Cook-Hauptman Associates, Inc.

Technical Agenda and Step Change

By Jim Cook ( 1990 )


This is my logic for the establishment of a Step Change committee and a call for its initial plenary session.

  1. A Technical Agenda is required for Resource Allocation.

  2. To do a Technical Agenda requires that the functions we support (i.e., operations) have a strategy which is stable over a 5 to 10 year period.

  3. We are prepared to hypothecate such a strategy so we can go forward in a unified way. However, there is one avowed strategy - To Be World Class in Manufacturing by achieving Exceptional Yield Performances - which is already widely accepted.

  4. Exceptional Yields (i.e., above 98%) are not achievable by an evolutionary/incremental improvement in the efficacy of current practices. What we need is a Step Change.

  5. You have a group that has studied Organization Learning and I have led Step Change implementations, therefore we are prepared to offer assistance to those charged with making Step Change improvements in manufacturing yields.

  6. Step Change improvements will not come about:

    1. by lecturing or dictating to Du Ponters,
    2. by relying solely on Du Ponters,
    3. by improving existing methodologies or efficiencies,
    4. without some proactive intervention, and
    5. without an organizational predisposition to learn.

  7. Step Change therefore requires:

    1. Participatory involvement and receptivity by those who will be affected,
    2. a Paradigm Shift in the way we approach First Pass Yield improvement,
    3. External stimulus from outsiders (e.g., consultants),
    4. Commitment by senior management, and
    5. A culture which allows mistakes and encourages exploration.

  8. The Paradigm Shift in the way we go about achieving Step Change includes:

    From   To
    Asking How & What ---> Asking Why, first
    Dividing to Conquer ---> Integrating to Conquer
    Specialization/Discipline ---> Lateralization/Creativity
    Knowing and Telling ---> Listening and Asking
    Fixing and Doing ---> Curing and Thinking
    Classical Accounting ---> Relevant Accounting
    Short Term Optimization ---> Long Term Optimization
    Local Optimization ---> Global Optimization

  9. To get this Step Change Improvement Process started I recommend:

    1. A Step Change Committee be formed consisting of persons from your department who might become Chairpersons of Yield Improvement Teams.
    2. This Step Change Committee would exchange issues and ways of going about executing a Step Change improvement.
    3. The Step Change Committee would be charged with devising a Step Change Template which would have general applicability.
    4. Commitment by senior management and The Step Change Template might include things like:
      1. Relevant Accounting and Benefits
      2. Ways to seek out and listen
      3. The Step Change Paradigm Shift
      4. Ways to Instrument, Model, Simulate and Experiment
      5. Planning so everyone WINS with Step Change
      6. Checklists and Questions to stimulate Creativity.

  10. The benefits would be:

    1. Actionable template which could proliferate easily,
    2. The beginnings of a New Way of problem solving,
    3. Confidence in tackling challenges of the '90s, and
    4. Renewed respect for the Technical Function.


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Copyright © 1990 by James E. Cook