘‘continuous improvement,’’ but give it the resources that it will

return to you. In other words, make your Continuing Improvement Process a

series of Quantum Improvements. Above all, don’t try to do it all at once.

Whatever process you choose, use a facilitator. Someone who is trained in

facilitating and someone without ‘‘a dog in the fight.’’ That is, someone who is

independent and objective.

Back to the 85:15 Rule again. It says that 85 percent of the problems come

from the processes (meaning documentation) and only 15 percent of the problems

come from people. That rather suggests that you attack your documentation

system first, doesn’t it? Not only does that follow the 85:15 Rule but you

can do it offline without involving the operating troops and thereby reducing

efficiency.