Lean and Continuous Improvement

Non-Manufacturing Example of High Performance Culture & Continuous Improvement!

Unfortunately, many people still think that continuous improvement, high performance cultures, and/or people-centric concepts are for manufacturing.  Those that do, are definitely missing out!

Point and case:  Scott Smith and I recently had the opportunity to visit and participate in a gemba (go & see) with Karla and Michelle from the Paris Dental Centre.  This is not your run of the mill dental office, and they certainly demonstrate that these concepts go well beyond the typical manufacturing environment!

Our gemba started at the main entrance at the front reception desk where the receptionists quickly greeted us with a smile and asked how they could help.  What was different than what I’m used to in a professional office was that their duties had been stream lined with the customer in mind.  How?  There were no phones!  They managed the direct face-to-face contact and relationship with their customers, rather than answering a continuously ringing phone line of incoming calls.  They focused on their customer, value streamed the roles/responsibilities, and created smooth flow.

As our gemba took us throughout the facility, it was obvious that 5S (sort, set in order, shine, standardize, sustain) principles were also in place as this rather large and very busy dental centre was orderly, and had effective visual controls throughout the facility.  Each of the main departments had visual team boards where the teams would conduct daily stand-ups to review their performance results, discuss ideas for improvement, and communicate important messages.  Even the dentists had their own board where they met daily to review performance and drive improvement in their work.  Standardized work was being implemented in the various roles throughout the office as well.

Now, are there opportunities to do more or to improve further, gain more engagement?  Of course!  We all have those opportunities!  What we have to remember is that continuous improvement, high performance or a people-centric organization is never ending.  Why?  Things are always changing!  Everyone on this journey hits the wall at some point and feels they are not progressing.  What’s important to reflect on is where you’ve come from, keep doing what’s working, tweak what’s not, and then keep plugging away at the next steps towards where you want to be.

Great job Paris Dental Centre, keep up the good work!

Cover picture:  From Paris Dental Centre – Michelle Vaandering, Karla Stonham, Heidi Burton Paris Dental Centre;   from HPS – Scott Smith

Similar topics: 

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

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Contact me:

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.

If you are enjoying my posts and find the information useful, please “Follow” me by entering your email in the follow box on the right-hand menu of my website www.glennsommerville.com

 

Lean and Continuous Improvement

Is Your Management System Limiting Your Success? 6 Steps To Start Improving Today!

Contributed by:  Scott Smith  @High Performance Solutions & Consortium

T2 Control Board - T1 Day by Hour.jpgA highly engaged and motivated employee is the most formidable weapon that an organization can utilize to compete and win. An engaged and motivated employee is more focused on doing their work, more productive, and is more likely to have a better work and home life.  However, less than 30% of an organization’s people fit this category. Less than 5% of organizations sustain high performance over the long term. One of the limiting factors may be your management system.

Here are a few simple steps to start to build a strong management system.

First, it is important to understand the purpose of a management system. In simple terms, your management system is in place to make sure you are dong the right things for your customers (or clients or patients). It does this by connecting everyone in your organization to your vision, strategy and big outcome measures to allow everyone to understand how they can impact the vision and connect to the big outcomes. The management system engages our humans through solving their own problems. The most effective way to do this is through ‘low tech, high touch’ planning and measurement white boards.

Here are the steps to start building or improving your management system:

1. Identify your customer and understand what value they need from you.

I find in a lot of cases, there is not a strong understanding of who the customer is.   Your customer is who gets direct benefit or value from what you do. For example, in health care, the patient receives the direct value from the care they are given.   If my role is a support operation in manufacturing, such as engineering that develops product drawings, it is the people who build the product from the drawings.    If my role is production, I deliver value directly to the end customer for the product.

2. Understand how you can easily measure the value you provide to the customer.

Our customers are easy. They want simple things.  They want their stuff NOW. They want it PERFECT. They want it WASTE FREE. They may also want a good experience during the process.

I recommend you start with NOW as it is the easiest.    We should all have a plan to deliver what our customer’s need when they need it.   My customer needs their drawings today to build their product.   My patient wants to continue to get better.  All you need to do is measure how well you delivered on your plan.   I would also recommend using a planning white board to show your commitment to your plan.

3. Graph your results to understand how you are doing.

What does a good day look like?  Did we have a good day? Typically it is getting done what we need to accomplish for our customer.  If you started with NOW, on your next white board – performance board – graph how well you are doing.   Measure for a few weeks so you can start understanding a longer term trend in performance.

4. Start understanding why.

Why did we not have a good day? If you did not have a good day and did not accomplish what you needed to do for your customer, start understanding the  reasons that are blocking your performance.  You should start seeing some recurring reasons.  For each reason, understand how bad it is by adding a bar or Pareto graph under your performance graph to track the number of occurrences.

5. Run some experiments to make it better.

Once you have a good understanding of the reasons why you are not having a good day, start running some simple experiments to fix the problem.  Below your bar graph, document the experiment and indicate when you started the experiment on your performance graph. This will allow you to see if the experiment had the results you hoped for.  If it did, adopt this as a new why to do your work. If it did not ‘t, try new experiments until you learn what does work.

6. When you are ready, add your other measures.

NOW, PERFECT, WASTE FREE.   Keep it simple and do not add too many additional measures.  Fewer measures are better, but it is important not to have a lonely number so you need to provide some balance.  For example, if you measure NOW, balance it by making sure you are also delivering what you customer needs PERFECT.

Remember – a strong management system is elegantly simple and is driven by the daily connections we make with our people. 

Contact me:

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.

If you are enjoying my posts and find the information useful, please “Follow” me by entering your email in the follow box on the right-hand menu of my website www.glennsommerville.com

 

 

Lean and Continuous Improvement

Why 95% Of CI Initiatives Don’t Stick Long-term!

Wow!  Is it remotely possible that only 5% of companies are successful at creating a continuous improvement organization?  But, why?

According to a post by High Performance Solutions Inc., less than 5% of continuous improvement initiatives achieve long-term results and sustained improvement.  Through industry member problem solving they determined it was human factors and lack of management systems that lead to failures.  Actually, is this so surprising?  The question we need to ask ourselves though is, why?   After all, leaders want to improve the performance and efficiency of their organizations. 

From what I’ve seen and experienced, the main reasons seem to be one of, or in combination of the following:

  • Weak or missing vision
  • CI not integrated into the mission of the organization
  • Not enough focus or experience to deliberately create a CI culture
  • Impatience to invest long term, which is necessary to change and/or create culture
  • Disconnect between words/desires and leader actions
  • Management systems do not align or are disconnected from the desired CI culture
  • Leaders don’t walk the talk
  • Lack of or inconsistent leader standardized work at all levels
  • Misaligned outcomes or benefits between the organization and the employees
  • Poor or non-existent  “go & see” or gemba reviews by senior leaders to confirm the actual condition and gain engagement

Unfortunately, the list goes on….

Let’s learn collaboratively!  What has been your experience as to why organizations fail at creating long-term results and sustained improvement?  Leave a comment!  Let’s do this!

Contact me:

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.

If you are enjoying my posts and find the information useful, please “Follow” me by entering your email in the follow box on the right-hand menu of my website www.glennsommerville.com

 

 

 

 

Lean and Continuous Improvement

3 Crucial Steps For Creating Strong CI Culture!

Creating a strong CI team culture does not just happen on its own, unfortunately!  There are 3 crucial steps to create any culture and if any are weak, so will be the resulting culture.  One or all of these steps are often overlooked, leading to a weak or undesired culture.

I recently resumed “Open Office Hours” whereby I have time slots in my calendar reserved for impromptu drop-ins or phone calls from anyone within my organization.  During one of these conversations we discussed how to change a culture within an organization which prompted me to dig up a mental model I used years ago when creating the “Lexus Mindset” to launch the first Lexus plant outside of Japan.  Since then, I’ve used this same model to create Continuous Improvement cultures in other organizations.

Culture Mental Model

 

Values  – The first step is to determine and align the organization with the values that are most important, and desired or necessary to have in order to meet the mission of the team or organization.  These values need to be well defined and communicated to everyone within the team or organization.

Behaviours – Next is to identify the behaviours that each member of the team or organization should exhibit that demonstrates the values previously determined.  These behaviours maybe different at various levels and positions within the team or organization based on the role or responsibilities.

Consistency – Everyone on the team must consistently demonstrate the desired behaviours.  Organizations most successful with creating their desired and sustained cultures are those where the members actively correct and identify unwanted behaviours and show recognition and appreciation for the desired behaviours.

Only when the desired behaviours are consistently demonstrated, are the values re-enforced, which then creates the culture sought after.  When the demonstrated behaviours contradict or are inconsistent with the values of the organization, the resulting culture will not be what was intended.

When we used this mental model to create the Lexus Mindset, we invested a great deal of time and discussion to determine the values we felt were necessary to meet our mission.  Once these values were determined, we worked together as a team to establish the behaviours that all members of the team would need to have that would clearly demonstrate and reinforce our values.  We then developed methods that we could both correct undesirable behaviours or recognize the sought after behaviours.  We made it fun and engaging at all levels.  I remember my team pointing out to me a few times, with a big smile on their faces, “Does this behaviour support the Lexus Mindset?”.  It was actually powerful and was very effective in changing our behaviours towards the ultimate culture we wanted to have.  Not only did it correct poor behaviours, but it also resulted in open discussions that challenged our old way of reacting or dealing with situations which facilitated a faster shift in our thinking and ultimately our behaviours.  We won the prestigious JD Power Gold Plant Award that year for the highest initial vehicle quality within North and South America, which I don’t think would have happened had we not created the culture that we did!

Contact me:

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.

If you are enjoying my posts and find the information useful, please “Follow” me by entering your email in the follow box on the right-hand menu of my website www.glennsommerville.com

 

Lean and Continuous Improvement

4 Phases To Watch For With Continuous Improvement!

Typically when you first start improving a process or conduct a kaizen, there are four improvement cycles or phases that one goes through.  It’s helpful to know what they are so you can quickly address the issues that cause them, or even better, avoid them in the first place!

4 Phases of CI

Phase #1

The first step before any kaizen or continuous improvement (CI) is to ensure that standard work is being followed and that the process is within standards.  Often it is not, so the first thing that needs to be done is to either put them back in place, or if they didn’t exist, create and put them in.  The lack of standard work and standards is generally the cause of the high variation that is experienced in the process.  In this stage, if adherence to standard work has not been a priority, it is common to find that operators over time have created their own standard work with each one maybe doing it slightly or totally differently.  This is what often causes the high variation.  If you do not address this variation before CI, you will likely create higher levels of variation and your process will not provide a predictable result.  It can easily become complicated and frustrating trying to figure out why sometimes you achieve the desired results after the CI, but not always.  Once the standard work and standards are in place, you should see the variation in the results dramatically decrease and the process will become stable.  Even if the process is not delivering to the desired target, it is critical to make the process stable and therefore predictable.  Now you are ready to kaizen or CI the process.

Phase #2

Phase #2 comes after a kaizen when the process is now consistently achieving the desired target.  The process and the results are stable and predictable.  Everything is going well and the team starts to think about what’s next.  This is the happy phase when the team is feeling good about the results and their accomplishments.  Document the changes clearly, revise the standard work, make any new standards permanent (until the next kaizen), and provide the operators and the process time to operate and stabilize.  If you are aware of Phase #3, then phase #2 is a good time to implement mitigation so that you can avoid phase #3!

Phase #3

If you are experienced at CI, phase #3 can be prevented, but far too often there is a phase #3.  Phase #3 is a result of a weak or missing sustainment step or mechanism.  After the CI the operators and the leaders get comfortable.  They either stop or change the frequency of a key success attribute that was put in place during the original CI.  An example is training.  During the CI all the operators were trained on the new standard work and everyone does the process steps in the same order and same way.  However, if the training materials weren’t revised, or the trainers were not informed, the result can be below target conditions with higher rates of variation.  Or perhaps, the leaders didn’t add a key check or confirmation to their standard work and after a period of time missed a check here or there and perhaps eventually even stopped doing it.  Again, this can lead to high variation and below target results.  However, since all the CI changes and actions are fresh, typically you can recover from this situation very quickly and return to target and stability.  Lessons are learned and mechanisms put in place to maintain stable target results.  Until phase #4, that is!

Phase #4

After a period of stability, it is not uncommon for a sudden and unexpected short term unfavourable to target result.  This is the result of an abnormality in the process.  The abnormality may be one of the 4M’s – Man, Machine, Material, Method.  With the focus and controls put in place by this point in the CI, the abnormality is usually quickly identified and corrected almost immediately.  These abnormalities can also point you in the direction of your next kaizen or CI activity.

Cover Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

Contact me:

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.

If you are enjoying my posts and find the information useful, please “Follow” me by entering your email in the follow box on the right-hand menu of my website www.glennsommerville.com