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I. Top Management Education and Awareness

How and what did your organization do in preparing top management for the journey? If all that was done was handing out an article or a copy of a book... you're a 1.

You're also a 1 if management merely attended a brief presentation of the concepts and theory and became con­versant with the buzz words and TLA's (Three Letter Acronyms).

Score yourself as a 3 if some attended a brief course and perhaps some of the management team have some prior exposure or experience. You're at the top, a 5 if there was and is a defined, comprehensive education and awareness effort and all of management attends, participates and completes.

II. Executive Vision and Plan

We've heard it repeatedly.. ."without commitment from the top," etc. etc. Just as true is the fact that the top executives must have and actively communicate a vision and a plan.

If that vision and plan only exist when he/she is looking in the mirror, you must score yourself as a 1. Documenting the plan and clarifying the goals and objectives promotes you to a 3. However at this level you haven't spelled out the strategy and tasks. They aren't clear to all. You're a 5 when the strategy and tasks have been clearly defined, docu­mented, maintained, communicated and discussed with all.

III. Justification

Why and What got you into this in the first place? If you looked around and saw that your competitors were doing it and that was your motivation ... you're a 1. If your custom­ers approached you and said that in the near future it would be a requirement and this is what got you started, then you're a 1. You're a subsidiary and you were directed to get into it, you are a 1. Score yourself as a 3 if, internally, you recognized the opportunities for positively impacting cus­tomer service, inventory and production. This may have come about as a result of your participation in APICS or some other professional organization. A 5 for those who have put together a complete cost/benefit analysis. This is where they have defined the monitoring parameters. They have taken into account not only the current needs but have looked into the future. The view taken is not a myopic, functionally driven perspective but an enterprise wide view.

IV. Commitment
Is this a program or a process? Did somebody put a bunch of money in the budget and say get me ... this? Fire - Aim - Ready is the typical scenario for those who are in the program/project mode. That means you're a 1 on the scale. A 3 can be recognized by the meetings, discussions and agreements. A 3 has someone who is recognized as the driver or champion. Those who are 5's have unanimous acceptance of what is being done and all are committed and prepared to manage the business using the system.

V. Executive Steering Body

These are the people who must make critical high level decisions to keep efforts moving forward. They are respon­sible for removing roadblocks you may encounter along the way. If this group meets on an ad-hoc basis and merely find out what's going on by receiving a status update score yourself as a 1. You're reaching a 3 if there are regularly scheduled meetings...but they're always being resched­uled. It seems that this is not the #2 priority. (The #1 priority is to keep the business running.) At these meetings the attendees receive a status report and update and provide decision making and direction setting. What does a 5 look like? Fully attended, regularly scheduled meet­ings. There is a budget, a plan and a pre-distributed agenda for each meeting. The agenda lists the items for action at the meeting, provides reference materials and alternative(s) for the action items.

Attached to the agenda is a copy of the status/progress against plan. The meeting will review obstacles, make decisions and provide direction. These meetings should rarely last longer than one hour.

VI. Project Leader and Team

A properly structured team and leader must be in place. Too many companies have a one-man band. In some com­panies it's the "MIS" person or the "Production" person. With the availability of PC based software, at relatively reduced costs for hardware and software, the perception exists that implementation is simple. Hence the one-man band. Some companies select a turnkey vendor. This type of organization is a 1 because once the one-man band stops playing, the music stops! A 3 is a company that has a project leader and team but they are part time. They must accom­plish their tasks in addition to their other day to day responsibilities. Unrealistic timing is established and lack of achievement is discouraging and defeating. This results in either large unplanned delays or abandonment. A full time leader and team, properly and fully educated, trained, chartered, budgeted and planned is a 5.

VII. User Involvement and Concurrence

How much input did the users have in determining what to do and what to buy?
If the MIS Manager, together with the finance department made the decisions and procurement you're a 1. You have a user community that was in need of direction, had meetings, discussed issues and requirements and provided input you can score a 3. You're a 5 when the users were highly participative in the decisions, feel and believe that it is an enterprise wide system. Most importantly, the resources of the system are readily available to the users.

To be Continued

For balance of this article, click on the below link:

Lean Manufacturing Articles and go to Series 01


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