Performance Measurements Drive Improvement
The appropriate performance measurements drive the appropriate
behavior. In order to drive significant improvement in operating
results, metrics need to be in place to monitor progress toward the
specific goals. The metrics must both encourage and measure the
team's achievements. It is often said that management gets what it
inspects, not what it expects. This has never been more true than in
a team environment, where for the first time in many companies'
history, decision making and the responsibility for improvement is
being moved out to those folks who are closest to the issues. Two
kinds of metrics are critical. The first is to measure the
effectiveness of the work team process. This is oftentimes measured
simply in terms of the number of solutions that are implemented by
each team. The second type of performance measurement should measure
the work team's progress toward their selected objective or goal.
For example, if setup time reduction is the specific objective of
the team, then there must be a metric to both track and post
accomplishments toward this goal. If lead time reduction is the
specific objective of this Productive Work Team, then the
measurement of that reduction needs to be measured and posted for
all to see. In most cases, the team itself can help identify those
metrics that are appropriate to monitor their progress.
A Powered Start Is Critical
Management has some questions to answer to initially kick off a
Productive Work Team's process.
1. When does education begin for management, supervision, and the
2. Will team membership be voluntary or mandatory?
3. What is the new role of the supervisor?
4. Who will sponsor each team?
5. How and when are the teams recognized and rewarded for
Education is the catalyst to a powered start. Up front education
eliminates the fear and misunderstandings of what the whole
team-based management process is about. Up front education must
occur top down. The first folks who need education are top
management and then supervision as their roles are going to change
more than anyone else's. In order to address the adult learning
issues, all education must be application based and apply directly
back to each individual's experience and work environment.
Education must occur early, must occur often, and must occur in
small doses. Education also provides the background for management
and supervision to understand the work team's process itself so
they can be supportive of it.
Productive Work Teams provide a balance of management direction with
worker autonomy. Management's and supervisor's jobs are to be the
coach, the visionary, the guide, and the communicator. Management
provides the Productive Work Team structure, the specific
objectives, the new knowledge or application skills, and the
individual team participation skills. Management's responsibility is
to show interest, to be enthusiastic, and to generate excitement.
Teams then are prepared to accomplish those specific objectives of
management. The teams will set more detailed clear and specific team
objectives to support the company goals. They will select specific
problems that need solving and they in turn will solve those
problems after analyzing the multitude of potential solutions. As
problems get solved and solutions get implemented, teams will be
able to contribute to refining the company goals, increasing
expectations, and setting higher and higher targets. A Productive
Work Team structure can be at the
root of changing a company management culture from management by
directive to management by setting objectives. Many positive
results occur, from the acceptance of individual responsibility by
each team member to a philosophy of continuous improvement for the
company. A Productive Work Team's focus in a company should produce
significant measurable results in the first 60 to 90 days. The need
for continuous improvement via a Productive Work Team's process has
been well documented in the literature. In fact, without it, it will
be difficult for a company to compete in today's marketplace. The
Productive Work Team process and strategy described in this paper
is the vehicle to activating the total people resource in a company
and is the answer to attaining and maintaining a competitive edge.
For balance of this article, click on the below link:
Lean Manufacturing Articles and go to Series 02
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