Kaizen: Continuous Improvement or Frustration?


Dietsche, Thomas J.; Goo, Ronlyn-Ann   (1990, ASQC)   Dow Chemical USA, Pittsburg, PA

Annual Quality Congress, San Francisco, CA    Vol. 44    No. 0
QICID: 9455    May 1990    pp. 230-235
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Article Abstract

It has been more than five years since Dow Chemical has accepted the premise that if we did not change the way we conducted our business, we could no longer remain competitive in the global business environment. We can point to definite improvements that are directly due to using statistical tools. It has also been possible to attach actual dollar values to these improvement projects. Recently an improvement in the operation of a plant distillation train lead to a savings of $500,000. This project was made possible by a working team of research and plant engineers and the distillation operators with full management support. The authors will highlight the problems of the distillation train and how these were resolved. Bouyed by this success, a second distillation train was approached with the feeling that it should be much easier the second time around. However, with a new set of players and conditions, the progress was much slower. As several of the "Quality Gurus" have pointed out, operating in the new mode would require a cultural change. The authors have selected 10 elements of our Company culture and will demonstrate the old mode of action vs. the new mode. It will be seen how these two different modes of action, both very much in place, have at times lead to "Continuous Frustration" instead of "Continuous Improvement". The understanding of this cultural conflict has been important in order to turn the frustration into improvement.


Chemical and process industries

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