Monday, July 30, 2012

The Basics of Lean Certification

                   Lean certification is applied to manufacturing for the purpose of increasing output while cutting costs and lessening the overall impact on the environment. There are a number of individual building blocks that make up the lean certification philosophy. In order to be certified as a lean manufacturing individual, these basic building blocks must be learned and one must pass an exam to demonstrate an understand of these principles.

                  One of the first concepts associated with lean training is the Kaizen method of continuous improvement. The Kaizen method dates back to just after World War II. It was a practice that the Japanese developed for manufacturing. It literally means "change for the better", and involves a process where all the employees are trained to spot possible inefficiencies and report them to a team leader, who is authorized to immediate put changes in place. The Kaizen method is incorporated into the lean manufacturing philosophy.

                   There is often a component labeled as "green" in the process. This refers to recognizing the amount of energy used in the manufacturing process and looking for ways to reduce energy usage. Energy is expensive, and in some cases, one of the most expensive costs of producing an item. Conserving is an integral part of this process. Being "green" also refers to containment of waste produced while producing an item. Waste reduction and management is a large part of the green consideration.

                    When one hears the word "cellular" one thinks of a hand-held communication device. In the context of lean technology, cellular refers to being modular, or creating cells of activity. By creating small cells of equipment and laborers, a company is in a more flexible position to respond to changes in demand. To increase demand, one can increase the number of cells quicker than making trying to upscale an entire manufacturing line. It takes less capital to build another cell, and cells are movable. That is, they can transported to different parts of the country to go where the demand is highest.

                     Other areas include learning change-over techniques. A change-over refers to using the same equipment to make a different piece of the product. By reducing change-over time, supply can increase quickly in response to demand.

                      Using the pull method of determining demand means that consumption is the key driver of measuring demand rather than forecasting. As sales increase, manufacturing supply is incrementally increased in proportion.

                       Finally, the goal of lean manufacturing is to involve every aspect of the company, rather than just the production line. Finance, management, and procurement are all included in the constant improvement process. This way, efficiencies are produced throughout the entire company structure, and costs are held down when demand goes up.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Seven Questions Employment Agencies Should Never Ask During A Selection Interview

Although anti-discrimination laws differ from state to state, there are just some questions, which are prejudicial in its tone when asked by employment agencies during the employment selection process. Being discriminatory, it is therefore, important to refrain from asking these kinds of questions.

1. Avoid questions about race and ethnic background.

                    People all across the globe are now vigilant about cultural minority and labor rights. Unless you want to find cause-oriented groups picketing outside your employment agency, refrain from tackling extensively and prejudicially the applicant's color and race.

2. Refrain from asking questions related to the applicant's place of birth.

                    Unless the information you will get out of the applicant relates to the job he is applying, avoid asking the question. What good will it does you and your employment agency if you know the applicant's place of birth?

3. Never highlight questions about religion or spiritual practices.

                    History will tell us that there were many people who lived and died for their religious beliefs. Would you want a part of the statistics? Employment agencies interview the applicants as courteous and professional as possible.

4. Never ever ask about a person's sexual experience.

                    Never talk about a person's sexual experiences, especially in an office setting. Not only will you find cause-oriented groups rallying outside you; you will most probably get a crisp slap on the face if you ask that question.

5. Never ask about contact persons in case of emergency.

                     Do not ask whom should you contact for when an emergency happens to the applicant. Not only will you hint on the applicant that he is at risk while employed with you, but you also shows that you might dispatch him when you are not satisfied with his job performance. What would you do with that information in the first place?

6. Get rid of that usual "what are your hobbies?" question.

                      Stay away from questions related to the applicant's hobbies. What good does it do you if you happen to find out that the male applicant you are interviewing enjoys cross-stitching during his spare time? Believe me, you will only judge the applicant based on the information you will get. So keep your question and judgment to yourself.

7. Just ask relevant questions.

                        Avoid asking any information you are really not going to use to find the applicant's ability to handle the job. Remember that the interview is to find people suited for the job. This is the main job of employment agencies. The questions should therefore probe around the applicant's credentials for the job. Simply put nothing more and nothing less.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Executive Search and Hiring Processes Maintaining Moderation in the Relationship

                   The interview process is a tricky business. This is typically the most crucial stage of the executive search and hiring procedures, wherein not only is the employer coming to learn about and assess potential employees, but at which time those same candidates are forming an early assessment of the employer as well. While everyone tends to think about the importance of the candidate as they are working to make a strong first impression on the employer and impress the interviewer with their skills and background, what most fail to consider is the need for the interviewer to do likewise, putting their best foot forward and presenting themselves to their candidates in a respectful and professional manner. Unfortunately, far too many employers misinterpret this as meaning that they need to begin selling their candidates on the company and the available position almost as soon as they set foot through the door. However, taking such an offensive strategy in their interview processes has shown to be more damaging than effective as it tends to create false hopes and ideas in the candidates' minds when the employer becomes too enthusiastic too early, not to mention that this means the interviewer is probably doing far too much talking and not letting the candidate speak, a circumstance which means that the employer cannot possibly be assessing the individual as well as they should.

                     The problem here is that there is a careful balance that needs to be struck early on in the interview process wherein each participant acknowledges and defines their roles even before the interview proper begins. While those in these roles tend to view the circumstances as the interviewer having the authority and being in charge, given the precarious and trying nature of these procedures, the interviewer at least, needs to be able to recognize that, in essence, they are in a far more balanced relationship with the candidate than they might have been in the past. Nowadays, following the decline of the economy and its effects on the job market, when employers think they have found an individual who shows sufficient promise they have a tendency to throw themselves at these candidates, turning over the power in the relationship to the applicant as they abandon their traditional role and begin working to keep the individual in question interested in the company and position.

                          Unfortunately, more often than not, this failure to keep the relationship defined and balanced will only result in bad hires which will then have to be let go shortly thereafter and the whole process begun anew, a cycle which can be extremely costly to any organization. To avoid such a situation, the employer must acknowledge that, while they have the power to decide on a candidate, when those talented individuals come along, some degree of that power will shift, as they are sure to want to hang on to such a promising candidate. But as tempting as this might be, to maintain and integrity and effectiveness of the executive search and hiring processes, and to escape having to repeat these processes unnecessarily, employer must maintain control of the situation and find that crucial balance to let them effectively assess the individual while keeping them interested and drawn in without swaying to far one way of the other.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Six Sigma Training and Implementation

                   Different groups within your organization should receive different levels of Six Sigma training, but all have a role to play. Senior management (including the CEO, CIO, CFO and others) must begin by incorporating Sigma Six business objectives into their company plans - for example, deciding what percentage of employees will be trained in Six Sigma methodology by a set date and how many fewer defects should be present in processes that the customers are able to observe.

               For the senior management, Six Sigma training would probably include an overview of the program, discussion of the financial and business benefits of implementing the program, and examples of successful program deployments from actual businesses, and the training and tools that will be necessary for them to implement Six Sigma in their own company. If they have time available and an interest in the details of Six Sigma, it is recommended that they receive Black Belt training - which would permit them to train other employees in the program in the future.

                 Next, functional and process managers, who report directly to the senior management, might come from areas including finance, training, human resources, call center, production and assembly. Within Six Sigma, they are often called "champions" or "sponsors" because their role is championing the program within their organization. They receive more detailed training than the senior management, including information on the Six Sigma concept and methodology, along with the requirements and tools to help them successfully implement the program in their company. Black Belt training is also recommended for this group.

                   Quality leaders/managers should take Master Black Belt roles. They ought to help the functional and process managers set up and lead the implementation process in their areas, and coach them as necessary. Their role is to keep rolled-up budgets, track the cost savings of the business, make sure that training goals are met, review the projects whenever a milestone is hit, share stories of best practices, and make sure that methodologies and tools are used appropriately.

                    They receive detailed Six Sigma training in the areas of tools, methodology and concept. They also receive extensive statistics and computer analysis tool training. This training might last as long as three or four weeks.

                  Project leaders will take Black Belt roles. They are the ones who actually implement Six Sigma tools and methodology within the company. They lead projects, both inter- and intra-function, determine which is the appropriate tool to use in certain situations, perform certain analyses, and serve as the central contact point for projects to improve specific processes.

                  They also receive detailed information about Six Sigma tools, concept and methodology. Training for project leaders may last from two to four weeks, as well as at least one more week training between sections. Although they receive statistics training, it is not as detailed as that which the quality leaders undergo.

                  Employees will take a Green Belt role. They may, however, also take Six Sigma training courses which were specifically created for project leaders. Although it is shorter in duration and less detailed, the employees' training is similar to that which the Black Belts receive; if they have more complex questions, however, they are told to ask a Black Belt for help.

                  In order to implement Six Sigma, it is necessary for company to take certain steps. Some experts organize the required changes into the DMAIC form that makes up such an important part of the Six Sigma methodology. First, the business must define what they wish to accomplish with a Six Sigma program, and all workers should receive training.

              By the time they begin the program, they must have timetables for deployment and clear knowledge about what they will be expected to contribute. Next, they must measure progress as the program proceeds. Key performance indicators (KPIs) should include at least the number of Belts who need training, dollar-target benefits, and performance goals for individuals.

               Training and improvement should continue even after deployment - for example, all Black Belts should receive training in Lean Six Sigma. Furthermore, it is important for workers to be careful about what projects they select. Project selection must be based on solid opportunity and projected benefit rather than "gut feeling."

                  The team that works on the project should be carefully selected - three to six workers, including at the least, a process owner, an expert in the field and a process operator. A financial representative ought to have full understanding of all the developments in the project. It is also important for the organization to analyze the projects and the data that they bring in.

                  Implementing Six Sigma can provide your company with a whole new look at the production and service process. It is a very valuable tool for your business.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Job Recruitment Online: A More Convenient Way of Employment

                   Online job recruitment is not something new. Many companies are currently conducting job hiring and interviews online to save time and money. For job seekers, it is also a convenient method; candidates would not have to visit the office of the future employer in order to apply for certain positions. Through just a few clicks, the chance to obtain the offered job is yours to take. Companies would usually use at least two methods of online recruitment: online hiring and online interviews. Both use the Internet as their means, but have subtle differences of their own. To become more familiar with both methods, below is a short introduction to each method.

Online Hiring

                      Besides putting up advertisements in newspapers or magazines, companies would often put job vacancies on the Internet. Open positions are commonly available on the company's website or job vacancy database. Placing job opportunities online is less expensive and more effective than doing so in paper. When advertising in newspapers, the chances of finding suitable candidates are very limited; the chance is even smaller when you only advertise in local newspapers.

                         Announcing job opportunities online has big advantages. Not only does it target local people around your company; people from different countries can also find your open recruitment. This is of course a huge benefit, especially when you are looking for professional candidates regardless of their nationality and background. Local companies can also enjoy the benefit of this method since they can find potential employees from different cities or states.

Online Interview

                    Online job interviews have become a trend recently. It is more convenient to conduct the interview via video chat rather than to invite candidates from many different parts of the country. Not only you, the interviewer; the candidates as the interviewee can also enjoy the benefit of online interviews.They will feel more comfortable receiving interviews at the comfort of their own place instead of at a new environment such as a foreign office building.

                        In making the online job interview a success, both the interviewer and interviewee should take proper preparations.Mastering the features and setting of the software and making sure that it is correctly installed are essential for the smoothness of the interview. Good connectivity is also very important in an online job interview. An unstable connection may end up distracting your concentration as it will create video and audio disturbances. Other details should also be considered when taking online interviews. Both parties should maintain direct eye contact by looking into the webcam, dress and groom professionally, prepare interview materials, prepare pen and paper for taking notes, provide proper lighting, avoid noises and other distractions, maintain proper gestures, and maintain their manner on a professional level.