There are a number of options for information collection. These are shown below.
- Pre-Existing Information – This is information that already exists on forms or in databases.
- Structured Observation – This is information that you need to collect by observing the process. Typically there is a specific information collection template used in this information collection effort.
- Information Collection Form – This is information that you ask others to collect as part of their job. For example, a machine operator might record any machine malfunctions that occur.
- Surveys – This is information that represents the opinions of others. A form is developed to capture these opinions.
- Focus Groups – This is a process for capturing comments/opinions of a group in response to series of questions asked of them. It has the same intent as surveys but is more flexible.
- Structured Interview – This a way of capturing facts and opinions based upon a person’s experience. A specific set of interview questions is used.
- Nominal Group Technique – This is a process for identifying problems or ideas from a group. This process also has a ranking element to identify the highest priority problems or ideas.
- Benchmarking – This is a process of identifying how others handle a specific task or process. For example, NASCAR is often the benchmark for improving setup times or change overs.
- Fishbone Diagram – This is a way to capture key issues related to a process. This is often a starting point for observations.
- Process Map – This is a way of capturing the flow through a process.
Some of these may involve approaches you don’t know. If that’s the case you can learn about them online.
Typically a project involves more than one information collection approach. Here are summaries of when to use each approach:
Capturing Process Information
|Pre-existing information||· Already available· Inexpensive||· May not be accurate· May not be complete
· May need to be put into electronic format
· May need to be sampled if too voluminous
|Structured Observations||· You can collect the information you want· Provides extra process insights||· May take a lot of time· May have to wait for the situation to occur|
|Information Collected Form||· You can collect non-quantitative process information· Inexpensive
· Doesn’t require much extra effort
|· May not be accurate· May have resistance
· May have to wait for the situation to occur
|Structured Interviews||· You can collect non-quantitative process information· Provides extra process insights||· May take a lot of time· Depends on the skill of the interviewer
· May not be accurate
|Nominal Group Technique||· Good for generating ideas and priorities about a process· Simple to do and quicker than interviews||· Not used to collection information on the actual process|
|Benchmarking||· Good to get ideas from others||· Not used to collect information on the actual process· Can be time consuming and expensive|
|Fishbone Diagram||· Good for looking at big picture· Good first step||· Not used to collect information on the actual process|
|Process Map||· Good for identifying details about how the process works· Good initial step in analyzing a process||· May be many versions. Will need to decide how detailed to get|