Lean and Continuous Improvement

Continuous Improvement Tip – Don’t Forget WIFM!

When implementing a Continuous Improvement (CI) activity, it’s important to show your operators the “What’s in it for me?” or WIFM, to boost their motivation and engagement.  Here’s some simple but impactful metrics that address the WIFM for CI.

Sometimes when we undertake CI activities to improve a process, we as leaders tend to forget the WIFM aspect for the operators in the process.  Sure a big part of the intent of CI is to engage and empower our operators to have a higher level of involvement and ownership in the success and improvement of the business, but at the end of the day, CI also needs to have positive impact on what they do everyday.

Although we do want our operators to understand and care about our management metrics such as Safety, Quality, Productivity, and Cost, unfortunately sometimes what they hear is that we want them to work faster, harder, or go without.

An effective way to motivate and inspire operators to identify CI and drive improvements in processes is to establish key performance metrics that directly impact their process.  Typically these indicators are inputs or leading indicators that if improved will impact the outputs or results you are trying to improve at the overall process level.

Examples of some good input metrics that have meaning to the operators include:

  • Distance they walk in a shift
  • Total number of steps they take
  • Number of twists of their upper body
  • Number of reaches
  • Total weight lifted
  • Number of decisions made per cycle
  • Ergonomic burden score

Before your kaizen or CI activity, work with your operators to define the key metrics and measure them.  Then make them visible by listing the before condition on a flip chart, white board or other means of display.  Next engage with the operators to determine ways of improving these metrics through the kaizen or CI activity.  Track the improvements for each, or the after state, to clearly show the improvements being made that directly impact the operators every day.

What other metrics do you track of this nature to show your operators the WIFM and positive impact your CI activity is having on their process?  Leave a comment.

 

*Feature Image republished with permission by High Performance Solutions

Other Related Posts:

Do your processes “tick-off” your operators?

Do You Have What it Takes to Lead Continuous Improvement Teams?”

Do Your Continuous Improvement Teams Have What It Takes To Win?

 

You can email me with any questions at glennsommerville@hotmail.com, find me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/glennsommervilleL2R/, or on Twitter at  https://twitter.com/gsommervilleL2R.

 

 

 

Together We Can - Values in Action!

#20 Together We Can, Values in Action!

Change things enough, that you can’t go back!

Scott Smith, President – High Performance Solutions

Leadership

Looking back and moving forward – A Leadership Journey

With another year ending and a new one beginning, it seemed fitting that I look back and reflect on the last year of my Leadership and Continuous Improvement blog.  I have to say it’s been both fun and rewarding.  It’s been a fun and fascinating journey into the world of social media with incredible learning and self-development along the way.  A great surprise has been the people from all around the world that I have virtually met along the way.  It’s been rewarding because I made a commitment to myself to give this a try for a year and in so doing had to maintain the discipline to post every week (with the exception of a few planned breaks), which trust me is not easy, but I did it!  It has also been rewarding to see the reaction and interest received from some of my posts.

So I will continue on my journey for another year and challenge myself once again to grow, develop, and learn more.  I hope you will join me again this year.  If you find my posts interesting and helpful, I encourage you to “follow” my blog directly.  Various social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook and others, use algorithms to determine what posts are seen in your news feed.  Don’t assume you will see my posts if we are connected on LinkedIn or Facebook.  By following my blog, you will always get notified of a new post which includes a quick link to that post.  I typically post an article 1/week plus a mid-week motivational quote.  Below is the link to my website:

www.glennsommerville.com

Looking back over the statistics on the posts from 2018, below is a summary and link to some of the top posts.  I’ve also included a few posts that may be of help at the beginning of the new year to assist you in getting organized and ready to achieve more this year!

Top Posts:

10 Important Steps of Effective Gemba Walks or “Go See”

By far my most viewed post!  Many leaders have heard the term Gemba, but few actually do it or struggle to do it well.  In this brief post, 10 steps of having an effective gemba are discussed to help leaders engage at the shop floor level to identify and solve problems  with their teams.

Gemba Walks – Tip #1

A quick two paragraph post giving a simple but effective tip to follow when on a gemba walk.  This tip helps the leader be engaged while paying full attention and respect to their teams.

Gemba Walks – Tip #2

A brief half page post to raise attention to a common problem continuous improvement teams often make.  As a leader, watching out for this is super important to realize the full potential of your CI activities.

Stop repeating bad history…

Ever been surprised that one of your systems or mechanisms has failed….again?  Probably this is because at least one of these three components are missing.

A Leader’s Best Question

This is my favorite question to ask as a leader.  It’s three words!

 

New Year’s Getting Organized Posts:

Leader Standardized Work is for, well, EVERYONE!

You don’t have to work on the manufacturing floor to utilize Leader Standardized Work (LSW).  LSW can help any leader become more consistent and effective.  This post discusses how to set-up and sustain LSW.

Reflections Vs Resolutions – It’s That Time Of Year!

A brief post that discusses why New Years Resolutions generally fail and why personal reflection is a such an important step before setting new goals and objectives.

Effective Leadership Skills – Personal Planning

If a leader is not well organized both professionally and personally, they are likely not going to be effective.  6 important tips on personal planning are covered in this post.

Effective Leadership – Part II – 6 Steps to Manage Your Time Effectively

Time is finite.  We all have the same amount of time in a given day.  So, how come some people seem to accomplish so much more than others?  This post reviews some key steps in how you can manage your time effectively and achieve more.

10 Steps to Improve the Work-Life Teeter-Totter (Balance)

I believe true “work-life” balance is a myth and see it more as a teeter-totter that has it’s ups and downs.  By taking these 10 steps you can achieve a better work-life ride that you control.

You can email me with any questions at glennsommerville@hotmail.com or find me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/glennsommervilleL2R/

Thanks for reading and following.  I look forward to continuing my journey in 2019 and welcome your thoughts and suggestions on topics and interests by leaving a comment!

Lean and Continuous Improvement

Do Your Continuous Improvement Teams Have What It Takes To Win?

As a judge recently at the Share Showcase 2018 competition organized by High Performance Solutions, I was reminded as I listened to 12 high powered teams present their projects, that there are some very common characteristics of both the projects and the leaders on the teams.  None of these are a surprise, but it was fascinating with the consistency to which these characteristics were demonstrated across the 12 competing teams.

The characteristics that really stood out are:

Simplicity – Ability to break down complex or difficult processes, functions or projects  to very simple easily understood steps, tasks or responsibilities.  Simple is better.  Solutions don’t have to be complex or cost a lot of money to implement.  Tools and solutions implemented can be simple but have significant positive and material impact on the problem tackled.

Visual – make key or important elements, control points, status, or results very visual with various visual control mechanisms, control boards, kanban cards, flow charts, etc.

Clear Goals/targets – Ensure that the project or team goal and individual targets are understood, clear and the entire team is aligned towards the achievement of the goal.  Start with understanding the current condition, end state, and the gap needed to close.

Engagement – Total involvement and engagement from all levels, from shop floor employees to top management.  Positions, titles, and hierarchy are neutralized and everyone has an equal stake of ownership in the projects and the outcomes.

Communication – Full transparency of the problem, boundaries to work within, budgets, challenges, and barriers/obstacles to name a few.  Focus on improving basic communication between teams about a problem or process status.

Idea Collection – Everyone’s opinions and ideas are heard equally.  No idea is ruled out.  Everyone on the team has a voice and opportunity to share their ideas and suggestions.

Perseverance – Never give up.  When something fails, learn from the failed attempt and try again.

Motivation – An overwhelmingly positive attitude about their jobs, contributions, their leaders, and company.  Proud of what they have achieved and wanting to do more.

I love coming to work now!  It’s not really even work.

This was a quote made by one of the employees of the winning team from Centerline.  He really meant it.  That is employee motivation and engagement any company wants to achieve!

Watch for the next post “Do You Have What it Takes to Lead Continuous Improvement Teams?”

Leave a comment – What other aspects or characteristics have you observed that successful Continuous Improvement teams exhibit?

share-showcase

Gemba, Lean and Continuous Improvement

Gemba by any other name is… go & see! Gemba is NOT just for manufacturing processes!

Many associate gemba as a manufacturing activity, but in reality it is an invaluable tool that any leader can use regardless of the industry, business, process, or function. Gemba means nothing more than going to the workplace to see. The workplace can then include anything where work is performed such as a construction site, ER room, automotive repair garage, control room, accounting office, school room, maintenance job, or food buffet line.

The purpose of gemba is to go and see the process, engage with the employees (team members, operators, associates, cast, staff, techs, etc) that are doing the work. It is to engage with them by showing an interest in what they do, how they do it and to assist them in being successful at it.   Our teams come to work and want to do a good job and it is a leader’s job to help remove the barriers that get in the way of our teams doing the best job they can. Over time, waste and inefficiencies seem to creep in or inadvertently get added that can cause safety, quality, productivity, or cost issues. By going and seeing, a leader is more likely to find these wastes and inefficiencies and can take action to correct them. Point and case; safety, quality, productivity, and cost applies to pretty much any business or process, so why wouldn’t go & see or gemba apply?

The principles are the same when doing a gemba in a non-manufacturing environment as they are in a manufacturing environment. It starts by going to the workplace and engaging with the workers there. Explain to them why you are there, that you are interested in what they do and want to learn about it. Watch what they do and ask questions to understand why they do what they do. Ask them what they think can be done to improve the process. Ask them about things you observe that capture your interest. No doubt, between you, you will identify several things that need to be improved. It is very important in gaining their trust and respect, to then prioritize a manageable amount of items to go after. Discuss these with the employee or team and set a reasonable timeline and approach to taking action.

Most jobs or positions have some level of standardized work or standards to which the process is to be done. This is typically how someone gets trained in the first place. For example, a maintenance technician typically has a detailed preventative maintenance (PM) routine or a standard operating procedure (SOP), while a control room will have defined standards of alarm limits or frequency of checks/recordings that have to be made. Regardless of the job, there will be defined tasks that have to be done, documentation to be followed, training material, or standards to be followed. These are key documents to request, check, and audit how they are being followed. This also leads to key insights as to the cause of safety, quality, productivity, or cost issues if they are not being followed. Even more so if they don’t exist. If they don’t exist, how are people being trained? How do you know it is being done the best way to get the best results?  This then should be your starting point to standardize the task, document it, and get all those doing the function to follow it.  Only then, once it is standardized and everyone is following the standard can you make improvements.

Gemba is an extremely powerful tool in a leader’s toolbox regardless of what you do. Don’t miss out on this just because you think this is a manufacturing tool!

Here’s some other gemba posts you may find of interest:

10 Important Steps of Effective Gemba Walks or “Go See”

Gemba Walks – Tip #1

Gemba Walks – Tip #2

A Leader’s Best Question

3 Steps to Having Time for Gemba