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Lean Six Sigma - A Realized Possibility with Tasq

Besides focusing on eliminating waste, we use other principles at Tasq that help us obtain the goals of Lean Six Sigma

For those who don’t remember what Lean Six Sigma is you can take a refresher here. For those who know it well, let’s dive into how your operations can be closer to achieving Lean Six Sigma than ever before. If you are anything like me, Lean Six Sigma really makes sense. I mean who wouldn’t want to reduce waste, focus on the customer, and remove bottlenecks. Years after getting my yellow belt, I still have DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) ringing through my head as I approach any project. Obviously Toyota and large scale manufacturing has been able to leverage these principles and see significant value. However, when applied outside of that realm, it always seemed to fall flat. When we think about an operations project, it has long seemed like a goal to strive for but not attainable. However with Tasq, I no longer believe that. I think within field operations, this has now become a reality.

To set the scene, we truly understand that there are lots of things that need to be measured and analyzed in any operation. The problem comes with the Value Stream that comes out of this measurement. A good question to ask is: Am I doing anything with the data we are collecting? How is measuring this adding value to the system?  We talk a lot about prioritization and how to manage with the best ROI and resources here at Tasq. Some of our results might surprise you (full results coming soon). There exists lower hanging fruit than that on streamlining an operation on the way to the “perfect process”. What I want to address here is waste, a term the Japanese term “Muda” and is recognized as anything that does not add value to the customers (re: production). Wastes are of 8 types and remembered with the mnemonic device (DOWNTIME). They are Defects, Overproduction, Waiting, Non used talent, Transportation, Inventory, Motion, Extra Processing. Although borrowed from Toyota’s manufacturing process, these types of waste are prevalent in really any operation.

So how do we deal with these types of waste in field operations? The obvious ones are waiting, motion, non-used talent, and transportation. At the heart of Tasq these are addressed. Get issues to the correct person at the correct priority level with the right context to actually solve the issue. However, what about defects and overproduction? Is it possible for Tasq to address these and in fact, address all types of waste? ABSOLUTELY! Examples of waste in the overproduction and defects are numerous. This would equate to drilling too fast and causing issues for production for the next 10 years. This could also be cranking a choke open only to destroy facilities and washout lines. This could even be leaving people out of the loop, only to find that one of the requirements was not addressed. Money does have time value, no argument there but as with everything, there is a balance. However, even with this kind of waste, Tasq can help.

Besides focusing on eliminating waste, we use other principles at Tasq that help us on the road to obtaining these goals. We focus on the customer to “partner” with them on the journey of change management and process improvements. We use visual factories (indicators) throughout the platform so users understand where tasqs are in the journey to resolution. We even include some mistake proofing by visual cues and data validation checks.

A Use Case

An unnamed operator grabs their 2nd cup of coffee for the morning and sits down to begin the long standing tradition in operations: scrolling through signals and data to identify downtime or anomalies. Having entered hours of downtime (rounded down of course) and a reason that is guaranteed not to raise questions (i.e. “midstream ops - frac - freeze"), they grab their 3rd cup and roll out the door taking a quick glance in the notebook for priorities for the wells in the 3 week long queue of to-dos. Another day in paradise as the joke goes. Sound familiar or panic inducing that someone in your operations might be doing the same. Even worse if you are contracting operators to do this.

To tee up an SAT style question: What is wrong with this picture? How many different types of waste can be identified?

The above use case is not fictional…having been talking about myself when I first started out in the field and before moving to an "office" engineer, I was frustrated with manual data entry, reporting for the sake of reporting, and stale priorities out of sync with seemingly everyone. With Tasq, everyone is in sync, priorities are visible and alignable. There is even visibility into contract workers/operators and the system identifies things like downtime for you. Software can be a leadership tool or to say it another way, software can bring out people’s strengths and help them conquer their weaknesses. As a whole the organization will be strengthened and waste will be eliminated.


To truly obtain Lean Six Sigma in field operations, we must focus on identifying the value stream and bottlenecks. At Tasq we highlight the importance of eliminating waste and prioritizing being flexible and agile. We use a kanban style visual to show how work is moving through the system. We have used foundational principles from Lean Six Sigma directly in the heart of Tasq. You might even find yourself a capable practitioner just by using our platform!

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