Who can benefit from subscribing to GAGE PRO?
- Businesses wanting an objective, highly cost-effective tool for doing self-assessments of performance across the organization, particularly with interest in periodic checkups.
- Consultants and professional trainers/facilitators wanting a framework for guiding multiple clients through the assessment process, expecting to identify follow-on engagements and revenue-producing projects.
- Individuals wanting a reference for conducting self-study of an assessment process relating to Best Practices.
Get the high-quality Features and Benefits video here:
What type of organization is the Business GAGE™ intended for?
The concepts and principles of Lean Six Sigma (LSS) and Business Process Improvement (BPI) are at the heart of GAGE. Some of them originated in the manufacturing sector several years ago, yet in recent years professionals in other business and industry sectors (healthcare, government, transactional, education, civic, etc.) have recognized their potential and realized that these principles are translatable and widely applicable. LSS tools, BPI disciplines, and the Business GAGE can be applied effectively to essentially any type of business. The assessment Team Leader or third-party facilitator is key to the successful translation and application of the principles to your particular circumstances.
What if we don't have "inventory"?
Inventory can be parts, raw materials, finished goods, supplies, orders, components, paperwork, ideas, invoices, etc. In a healthcare setting, even patients can be considered "inventory" in some cases, strictly from a process point of view. Inventory is whatever you are focusing on to enhance, or whatever you produce finally. Lean Six Sigma is mainly about optimizing the time and other resources required to transform your "inventory" into your final product or service or result, and to maintain consistently high quality.
What if we don't produce anything?
You do. Every business operation produces something of value: hard goods, information, service, transactions, diagnosis, treatment, etc. Try to keep your thinking broad, and focus on how this assessment relates to your business operation and its particular priorities.
We just supply our parent company. What if we don't have customers?
Everyone has customers. Even every process has at least one "customer". That is what is meant by "internal customer" — whoever needs something from you and receives the result of your actions.
Will giving low scores or making critical observations be viewed as being negative?
Your leadership team obviously wants to make significant positive change, or they would not be committing time and resources to this assessment. Don't shy away from being candid. Don't stay too "middle of the road" with your responses, or you will only dilute the value of your assessment. Rather than hide deficiencies and weaknesses, you want to expose them so that appropriate steps for improvement can be taken.
How do we know our scores are valid?
Team members may have differing interpretations or understanding of situations. Reaching consensus is important. And while GAGE analyzes and summarizes all scores based upon your responses, keep in mind that the numerical results of this assessment are less important than the discovery, discussion, and shared understanding that take place during the process to reach that consensus.
If we don't understand a particular issue, should we score it a "0"?
No. A score of "0" means that you believe a particular Best Practice essentially is not followed in your organization. In contrast, a response of "N/A" ("Not Applicable" under 'Relative Importance') means that you believe a consideration truly does not apply to your organization (e.g., maintenance of heavy equipment in a purely service environment).
"D/K" ("Don't Know") means that you do not know or do not feel qualified to respond. Responses rated "N/A" or "D/K" are not included in the scoring (regardless of score assigned), but they are summarized for any possible significance as to how often they occur.
What are the differences between GAGE (evaluation version) and GAGE PRO (paid subscription)?
The evaluation version is intended only for short-term, temporary use for you to evaluate the quality and functionality of the program. It is compatible with essentially any browser, and data is session-only (not saved). Only selected samples of Best Practices are included for each Category. (GAGE PRO includes 105 Best Practices in all.) The evaluation version is otherwise fully-functional with all features activated except for saving data locally.
GAGE PRO requires an HTML5-compatible browser (most modern browsers and mobile devices). GAGE PRO can store data locally so it is saved even when the browser is closed (LocalStorage must be enabled). Neither version sets cookies, stores data other than your own, or exploits email addresses.
Since GAGE is a Web-based program, how can we save the results of our work?
For security reasons, browsers generally do not allow access to the file system of a local device. However, HTML5-compatible browsers can save GAGE PRO data to your local device each time you make a change (similar to cookies but more advanced). The data is reloaded when you restart your browser. (NOTE: Data is accessible ONLY to the device AND browser used to generate the data. This feature is available in GAGE PRO only.)
If you want GAGE PRO data to be saved, you MUST have cookies/LocalStorage enabled during use, or at least set to allow www.bpex.biz to store your data locally. (GAGE PRO saves only your assessment responses. It does NOT store other cookies or information on your device.)
If you want to conduct an additional assessment (by choosing RESET) without losing existing data, GAGE PRO offers these methods for capturing data (accessed from the "Summary" tab):
- A built-in "Email results" feature launches your default email program (if installed). It fills in the subject line and summarizes the numerical results of your assessment in the body. You can edit, send the email to yourself or anyone else, and print, save, or share the information as desired. (NOTE: May not be supported by some browser-device combinations.)
- "View/copy results" opens a text summary of your assessment results, allowing you to copy all or part of the text to your device clipboard and paste it elsewhere as desired.
What is the cost of a GAGE PRO subscription?
Subscriptions are available on a 1-month, 3-month, or 6-month basis, with or without convenient automatic renewal. Your SINGLE-USER subscription entitles you to access and use the program as often as you like and conduct as many assessments as you want during your subscription period. Please respect the terms of your single-user agreement.
Should your subscription expire (as indicated during a login attempt), you can choose to re-subscribe immediately, for either the same or a different subscription period, simply by launching the GAGE evaluation version and repeating the original subscription steps. We do NOT bill automatically for renewal unless you chose that option when you subscribed. Current pricing is available here for the various subscription options
We have GAGE PRO. Why is our data not being saved?
Make sure your browser is set to enable cookies/LocalStorage by localhost (or at least set to allow www.bpex.biz to store your data locally) and to keep it after the browser closes. And of course you must be running a browser that is HTML5-capable and supports LocalStorage.
How secure is our data?
GAGE PRO saves data only to your local computer or device, and only within the browser used for the assessment. No data other than login information is sent to or stored on our server. Security is completely under your control.
So what do we do next, after we have compiled our scores and reviewed the results?
Review your priorities. Communicate. Problem-solve. Identify opportunities for improvement and prioritize them. If appropriate, perform Root Cause Analysis. Form plans to address improvement needs. Avoid blaming. Cooperate. And view this entire discipline not as a project to be finished, but rather as a philosophy to be adopted long-term.
1. On the HOME tab, fill in the identifying information.
2. For greatest benefit, on the Data tab complete your responses for all Best Practice categories and for all issues that apply to you within each category. Think broadly. Most of the Best Practices apply in some way to any type of business operation: office, hospital, bank, manufacturing, etc.
- Indicate how important you consider each Best Practice to your organization (no matter what score you assign to it). The options are:
- "Critical": Absolutely essential to your long-term survival and growth.
- "Major": Of fundamental importance to the health and competitiveness of the business.
- "Minor": Should not be neglected or overlooked, but is secondary to other concerns.
- "D/K": Don't Know, or you do not feel qualified to rank this issue.
- "N/A": Not Applicable; in your opinion, does not apply to your type of business.
- Rate 0 - 4 how well your organization compares to each "Best Practice", using the following scale:
- "4" - Nearly 100% occurrence and consistency. No (or rare) exceptions.
- "3" - Typical, with some exceptions. Most of the time.
- "2" - Often, wherever we should. But not most of the time.
- "1" - Only in some areas, or only some of the time.
- "0" - You do not do this: 0% occurrence. [NOT the same as "N/A" or "D/K" below.]
Be aggressive with your scoring. Don't "hug the middle".
For the most meaningful results, assign ratings of "0" or "4" whenever truly appropriate.
3. You can jump to any page of a category, or to another category, at any time. Just be sure to respond to all issues that apply. When done with your responses, for each Best Practice category you can review overall Score, Relative Importance, and numbers of D/K and N/A responses you gave.
4. For all categories, graphs show Score, Relative Importance, and Alignment; i.e., how well Best Practices match up against your apparent focus and deployment of resources.
5. The summary presents Total Score across all categories; percent of best possible score; significance of any D/K and N/A responses; a progress bar indicating your status relative to Best Practices; and recommendations as to priorities for improvement.
A model for workplace design allowing "cellular processing". Equipment, personnel and other resources are grouped according to the families of goods or services being produced. Often employs "setup time reduction" and results in enhanced flexibility and responsiveness.
Converting or switching to a different purpose, or from one system to another. It can involve changes in processes, materials, equipment, personnel, techniques, etc.
Continuous Improvement (CI)
Disciplined, ongoing effort to improve products, services, or processes. Can be incremental improvement over time, or breakthrough improvement occurring more rapidly. Results are evaluated continually and improved with respect to efficiency, effectiveness and flexibility. Based upon a defined cycle such as Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) or Define-Measure-Analyze-Improve-Control (DMAIC).
Strictly speaking, whoever pays for and receives the product or service of value. More broadly, also can be an internal process or recipient that receives output from an upstream process.
The ideal situation where a product or service constantly advances toward its final state, with no stoppage or waiting. Typically requires work to be done in the smallest practical batches.
A Japanese word meaning "improvement" or "good change". Kaizen blitz (sometimes referred to as a Rapid Improvement Event) is an intensive, focused effort to effect improvement in a relatively short period of time.
A Japanese word meaning "signboard" or "billboard". It refers to a processing system in which the supply of components, forms, supplies, information, etc. is regulated through the use of a card displaying a sequence of specifications and instructions. Kanban often is a fundamental aspect of pull systems and flow. One simple example is a "Time to Re-stock" tag on retail shelves.
Key Performance Indicator (KPI)
An essential metric or measurement (preferably expressed so "more is better") that is a meaningful gage of process performance. It should relate directly to one or more objectives.
Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)
A document that includes extensive information about a substance and is intended to provide workers and emergency personnel with procedures for handling or working with that substance in a safe manner.
Mistake-proofing (or "Poka-Yoke") is the use of any automatic device or method that makes it impossible or very unlikely for an error to occur, or makes the error immediately apparent once it has occurred. A fail-safe measure.
Root Cause Analysis (RCA; e.g., the "5 Why?" technique); Pareto Analysis ("80/20" rule); Cause-and-Effect diagrams (Ishikawa fishbone); Value Stream Mapping (VSM). It is generally accepted that a person should not be viewed as the problem, but can be considered as part of the solution.
A series of steps, operations or activities necessary to advance a product or service toward its final state.
Managing the flow of materials and resources so processes respond mainly to downstream demand. Visual signals often are used to communicate status or need. By responding to actual demand (e.g., customer-order schedules rather than sales forecasts), pull and flow help eliminate waste in handling, storing, and completion time.
Standardized Work (SW)
A system of defining and adhering to a single, consistent best way presently known for performing the work. Based upon Standard Operating Procedures (SOP's). Typically allows for minor differences in personal technique but not method.
Strategy Execution and Management (SEM)
A disciplined approach to "operationalizing" a strategic plan. Clearly defines and communicates strategic goals and priorities, and links them to processes and tactical action. Based upon appropriate metrics.
A German word signifying the rate or pace at which a product or service needs to be finished in order to meet customer demand. If demand for the output of a process increases appreciably for an extended period of time, takt time of the process should be satisfied by re-balancing or re-allocating resources to match the changed demand, producing output in a shorter period of time.
Total Productive Maintenance (TPM)
Training operators and maintaining equipment, machinery or other resources so as to minimize downtime, anticipate potential problems, and reduce cost by optimizing the use of the resource.
Value Stream Mapping (VSM)
Analyzing the flow of goods or services through their necessary processes. Done by discussing and diagramming any problems, waste, imbalances, etc. It is a powerful technique for discovery, problem-solving, definition of improvement projects, and project management.
Partially finished goods, transactions, information processing, etc. waiting for completion and eventual sale, delivery, or presentation. Usually waiting for further processing in a queue or some type of buffer storage.