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Topic Title: 4M versus 6M
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Created On: 09/24/2008 08:31 AM
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09/24/2008 08:44 AM
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Vitezslav Pilmaier


I have stepped onto an interesting issue - during my previous studies my mentors ussually has been refering to 6M (originated from German):

- Menschen = Men
- Methode = Method
- Maschine = Machine
- Material = Material
- Messen = Measuring / Monitoring
- Mitwelt = Environment

The first four Ms refer to the 4M principle as explained in the Lean Lexicon an commonly used in the Lean community.

However the Measuring / Monitoring (eg. How and what do we measure / monitor ?) and Environment (eg. How do the environment, such as dust, huminity, temperature etc... effetcs the final quality of product/process) is not included into the 4M principal.

My question is simply why those two Ms has been skipped ?

(This question is more obvious if I use one of my mentor´s „linked method" of 6Ms + Ishikawa/Fishbone diagram + brainstorming + Pareto principle to try to identify the priorities of the causes if 5Whys leads into too many possible causes or when I want to analyze some decision from a broader perspective).

09/24/2008 10:08 AM
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Capt. Kaizen
Mike Alderman

This is a good question. Why were they skipped? Well in short I think the 4 M's as you atated are just the most "used" for practical issues. Some companies do not use the "Mother Nature" or Mitwelt as you call it because their products or services do not require it. Meaning most of the time it has no reflection on what they produce. The Measuring component would fall under the same fate as the above. There are also some other "M's" that are not mentioned that when performing the root cause analysis one needs to consider at least looking at and that is "Money" and "Management". Now not all analysis needs to look at all of these M's but never take them off the table as they are sometimes needed just depends on the situation. In retrospect start the project with the first four and if any of the other four are needed then just add them when necessary. hope this helps and good luck.
09/24/2008 12:50 PM
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Kris Hallan

For the purpose of teaching 4M's we have always added "sometimes mother nature." We have some chemical processes that get effected by humidity issues and it's often hard to address them. In reality, this should be covered under method however. If you think about it for a second, the current process for making and handling the chemicals is in a non-climate controlled environment. You don't necessarily need another M to describe this.

Four M is all about understanding the process. The way we describe is to say that if the Man is right, the Material is right, the Machine is right, and the Method is right, then the output will be right. Method should encompass all of the other three M's and the interactions between them.

Measurement is a process. It is something that can be evaluated to the 4M's but is not a necessity to having a stable process. You do not have to have any measurement in order to have a successful process. In fact, a good process with a well understood process in all 4 M's will not need measurement because the outcome will be known.

As to the other two M's mentioned. I will quite humorously point out that you do not actually need Money in order to run a process (dollar bills don't actually do any manufacturing, they have a support function :) ). And you definitely don't need Management to have a process that is successful. As I like to point out to the people I teach, I add no value to the process...Everything I do is to try and help the value add to happen more effectively.
09/24/2008 04:20 PM
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Capt. Kaizen
Mike Alderman

Duece I agree, sometimes we need to look at Mother Nature in our process of heating an oven to a certain temp. when it is below freezing outside the plant the oven needs to be adjusted accordingly to produce the expected outcome. As for the Money issue... I mentioned this in part to the old adage of we don't want to spend a million to save a thousand...management is sometimes a problem IE... resources, training but more often than not these issues are incorporated into Man.. but I have seen them used in the past... I was just mentioning them to make these aware to the poster... cheers
09/25/2008 08:35 AM
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John Podlasek

4M is enough.
Environment, or Measuring Systems affect Man, Method, Machine, or Material conditions.
If you are having problems and the reason is the Environment, or Measuring System, You will get there as well if you do 4M properly. 6M is overdefintion. Its irrelevant.

09/25/2008 08:37 AM
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Vitezslav Pilmaier

Thank you for your replys - I would like to stress the Measurement / Monitoring and Mother Nature from Dueces point of view:

The way we describe is to say that if

a) the Measurement / Monitoring process is right (please do not stick only to "gauging" a part or method stricktly, it also covers the fact if management can control the process from outside - fore details please see the "process cards X standard work" discussion topics)

b) the Mother Nature is not affecting my process negativelly (again look in from the broader perspective - actually even the automotive itself has a very common enemy - the dust)

But I do agree that from the perspective of the specific deployment or re-deployment of the process (so the Mother Nature has been allready eliminated by the general setup of the place / site) it is possible to skip the Mother Nature and add the Measurement / Monitoring stright away into the process.

Actually similarly there are other Ms hidden in the "core" 4Ms - Motivation for Men, Maintenance for Machine...
09/26/2008 09:31 AM
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Emmanuel Jallas

As one Sensei told us in a LEI's PDCA workshop :

"A fishbone diagram is not a specially designed hook to catch words beginning by M"

take care,

10/02/2008 09:16 AM
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Ronald Turkett

John is absolutely correct. Don't add waste and complexity to problem solving. The simpler the better. FYI we had only 4Ss at Toyota. I have seen presentations that have 14 forms of waste. Who could ever remember the list, find them and correct them?
Ron Turkett
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