Software Data Collection and Kaizen Techniques
A major purchasing software system was to be installed at a multi-national company. The software was specific to each plant or service department. Teams of consultants would visit each plant and try to gather the necessary data that the software installers need to install the software of the particular plant. That data was then given to the software installer to feed to the purchasing software system and then the system went live.
The error rate for the new plant systems was atrocious and the punch lists (errors) were huge. The client was growing increasingly skeptical about the software.
The software installers decided to have a Kaizen event. They did invite some data collectors to participate. It became blatantly obvious that there was no standard data collection process or technique that the data collectors used. Data was provided on spreadsheets, hand written papers, MS word documents etc. There was no order or structure to how the data was collected. When the software installers received the data it was almost impossible to be accurate with it.
The Kaizen leader took a bold step and asked the software installers to design the As Is process from scratch, not an easy Kaizen task but necessary. The installers noted that there were 420 different screens that data had to be entered on when the software was installed. They brainstormed what to do and came up with a plan to design an Excel spreadsheet with 420 sheets or one for each screen. Essentially each spreadsheet somewhat mimicked the entry screen with instructions about the data. The data collectors in the Kaizen not only agreed to the new As Is but sold it to the other data collectors. The spreadsheet soon became more and more sophisticated and made the data collector’s job much easier by eliminating duplicate entries and creative macros.
The data entry error rate dropped from over 50% to less than 1 percent. The client’s confidence in the new procurement system rose and they ordered multiple new