Focused Improvement

Focused improvement is an improvement activity performed by cross-functional project teams composed of people such as production engineers, maintenance personnel, and operators. These activities are designed to minimize  targeted losses that have been carefully measured and evaluated. In addition to the seven major losses experienced in fabrication and assem-  bly industries, process industries sustain three additional types of loss: people-  related losses such as work and commiseration losses raw-materials losses such,  as yield, unit—consumption, and recycling losses; and management losses such  as Shutdown maintenance and energy losses.

In process industries,  focused improvement activity is directed at a specific  object such as a process, a flow system, an item of equipment, or an operating Procedure. For example, process design must be an integral -part of product development and improvement. A focused improvement Project can address vital, related issues such as establishing criteria for selecting processes and their conditions, discovering deficiencies in Process conditions, and finding and closing gaps between actual and ideal process conditions. The trend toward unattended operation is well advanced in process industries and will probably be taken even further in the future.

For this reason,ideas for stabilizing processes and eliminating equipment breakdowns, idling, and minor stops are also important topics for focused improvement. When the focus is strictly on equipment, project teams follow a similar approach to that developed in fabrication and assembly industries. They document and analyze the major equipment-related losses, then study the equipment carefully to identify the process conditions it is required to provide and to ensure that it can fulfill them.

Whether the focus is on the process, work flow, equipment, or operating procedures, however, focused improvement activity is founded on effective use of cause analysis methods, such as why-why analysis and P-M analysis. Focused Improvement, provides a detailed review of the planning and management of focused improvement team activities, the methods used, strategies for specific losses, and case examples.