markrhamel's blog

Pitch interval (Ip) can be thought of in two ways: 1) as a unit of time representing the (usually) smallest common pitch shared among a range of products, services, or transactions that are being produced, conveyed, performed, or executed by a given resource(s), and 2) as a count of the number of intervals of a common pitch over a period of time, typically a shift or day.

It all started when my colleague and I noted that we had used the same data to calculate Cpk, but ended up with different results. This led us down an Alice in Wonderland-like path of Google searching, Wikipedia reading, and blogosphere scanning. After several days of investigation, we determined that there was no consensus on how to properly calculate estimated standard deviation. Knowing that there must be a misunderstanding and that this should be purely an effort based on science, we decided to get to the bottom of this.

Days Inventory on Hand

Days inventory on hand, also known as a days of supply, along with inventory turns, is a measure of inventory investment. While turns may be one of the most basic measures of an organization’s “leanness,” days inventory on hand perhaps helps lean practitioners better visualize the magnitude of (excess) inventory and its impact on a value stream’s lead time. This is especially applicable when the notion of inventory extends beyond parts and finished goods to transactional (i.e., files, contracts, etc.) and healthcare (i.e., tests, reports, etc.) value streams.

Full time equivalent(s), commonly referred to as FTE(s), represents the number of equivalent employees working full time. One full time equivalent is equivalent to one employee working full time. Typically, FTEs are measured to one or two decimal points. FTEs are NOT people. Rather, FTEs are a ratio of worked time, within a specific scope, like a department, and the number of working hours during a given period of time. As such, an FTE often does not equate to the number of employees actually on staff.

In the words of my friend and colleague Larry Loucka, “graphs are math.” Graphs often serve as effective visual process performance tools. Typically, these types of graphs fall into the metric category. As reflected in the supporting concepts of the fourth dimension of the Shingo Prize model, good metrics should: 1. “measure what matters,” 2. “align behaviors with performance,” and 3. “identify cause and effect relationships.” Real lean drives measurable operational and financial performance improvement.


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