Organizational Performance Part 28: Understanding Process Characterization | Operational Excellence Quick Hits
Quick Hits share weekly tips and techniques on topics related to Operational Excellence. This week’s theme relates to process independent and dependent variables. We hope you enjoy the information presented!
Speaker 1: (00:06)
In today’s session, we’re going to talk about process characterization, which is understanding the relationship between the independent variables and dependent variables in a process or even a system and how those independent variables have effect on process performance or system performance.
Speaker 1: (00:24)
So first question is what are independent and what are dependent variables? So when we look at the process, we want to understand what are the important characteristics of the process that are essential for the process to be in control? So it identifies the relationship between those two variables and also ranks the importance of a relationship of those two variables. It starts with identifying the dependent variables and independent variables in the process.
Speaker 1: (00:52)
So what are dependent variables? So those are the outputs of the process that result in the process being performed. So it’s the features of the product or service that you offer to your customer. It’s the things that the customer cares about. It’s what should be measured on the product or services being produced by the process. So, for example, response time to the customer, or on time delivery performance to the customer, maybe the thickness of the part that you’re producing for the customer, the diameter, the surface finish. So those are the features of the product and service that the customer cares about.
Speaker 1: (01:31)
Then we have the independent variables. These are the variables that are related to the process itself. If you’re doing a cause and effect diagram on a system or a process it’s typically the things you’re going to identify in the process that cause the customer not to be satisfied or the process not to be in control. So these are the things that are changeable in the process itself. So speed setting on the process, the pressure settings, the lubrication amount, the flow rate, the heat settings, the exposure settings. So these are the variables in the process that can be adjusted by the operator.
Speaker 1: (02:10)
So we’ve got to understand what are the relationship between those two? And what you’ll find is that there’s very few independent variables that actually affect the dependent variable. So what does that mean? There’s very few adjustments you can make in the process that affect the output of the process.
Speaker 1: (02:30)
So again, the Pareto principle is there’s very few variables that affect the outputs of the process so we want to identify those critical few and their relationship to the outputs of the process. So if we’re looking to increase response time to customers, there’s very few things in the system that we need to affect to improve that response time. Or if we’re looking at on-time delivery, there’s very few elements of the system that we need to change to improve the on-time delivery performance. Understanding the relationship between those two variables is extremely important and it gives a team a great understanding of, “Hey, if I make this change, what’s the effect I’m going to see on the output of the process or system?”
Speaker 1: (03:17)
This gets into the next level of detail of things we can control, things that we need to control to satisfy our customer and give better service and performance to our customers.