Lean vs. Six Sigma

Many people today tout Lean Six Sigma as a common tool to drive process improvement across industries and functions.  You may think that the two are one in the same, but Lean methodology and Six Sigma are two distinct tools to achieve performance improvement smashed together under one banner: LSS

Six Sigma

Six Sigma is oriented towards identifying and removing causes of defects and minimizing process variability.  The six sigma name references 3.94 defects per million, which is six standard deviations between the mean and control limits. Conducting a Six Sigma improvement project involves collecting data on the process, inputs, and outputs.  The practitioner then statistically analyzes the process data to understand capability and improvement opportunities.

This approach makes sense for a stable and repeatable process that serves customer needs and is not anticipated to change.  Six Sigma is not well suited for updating a process for changing customer demands or a technological disruption.

Lean Methodology

Lean is a method and tool set focused on creating or re-defining a process, so it’s more capable to respond to changing customer demand and to eliminate waste.  While executing a lean process design, the project leader will lead the team through process mapping analysis to define the future state and then compare this against the current state to identify and quantify areas of waste and barriers to change.  

In lean, waste definition extends beyond the obvious material consumption or wait times and into reducing handling and touches, ahead of schedule production, and wasted effort such as re-work.  The lean framework will cause a critical look at the entire process and certainly question the time and effort tied up in quality control processes.

In a manufacturing environment, the lean process is setup to accommodate the needs of the customer as reducing their waste is a logical focus and result of the lean project.  A lean process methodology grounded in serving the customer what they want and when they need it will win that customer for the long term.

Future Vision

As a first step, companies need to think of their desired outcome of the project.  Lean and Six Sigma are both means to performance improvement. However, they both lead to different types of results and continuous improvement mindsets.  Six Sigma will deliver the process improvement, and Lean will create a process toward satisfying the customer needs.

With Industry 4.0, the real possibility of LSS methodology is here.  The automation of real time data acquisition and analytics to identify the appropriate process sequence, to schedule preventive maintenance, and to drive out bad lots of raw materials.  The Internet of Things is the piece that will truly allow the convergence of Six Sigma and lean into a unified tool for performance improvement.

At Veryable, we have a flexible, on-demand labor solution to capture the operating gains and incremental revenue identified by a rigorous process improvement project.  Check out how you can use on-demand, flexible staffing to improve your performance at www.veryableops.com or let us know if you are interested in Veryable Operation Services (VOS) to drive performance improvement.

Building a Better Workforce

WHAT DO BUSINESSES REALLY WANT FROM THEIR WORKERS?

In order to succeed in the manufacturing, distribution, and warehousing sectors, businesses must be focused on one thing…consistency.  Whether it’s in their processes and procedures, supply chain, distribution channels, or the final product, consistency must be maintained for the business to reach its full potential.  With that said, you can’t have consistency in your business without consistency in your workers.

So what does a “consistent” worker look like?  According to a study conducted on behalf of Career Builder, consistent workers have the following traits:

Work Ethic:  Businesses want workers who strive to get the job done with little oversight in their daily work activities.

Dependability:  Businesses want workers they can rely on to show up to work on time and ready to work every day.

Self-Motivation:  While it may be a manager’s job to keep their employees motivated, it makes the manager’s job a lot easier if their employees are motivated each day to get the job done on their own.

Good Attitudes:  No one wants to be around a person with a bad attitude, and bad attitudes can bring down the morale of the entire team.

So how do you find those traits in your potential workers?  The traditional employment model of reviewing resumes and interviewing candidates doesn’t work, because it is unable to assess the qualities that lead to a consistent worker.  In fact, Inc. predicts that the job interview model will soon be extinct. The good news, however, is that there is another way…Veryable.

THE VERYABLE SOLUTION

How is Veryable able to help businesses build a better, more consistent workforce when traditional employment and staffing companies have failed to do this for so many years?  It’s simple…The Veryable model leads to a workforce that is:

Rated:  Much like your Uber driver or your favorite restaurant on Yelp, the workers (we call them “Operators”) on the Veryable platform are rated.  Each time an Operator completes their work, the business is required to rate their performance in four categories:  quality, safety, attitude, and timeliness.  This rating system allows the business to know exactly what type of worker they are getting before the Operator shows up to work.

Accountable: The Veryable rating system requires Operators to perform well at each work opportunity in order to get good ratings.  Good ratings lead to more work and potentially higher pay.  Because of this, Veryable Operators have a better work ethic and are more dependable and motivated.

Driven: The Veryable model encourages flexibility for workers on the platform.  According to Forbes, flexibility leads to a more efficient, focused, and innovative worker.  Driven workers are dependable workers.

Satisfied:  Veryable Operators are able to take charge of their careers by choosing when and where they want to work.  Each time an Operator accepts a work opportunity, they are making an affirmative decision to work for that specific company on that specific day.  This leads to the Operator having more control over their career, and thus, a more satisfied worker.

Diverse:  The Veryable model allows a new group of workers to participate in the manufacturing workforce, and this group is both younger and more diverse than traditional manufacturing workers.   Having workers that are diverse in demographics, personas, and skills has been shown to improve employee dependability, motivation, attitudes, and work ethic.

Building a labor pool full of workers that are accountable, satisfied, and diverse will lead to a better, more consistent workforce.  If your business is looking for consistency in its workforce, it’s time to try a new method.  To get started building your own labor pool of Veryable Operators, visit our website at: http://www.veryableops.com.

Why on-demand work is right for you

Do you ever wish you could take time off work whenever you want, rather than waiting for approval from a supervisor? Do you ever wish you could work extra to afford something special, but can’t get any OT at work?

If you answered “yes,” then on-demand work might be the perfect solution for you: work when you want, where you want, and how much you want, with no one to tell you how many or how few hours you’re allowed. We know it sounds too good to be true, but let us walk you through some of the benefits of becoming a Veryable operator, and you’ll see why thousands of Texans have already joined our on-demand workforce.

Flexibility

One of the biggest reasons for choosing on-demand work is the ability to create your own schedule. Are you a night owl who hates waking up early? Do you have kids you wish you could spend more time with after school? With on-demand work, you can easily find work opportunities that fit the schedule that you need.

Diversity

Too many of us have experienced the monotony of doing the same old job, day in and day out. But with on-demand work, you’ll never feel stuck in a dead-end job again. You get to choose which work opportunities you want, which means you can try out different industries and types of work without locking yourself down to something you may not like. Even better, you can gain relevant experience in any field you’re interested in, and this will help you find better work opportunities in the future.

Increased Income

Everyone can always use more money. It’s a fact of life. Even with a full-time job, there never seems to be enough to cover all of life’s little expenses. So why not make extra money when you have the time? With on-demand work, you can quickly find work and make extra cash any time you want. And yes, you may have to withhold your own taxes, but did you know that independent contractors get nifty tax deductions for stuff like travel expenses and work supplies? Not a bad deal at all.

To sum it all up, there’s no reason not to join the Veryable on-demand workforce. Even if you’re just looking for a way to make some extra spending money, there are always new work opportunities waiting. So come try out Veryable and see how on-demand work will work for you.

 

If you want to become a Veryable Operator and start enjoying these benefits, you can get started today by downloading the mobile App from our website: www.veryableops.com.  You can also download directly from the Apple store or Google Play, or complete our Web Form if you’re away from your phone.  For any questions, please feel free to reach out to the Veryable recruiting team at (214) 310-0424.

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  • Olivia Dossett

Is On-Demand Labor Right for Your Business?

As anyone in charge of staffing for a company knows, trying to accurately predict exactly when and how much labor your operation will need can be incredibly difficult. Demand will always be volatile, so demand planning can only get you so far, especially for newer businesses that don’t have substantial past data to reference. And even if your business does have the data and budget for extensive demand planning, why risk unexpected fluctuations in demand when there’s a cheaper, savvier way to address your labor needs that eliminates the guesswork?

Sure, temporary staffing agencies have long been the standard for helping to address these needs, but they present their own set of limitations and frustrations for business owners. Excessive fees, binding contracts, temporary-to-hire restrictions, and lengthy wait times are par for the course, but up until recently, businesses have had no other recourse. Now, however, there is a new alternative that addresses any temporary labor needs your business may have, all while circumventing the hassles of using traditional staffing approaches.

Welcome to on-demand labor.

With on-demand labor, you can adjust your labor capacity in real-time, allowing you to respond immediately to unexpected fluctuations in demand. The implications of this for business owners cannot be overstated. Without the flexibility of on-demand labor, there are potential pitfalls on both sides of the equation. Anticipate too much demand and you’re left locked into a steep temp agency contract with a supply of unneeded workers, exacerbating the financial strain already brought about by the slow cycle. Conversely, under-anticipating your labor needs may prevent you from accepting additional orders, forcing you to reject potential revenue.

On-demand labor renders both of these contingencies entirely avoidable. Veryable’s on-demand labor marketplace allows you to post work opportunities on a per piece, hourly, or daily basis, so there’s no obligation to continue contracting operators if demand lags unexpectedly. On the flip side, you can also use Veryable to quickly scale your labor capacity for an unexpected spike in demand, so you’ll never have to turn away potential revenue again. There truly is no downside to utilizing Veryable to address market volatility.

 

Additional benefits of on-demand labor.

In case you haven’t already been convinced, consider these additional advantages to using Veryable’s on-demand labor marketplace:

1. 40% reduction in labor acquisition cost compared to traditional staffing methods

2. No administrative burden: every operator is background checked, fully insured, and paid through Veryable

3. No contracts or upfront costs: only pay once project is completed to satisfaction

4. No minimum or maximum hiring obligation

5. Experienced labor: you can view each operator’s work experience, skill levels, and performance ratings to find  the people who best suit your needs

Ready to get started?

Feel free to poke around a bit more on our website or call (214) 530-2336 if you want more information. Better yet, there’s no commitment or cost for creating a profile on our business portal, so head over to http://company.veryableops.com/ to start familiarizing yourself with our platform and perusing our operator list. The profile setup takes less than five minutes, and only requires basic information about your business. There’s also direct chat support in the business portal, so we can help you through the process if you have any questions.

After you’ve set up your profile, you can spend some time looking around the portal, or go ahead and enter in your payment method to create your very first work request (we call them ‘ops’). We’ve included plenty of great ways to customize your op, like the ability to pay hourly or by unit, and to set it as either single or multi-day. Here’s a quick outline of the Veryable process:

1. Create and post an op according to your specifications

2. Operators in your area will submit requests (‘bids’ in Veryable lingo) to work on the op

3. From there, all you have to do is accept the bids you want

4. Veryable notifies the operators instantly, they perform the op, and you get to rate their performance

No contracts, no long-term commitments, no paperwork. Welcome to Veryable.

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The On-Demand Marketplace for Manufacturing

The workforce has a once in a lifetime opportunity on its hands as the adoption of IoT and digital operations capabilities accelerates and becomes more widespread among producers and distributors.  Digital is the driver that ultimately divorces most the workforce from specialized and company-specific operational knowledge.  The result is an environment where any able-bodied worker should be able to step into most operational environments and be immediately productive due to the operator enablement resources deployed by a company sitting on vast amounts of new operational intelligence.  Not only do we think this is nothing for the worker to fear, we believe this is a massive opportunity and the on-demand marketplace is the ideal vehicle by which to form the new labor paradigm.

How does the on-demand marketplace work?

The on-demand marketplace is based on a local “labor pools” that form the supply side of the equation and digitally-enabled producers and distributors that form the demand side.  The idea of the supply side labor pools in this context is more specific than the notion of the labor force, in general, as a pool of workers; rather, the labor pools in the on-demand marketplace are groups of workers with similar skill sets and work interests within a similar geography, connected and pooled by a common technology platform.  The technology platform serves as the mechanism to connect businesses with the labor pools while reducing the administrative burdens associated with hiring/firing, qualification, payments, and benefits.

Workers in the on-demand marketplace have the ability to opt into a wide spectrum of work opportunities on an hourly or daily basis.  Within the Veryable platform, we call these work opportunities “Ops” – discrete work elements that are posted by companies depending on their operational needs.  Veryable Ops can be based on hourly pay rates, per task rates, or per unit of output rates depending on the type of work.  The types of Ops can range from pick-pack-ship, kitting, subassembly, product assembly, etc.

It is the advancements in technology that enable this high level of labor fluidity and market making capabilities.  Every operator in the labor pool gets real time visibility to all Ops posted in their area, the ability to opt into the Op instantly from their mobile device, and the operator enablement they need to perform the work properly on site.

What are the benefits?

The Veryable on-demand marketplace creates the win-win scenario needed to revitalize the manufacturing sector.  For the labor force, access to the Veryable marketplace means that no qualified operator is ever structurally unemployed.  It also provides higher levels of flexibility and diversity than one single full time employment opportunity could ever offer.  The on-demand model embeds the work-life balance that today’s workforce is demanding: the ability to work when you want to, where you want to, and with no long-term work obligations.  It also allows workers to broaden their skills and marketability through exposure to many different types of Ops, e.g., an operator with 20 years of warehousing experience can broaden his or her skills by performing Ops in assembly, test, or machining.

For businesses, the Veryable marketplace introduces a zero cost to scale opportunity.  Businesses can tap into the labor pool on a daily basis to introduce new levels of labor capacity and specify terms in Ops that embed productivity and keep cost structures constant.  Use cases can vary from using the on-demand model to address outliers or alleviate disruptions, responding quickly to rapid increases in order rates, or using piece rate bidding to increase labor productivity across a subset, or the full range, of internal labor requirements.

How should companies get ready for this?

As discussed in the Digital Manufacturing blog series, it is company owned operational intelligence that enables this ecosystem of on-demand labor.  Many companies are beginning to explore how to embrace and develop IoT use cases and this will only accelerate in the next few years.

Forward thinking companies should focus on establishing core operational intelligence platforms that target high potential use cases as the main building blocks of their digital transformation.  We believe one of these core tenets should be operator enablement, i.e., the management and dissemination of process information.  Some of the operator enablement capabilities can be embedded with very little investment, e.g., monitors with digital work instructions and RFID based tracking and safety controls.  Other capabilities like augmented reality, wearables, or real time operator alerts, will require a more robust operational intelligence platform and thus a more sizable investment.

However, a guiding principle in how to think about advantaged operations in the IoT age is how to harness product and process intelligence as company IP and deliver that IP to the shop floor so that any operator, regardless of background, can pick up a wrench or a cart and know what to do.  Only then will your labor capacity be able to respond with the same flexibility and agility as the rest of your digitally-enabled assets.

For more information about the on-demand labor for manufacturing and warehouse applications, please view our website: www.veryableops.com

New Take on Temporary Staffing

The Current State of Temp Staffing Practices

Temporary staffing is not a new concept.  In fact, a large percentages of businesses currently utilize temporary staffing in some fashion, whether for staff augmentation in departments like IT and accounting or to manage seasonality with direct shop floor manufacturing labor.  Regardless of specialization, the temporary staffing process typically follows a standard model: businesses contact a staffing firm, enter into an agreement for a certain number of contract employees for a defined period of time, the contractors perform their work on site for the duration of the contract, and the staffing firm manages the social costs for the contract employee.

Major Inefficiencies in the Current Model

More often than not, businesses benefit from the staffing arrangements through onboarding/training/exit cost avoidance and more flexible labor capacity.  However, traditional temporary staffing models for manufacturing labor still present major inefficiencies for companies related to three core issues: 1) “fixed” period costs, 2) productivity, and 3) availability and choice.

1) Fixed period costs – Since temporary staffing models are based on pre-determined time intervals, businesses essentially commit a fixed cost to augment labor which is not necessarily in concert with sales volume.  Businesses often encounter a revenue-cost mismatch that impacts profitability or constricts growth since the planning horizons are still too long in duration to create more precise alignment.

2) Productivity – Due to the fixed cost nature of the temporary staff, businesses own the burden of ensuring that labor is used efficiently.  This requires high levels of supervision and personnel management.  Learning curves and inexperience lead to a lag in value realization and the per unit cost structure inflates.

3) Availability and Choice – Traditional temporary staffing firms pull from a finite pool of labor that can become constrained on availability.  Businesses looking to scale quickly and drastically in the short run may end up short in meeting their needs.  In addition, businesses have limited ability to select the specific individual they want to perform the work.

The New Paradigm

Veryable’s new on-demand labor model addresses these three challenges by allowing manufacturing businesses to bid work in hourly increments, compensate Veryable staff through output based “piece work”, and select the specific individual they want from a large pool of available resources.  This new model will equip Veryable customers with an innovative way to manage manufacturing and warehousing costs, taking productivity concerns off the table, and unshackle them to grow their business with minimal burden.

Positive Externalities of On-Demand Labor

The Veryable Vision

Make no mistake about it, our mission at Veryable is to help revitalize the manufacturing sector in high cost regions through lower per unit product costs and minimal cost to scale. We are passionate about this mission because we believe that on-demand labor in the manufacturing sector will produce not only higher productivity and economic performance, but positive externalities for our society. Our vision for the future is to eliminate structural unemployment in the manufacturing sector by providing an option for all qualified individuals to seek and obtain daily work opportunities.

Reduction of Structural Unemployment in Manufacturing

In today’s industrial environment, we have the opportunity to define and match skills / competencies in broader terms and allow enabling technology or managerial oversight to help bridge the experience gap.  An ex-automotive upholstery assembler should not have to find another automotive upholstery opportunity to earn a living – his or her skills and experience will translate effectively into a number of similar work opportunities.  Structural employment is largely a perceived barrier in manufacturing and on-demand labor is the right tool to help eliminate the problem.

Diverse Experiences and Higher Personal Productivity

In addition, the broader definition of skills and capabilities, will lead to more diverse experiences and cross-pollination of best practices.  Workers that specialize in assembly operations, for example, will gain experience in various manufacturing environments across multiple industries and sectors.  The diversity of experiences will continue to increase the marketability of each operator and equip him or her with experiences that can lead to higher personal productivity, thus higher earning potential for operators and faster turnaround times for business output.

Win-Win for Businesses and Workers

We believe the win-win scenario provided by an on-demand labor market is the critical catalyst needed to finally usher in the manufacturing renaissance desperately needed in the U.S. and other developed countries.  History has shown us that a solid manufacturing base is the key to a prosperous middle class, and we will plan to do our part to strengthen it going forward.