what has worked in the past is not easy. It requires • an
understanding of the marketplace and technologies to know when to
quit pursuing efficiency of the current process and create a new
one. The achievements of the old ways and old wisdom should be
recognized and celebrated...and then overtly set aside so that they
do not clutter the blank page of new paradigm creation. To combat
the natural fear of change, the greater risk of not innovating and
not changing must be identified and understood.
it is not just the top management or middle management who need to
understand. These changes in technology and processes affect every
level of the organization and, when properly applied, reduce the
number of levels. Who would be left out of the drive for quality in
the products and services an organization provides? Once the people
who comprise the company's army understand the need to go to war, to
innovate and change to remain successful, they need to be motivated
and inspired. Successful change, even in small units and pilot
processes, provide the adrenaline to charge up the troops. By
maintaining a continuous challenge to the status quo the
organization can remain adaptable and flexible to change.
late 1970s and early 1980s, Harley-Davidson hit rugged terrain. With
intense overseas competition flooding the heavyweight motorcycle
market, a recession that caused sales to plummet and execution
problems on the inside, Harley-Davidson found itself racing toward
extinction. The company simplified operations to the bare, customer
value-added activities, improving quality and compressing cycle
time. Today, the company is once again ahead of the pack. Their
workers' attitude is one of continuous improvement rather than
complacency with their recent success.
Ingleside plant, Kraft General Foods Canada (KGFC) produces natural
cheeses. As product prices increased in line with costs, KGFC
recognized the risk of losing market share to competitors with lower
priced products. Kraft General Foods Canada worked to rethink
Ingleside's current operations to achieve significant reductions in
operating costs, manufacturing leadtimes and inventory levels while
empowering the existing plant leadership to pursue a continuous
improvement strategy. The delegation of responsibility and authority
have built a continuous improvement culture and positioned KGFC to
be a competitive force in the 1990s and beyond.
One of the world's
largest PVC resin/compound producers, the Geon Vinyl Division of BF
Goodrich, supplies over $1 billion of materials annually. To
strengthen its market position, the company wanted to redefine
itself from a supplier of commodity resins
to a make-to-order, value-added specialty
compound supplier. The Division set out to create a seamless flow
from order entry through process control to shipping—without
unneeded paper or approvals. The program used a pilot approach
driven by plant teams to reduce inventories, cut lead time and
increase efficiency producing millions of dollars in annual savings.
few case examples demonstrate the enormous benefits to ••' be
gained by fighting the battles to create an adaptable, change
oriented culture. Companies who continue to challenge themselves
to reinvent their business as their markets and customers change can
achieve and sustain a leadership position and make millions of
dollars in the process.
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