In our daily work, we all know our duties and how to do our job, but often, although the procedures are not well-defined, we do our job a particular way because "we have always done it this way".
In the last posts (Kaizen in Time Managing and Kaizen in Time Managing - 2) we improved our daily job, managing it with daily-planned tasks, dividing our jobs in "categories" or "process" and planning our working hours to reflect our tasks-categories, so we split the day in standard work time-spans. Also we learned how to eliminate fire-fighting habits related to emergencies.
Now it is time to standardize each of our own processes.
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Process Evaluation for Waste Reduction
In this post I want to show a method to check whether or not your process is creating value, so you can easily recognize what are your improvement possibilities to eliminate wastes.
This method can be easily used on micro-processes since it is useful to identify all possible wastes.
This method consists in building a simple list of tasks to accomplish in order to get our job done. Then you must assign a category to each one of them.
Categories are aimed to check what is waste and what is not, and what kind of waste they represent.
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Supplier Evaluation with KPIs
Measuring supplier performance is something that is often done discontinuously, for example, whenever you think performance is lowering or you feel dissatisfied with the supplier.
However, a constant measurement of supplier performance is very important because it allows you to react to problems, prevent disasters, and set new goals. Measuring performance is not just a way to criticize or obtain cost reduction/refunds because of quality problems; it should also be a tool to help suppliers maintain service and build improvement plans.
Moreover, as discussed in the defining requirements post, a requirement can't be expressed just by feelings, because you need to justify what you are telling the supplier and avoid false alarms that can make the supplier judge you as unreliable. Because of these considerations, the starting point is that you and your suppliers need to speak a shared language, embodied in the key performance indicators, or KPIs.
A KPI is a numerical objective measurement that expresses performance from a single point of view. An example of a KPI might be “defects per thousand parts” or “percentage of delays per month”.
The Dimensions of Supplier Evaluation
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Four Challenges of Managing in a Lean Environment, Part 3
Challenge: Knowing when our work is meeting customer needs in quality and quantity
The final task of the Lean Manager is to monitor and maintain performance by measuring it. You may have heard the adage, “what gets measured, gets done.” Unfortunately, the measures typically in place in government are overall costs and little else. Using total cost or total FTEs as a blunt instrument, budget reduction efforts may ensnare your organization in a cost-cutting spiral without a way to defend yourself. What you need is a way to tie outcomes to process measurements. Thankfully, this is how to improve performance as well.
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Four Challenges of Managing in a Lean Environment, Part 2
Planning - The Eye of the Storm
Challenge: Maintaining a plan in a dynamic environment
While Leading is the most visible role of the Lean Manager, Planning is often the most invisible. It requires a mix of experience and attention to detail, taking into account the current state and potential or likely changes in the environment.
How Do Momentum and Feedback Factor into Lean Management?
The Lean Manager is a student of the game. S/he understands physics and systems theory – recognizing that the conservation of momentum and the feedback control loop are two of the most important laws in management.
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Four Challenges of Managing in a Lean Environment, Part 1
If we have an overarching goal as an organization, wouldn’t it be ‘habitual excellence’? How do we adopt that habit? Since the success of every project, every initiative, every department-wide goal depends upon executive support, it follows that excellence itself depends on management. If we want to create an excellent Lean organization, we have to manage that way – there must be a corollary to Lean operations. We must manage a Lean environment using Lean principles.
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DENVER (April 2, 2012) - WillowTree Advisors (WTA), a business and change management consulting firm, has been recognized as a woman-owned business with certification from the Women’s Business Enterprise Council (WBEC-West) for the third consecutive year.
The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), founded in 1997, is the largest third-party certifier of businesses owned, controlled, and operated by women in the United States. WBENC provides its world-class standard of certification to women-owned businesses throughout the country.
“I’m proud that WillowTree Advisors has been acknowledged as a successful woman-owned small business,” said Kathryn Douglass, WillowTree Advisor managing partner. “The increased visibility will support our company’s continued growth.”
Douglass launched WillowTree Advisors in 2009 and has 25 years of program management, executive leadership, IT and operations experience. Her team’s value proposition rests on the delivery of big firm results on a cost effective and flexible platform.
WBENC is the nation’s leading advocate of women-owned businesses as suppliers to America’s corporations.
Five Ways to a Better Lean Experience
Business Process Reengineering (BPR), Lean SixSigma Improvement, and efficiency seems to be on everyone’s mind these days.
I’d like to share a few comments that might help your experience go more smoothly.
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From Process Metrics to Process Management
We discussed in an earlier post the importance of closing the loop in your methodology – process feedback is the only way to ensure that the gains made in your improvement initiative last beyond implementation or ‘go live’. The management function of monitoring and controlling a new process doesn’t necessarily mean supervision, though. On my first tour in the navy, the ship’s Plan of the Day carried the banner, “Eternal vigilance is the price of safety.” Eternal vigilance doesn’t have to be the price of process excellence or even process control.
How do we ensure that our processes remain ‘in control’ or that our new way of performing functions delivers the designed results? Don’t we need a supervisor to watch the operators to ensure they’re complying? (And a manager to ensure the supervisor is checking the operators?) This is the norm in some organizations. I’ve worked for those whom I call ‘nano-managers’, where productivity and effectiveness suffer as management layers and inspections proliferate. Clearly, the proxy for direct inspection is performance measures – capturing metrics without increasing headcount or sacrificing productivity.
Input, Process, Output Metrics
Assuming we can capture metrics from the process, what should we be looking for? Chances are, you’re already dealing with reams of reports, each filled with periodic numbers which you are ‘managing’. You may also have a balanced scorecard that your organization has developed. Great start! For management, financial numbers usually suffice. For operations insight, however, you need an additional perspective. If you think of the boundaries of the project you’re working on, there are inputs to it and outputs from it, with some value-creating function in between. We need to look at all three of these phases.
Closing the Loop in your Methodology
Whether adhering to the tenets of Lean Manufacturing, Six Sigma, Demand Flow Technology, or Theory of Constraints, improvement initiatives need to have a feedback mechanism. Academics tell us that there are four management functions: planning, organizing, leading and controlling. At the nexus of leading and controlling lies continuous improvement. To lead the organization to the next level of performance presumes that one understands current performance and has the tools – the levers to push – that will change the current process. Understanding and changing the process is control. To control a system is to manage it long term, and to accomplish this, feedback is necessary.