July 22, 2014

Together is Better: Employee Safety and Lean Practices

Share via email

TweetThe safety of employees is among one of the top ranking objectives of most businesses. When an employee becomes injured at work, there are many consequences that can come into play such as loss of a skilled employee, worker’s compensation claims, and possibly an OSHA investigation. When an employee is injured it takes a toll [...]

Did you like this post?

Sign up to receive email updates directly to your inbox:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Beware the surge

Storm Surge by jedidogbert
Share via email

I have witnessed or been a part of multiple process improvement efforts – whether they are small in nature and affect only a few people, or large, transformational endeavors designed to reshape the culture of an organization, if not its entire business model. Some of them succeed, some of them fail, all of them go through a period of a quick, immediate up-tick in performance that looks and feels like success. A while later, however, there is a let-down.

I suspect, however, that the problem when it comes to facilitating adoption isn’t so much one of driving people to the intended outcome, but in allowing people to change the outcome. [Read more]

Did you like this post?

Sign up to receive email updates directly to your inbox:

Delivered by FeedBurner

The value of delayed decisions

decisions by mihaibrrr
Share via email

Most conversations about improvement revolve around finding ways to speed things up. Whether by focusing on the elimination of unnecessary activities, doing less more often, reducing clutter, training the mind to avoid multitasking, or any other approach to speeding up decision making the prevailing message is clear: do things faster.

The desire to do things faster necessitates making decisions faster, of course. Process improvement schools of thought are, essentially, designed to speed up decision making to one degree or another. Last year, I came across Frank Partnoy’s Wait, however, which advocated something different – slowing things down. [Read more]

Did you like this post?

Sign up to receive email updates directly to your inbox:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Project problems can’t be solved with an operational focus

loves_distance__by_peggyopal-d41wf2f
Share via email

Very often, projects are assessed by using metrics that are not about identifying unique & temproary activities. Rather, persistent, on-going measures such as average weekly costs or hours worked or material dollars spent are used to determine if a project is running as it should.

Unfortunately, these sort of measurements are more attuned to understanding operations because they establish linear costs over time. Project have peaks and valleys, spikes and low points, periods of tremendous activity and periods when they have very little at all.
[Read more]

Did you like this post?

Sign up to receive email updates directly to your inbox:

Delivered by FeedBurner

What to do when you don’t know the way to go

plot a course for home
Share via email

My 3-year-old is following in his 7-year-old brother’s footsteps and taking an intense interest in Nickelodeon’s Dora the Explorer. After a couple years of not having to listen to the theme song ad nauseum, we’re back into the thick of things.

For those who are not familiar with the show, Dora frequently goes on adventures and isn’t certain which way to go. In those situation, she calls upon her trusty map, which shows her the way.

If only we were all so well prepared. [Read more]

Did you like this post?

Sign up to receive email updates directly to your inbox:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Think small, even when you’re big

Share via email

All people have a stake in the performance of the organization. Even without equity and stock options, people still look to their company for stable income, which enables them to lead their lives. When information is withheld or doctored to depict a situation for the sake of not causing a panic, or raising undue concern, it portrays an attitude that states the rank and file simply aren’t able to understand the complexities and must be prevented from learning the truth – as a parent withholds details of an R-rated move from a child.
[Read more]

Did you like this post?

Sign up to receive email updates directly to your inbox:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Do you ever just get tired of it all?

burned out
Share via email

Article upon article, book upon book, for somewhere around 30 years or more, telling us how to make the workplace……better. Still, the consultants and gurus keep pumping out information, more and more effort comes around to create change in the hearts and minds of business leaders, and still we’re stuck in the quagmire.

Yes, I realize that I am one of those who keep pumping out thoughts on how to change things in my own little corner of the blogosphere. Which is why I have to ask – of anyone who has ever endeavored to change anything – do you ever just plain feel like you’re banging your head against the wall? [Read more]

Did you like this post?

Sign up to receive email updates directly to your inbox:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Product Innovation vs Operational Excellence (or, Magic vs. Might?)

Warrior vs Sorcerer
Share via email

Product innovation appears to be the realm of the unexplainable – that the way to go about that business is to assume a muse, or some divine spark is, ultimately, going to descend upon the workers bees and imbue them with the powers of insight and creativity. You have to create innovation space, and adopt managerial styles and practices, that allow creativity to flourish.

Process innovation, on the other hand, is seen as something a little more grungy and foul-smelling. It is the world of brute force and awkwardness, no matter how elegant it tries to become. [Read more]

Did you like this post?

Sign up to receive email updates directly to your inbox:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Human Capital Management and Lean Transformation Go Hand-in-Hand

Share via email

It’s common for organizations to begin their Lean journeys focusing on production, operations and Lean tools. It’s only after toiling at it for a couple of years that they realize they should’ve focused sooner on the human capital aspects of creating lasting change. Commonalities between operational improvement and managing involvement are significant, particularly with regard to three critical work streams often overseen by the Human Resources (HR) arm of human capital [Read more]

Did you like this post?

Sign up to receive email updates directly to your inbox:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Metrics are Scary and Should be Avoided at All Costs (Not)

Share via email

Metrics are such an important element of continuous improvement. Wait…Metrics might be the most important element of continuous improvement. Why? Because continuous improvement by definition is the measurement of improvement — and if you aren’t measuring, how will the organization know how far it has come or where it needs to go?

Most organizations struggle mightily with the topic of metrics and sometimes it’s surprising just how much. I think it happens for a number of reasons. [Read more]

Did you like this post?

Sign up to receive email updates directly to your inbox:

Delivered by FeedBurner