Assessment Phase

Some general observations from the assessment phase follow.

An assessment should be quick, uncomplicated, and structured to suit local conditions. Otherwise, it is viewed as an annoyance intruding on the day-to-day concern of running a production process. Assessment teams should be small, about six to eight people, to encourage open discussion when options are generated.

Including at least one line worker on an assessment team provides insight into how the process operates. Including at least one person from outside the process on an assessment team provides a fresh perspective. Area inspections and brainstorming meetings are valuable tools during the assessment phase. Determining the source of the waste stream, as opposed to the equipment that emits it, is important before the option generation step. Overly structured methods of screening options do not overcome group biases and are regarded as time-wasters by most teams.

Particularly helpful is the inclusion of people from outside the process on each assessment team. Outsiders provide an objective view. Their presence promotes creative thinking because they do not know the process well enough to be bound by conventions. Appointing outsiders as the assessment team leaders can capitalize on the fresh prospectives they provide.

The following is a task-by-task analysis of the assessment phase of a project (Trebilcock, Finkle, and DiJulia 1993).

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