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Stop Gap

 

Stop Gap is a temporary or a makeshift arrangement unless a more permanent solution is put in place. Stop gap arrangements ensure that there is no disruption in the functionality or the service.

 

Quick Win

 

Quick Win is a visible improvement which is implemented soon after the project starts. It keeps the team motivated and they do not have to wait until the project end to see the results. These are also called the 'Low Hanging Fruits'.

 

 

An application-oriented question on the topic along with responses can be seen below. The best answer was provided by Somrita Chatterjee on 31st December 2018. 

 

Also review the answer provided by Mr Venugopal R, Benchmark Six Sigma's in-house expert.

 

Question

Q. 122  "Stop Gap" arrangements usually have a negative connotation to them. How are they different than the "Quick Wins" usually identified in the Define phase of a Six Sigma project?

 

Note for website visitors - Two questions are asked every week on this platform. One on Tuesday and the other on Friday.

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4 answers to this question

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Stop-Gap Vs Quick-wins

 

 

Stop-Gap refers to the temporary action taken to fill up the current problem unless a better solution is provided.

 

Quick-wins are the solutions which are identified while going the project analysis or brainstorming sessions with the improvement team. Quick-wins are permanent and not short-fixes as compared to a Stop-gap fix. Quick-wins may not imply much technology or analysis or discussions but they are very useful to the process.

 

For example:

Considering Service Industries, The Management is planning to implement automation to a particular invoice processing process for data entry part of the process. A particular stop-gap fix can be in this scenario would be increasing the target for each employee in the process to meet the customer needs but the actual and better solution should come when better techniques and technology is implemented in the process.

 

2) Management is planning to hire a better product or app for its employment services which is currently in progress. 

Updating the current portal with designs, patterns, contacts can be a stop gap fix.

Coming up with a whole new change is the improvement.

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Imagine you are going in a cab. One of the back wheel trye gets punctured. It is already getting late for you as you are having a business appointment with some one, shortly. The cab driver understands the situation. Rather than taking up the jockey and changing the wheel which may take some time (every minute is precious for you to be time-bound) , the driver goes to the nearby fuel station and fills air , which is good enough to travel to the destination, thereby taking you to the destination on time. Now what he has done is provide a temporary relief to his problem. This is what Stop gap is .

Stop Gap provides a temporary measures/relief to handle a situation which is providing a concern to someone or something. It will act as an interim solution to a problem, when we are trying to find a permanent solution. 

 

Why/When we need Stop Gap ? 
Sometimes we may not know/get the apt solution for a problem. But we may have a temporary solution to it , the solution being applicable to certain conditions or upto certain period.  Or there could be cases where solution to a problem might be known but it could be costly at a given time, for which the cost approval would not have been given by the mgmt (or by Key stakeholders).So, a temporary measure/solution could be used for some time till mgmt agrees to the original solution. 

 

Quick Win: A quick win helps in having a short term gain. It helps in motivating the team when the team is pursuing  for a much bigger and a longer goal/objective. Quick wins also provide confidence to the relevant stakeholders. 

Eg: Imagine you have a six sigma project in one portfolio. Assume that the problem is fixed during analyse phase but your senior mgmt does not want to wait to see how this is behaving for atleast few months. So it decides to make use of the outcome found in this project, in a project of another portfolio (which has a similar issue), just to get the confidence from the customer and say that this issue has been resolved.

 

Conclusion: 

Stop Gap provides an interim relief to a problem. But there has to be a permanent solution. Quick Win is about having a short term gain which can motivate the team which does the work and can provide the confidence to relevant stakeholders. A quick win can be an intermittent step to the ultimate objective needed. It can act as a pointer to what is going to be achieved in the longer run.

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Expert comments column

 

I remember a situation when we had shortage of particular cast component that was essential to complete the final product assembly. The concerned supplier suddenly has an equipment problem and was able to supply only a few numbers per hour. So, we had one officer take a car and travel to the supplier's site, a few hundred kilometers away, 2 to 3 times a day and fetch those small quantities of the casting to keep our assembly line running. This arrangement had to be carried out for a week, by which time the supplier got his machine and process fixed and was able to produce in bulk. The arrangement that we employed during that one week is certainly not an efficient way of transporting the material, but had to be done as a ‘Stop Gap’ arrangement.

 

Thus the ‘Stop Gap’ arrangement is a conscious decision taken for the time-being to keep things going due to a temporary setback, even though it may not be a right or efficient method in the long run.

 

I am now quoting an example of a Six Sigma project that was aiming for a cycle time reduction of an online processing work. While the charter was prepared in the Define phase, and we were about to get the metrics identified for ‘Measure phase’, it came to our notice that there was an automated ‘search’ tool, that had already been developed, but never used due to a snag in implementation. Usage of this tool will help us to achieve a part of our target, say around 25%. The project team was able to co-ordinate with the concerned tool developer and the users of the tool in operations, and get the snag resolved in a couple of day’s focused effort. This not only took us nearer to our targeted objective, but also helped in boosting the confidence of the project team and the sponsors. It also gave due credit to those who had developed the tool, but were unable to show the result. This is considered as a ‘Quick Win’ for the project, though the major improvements were yet to be done.

 

The ‘Quick Win’ in the above example was an action that did not need time consuming efforts like detailed analysis and validations, but was a ‘low hanging fruit’ that could be implemented quickly and helped to attain a benefit, though, may be small.

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While R Rajesh and Somrita have given excellent answers, Somrita has categorically mentioned that Quick Win is a permanent solution and Stop-Gap mostly is not. The winner for this one is Somrita Chatterjee. 

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