From an interview with Steve Jobs, December 19, 1991, in Redwood City, California.
Here Jobs talks about improving processes.
STEVE JOBS: . . . I think the things that we've learned most from Dr. Juran are to look at everything as a repetitive process. And to instrument that process and find out how it's running and then start to take it apart and re-put it back together in ways that dramatically improve its effectiveness, in a very straight-forward way.
And no magic, no pep rallies, just looking things directly in the eye, seeing them as repetitive processes, and then re-engineering them. I think most of the quality stuff, as I've understood it, is really a lot about re-engineering your repetitive processes -- to make them much, much more effective, combining them, eliminating some, strengthening others.
Steve Jobs and Joseph Juran were talking about improving quality and efficiency by taking a hard look at processes. More truth here than meets the eye.
In my early years consulting in United States Air Force organizations, my teams flowed processes and analyzed. First, you had to know how the process is supposed to work. Second, you had to know how it was actually working. People will naturally move toward more efficient ways of accomplishing tasks. Unfortunately they can only do so much. There may be system-based activities in the process that limit efficiencies. By flowing a process, gathering data on each stage, and discussing with the employees involved, we always found ways to improve the process.
At one point in my career I led a project to study manpower requirements at hospitals throughout the Air Force. It was a multimillion dollar project. I was given 60 teams worldwide to get the job done and three years to complete the study. There was a manual describing the process to follow. I did a PERT analysis of the process. I found one required link where, if given Pentagon approval, we could do something differently. If it worked, we could save a lot of money, do the job in 1.5 years and with only 20 teams. We got approval. Our approach worked. We had created a new way of doing these types of projects by changing one step. This way became the model used in future Air Force manpower studies and saved millions. It began by simply asking, are all these steps really necessary?
Image from Acaben at http://www.flickr.com/photos/35034346178@N01/541326656
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