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The entire process is evaluated for areas of waste/delay. These are such things as redundant activities that can be combined, required activities that are not performed and activities that are performed that are not required. Each step in the "as-is" process should be look at from the perspective of supplier/customer. Each activity should receive a product from a "supplier." They should then provide some customer value-adding activity to the product and become its supplier to the next customer in line.

The team focuses on the value added by each step in the process. During this analysis, established policies and procedures must be challenged and considered for possible elimination even if it might have been looked upon as impossible in the past. Processes are full of steps and activities that are looked upon as mandatory. However, how many times have emergencies come up where we have quickly developed alternatives to work around the bureau­cracy of the established process to eliminate steps, time and cost? We should consider making these work around processes the rule and not the exception!
The team will next determine, for each area of waste/delay, one or more causes and the overall root cause. Once root causes have been established, the team identifies smarter, more creative methods of performing the required tasks in the process. Some commonly used techniques for this activity include brainstorming, force field analysis, cause and effect diagrams, pareto analysis, benchmarking the process with other companies, etc. Each improvement idea is then evaluated to ensure appropriate assignment of responsibility in the organization and to quantify the savings to be achieved or any additional cost consid­erations. Once the improvement ideas have been iden­tified and quantified, the "as-is" flow will be updated to provide a "to-be" flow showing the elimination of unnecessary steps and bottlenecks and the overall streamlined process.

The next activity is that of packaging the results into presentation format for communicating and obtaining "buy-in" from those involved. Past "Red Team" efforts have frequently resulted in voluminous final reports that wind up collecting dust in a book shelf. Using a presentation that is suitable for a variety of audiences fosters communication and makes it easier to obtain the required upper manage­ment buy-in. The presentation should include:

• Project Statement or Issue
• Owner and Team members
• Interview List
• Scope/objectives/boundaries/goals
• Areas of Waste/Delay & Causes
• Prioritized Improvement List with Assignees
• "As-is" vs "To-be" Flow
• Savings in Time, Dollars, Step Reductions, etc.
• Implementation Plan
• Issues
• Follow-up & Feedback Process
• Lessons Learned for Future Reviews
• Acknowledgments

The initial presentation is directed to the process owner. The owner decides to proceed with all or a portion of the recommendations. Based upon the owner's direction, the team then groups the approved recommendations into logical releases for implementation. A "release" may be composed of changes to processes, changes to software or any combination of the two. From here, the team will deliver the presentation to other management and mem­bers of the affected organizations to inform, solicit support, encourage participation and obtain buy-in.

Acknowledgments are extremely important and can gener­ally take two forms. The first is to acknowledge both the process and the individuals who make it work. We can usually find parts of a process that are already very effective and efficiently operated. This activity should be highlighted and the individuals commended for their ef­forts. The second acknowledgement is toward the process review team. For the time spent on the review these people have been taken out of their normal roles and been tasked to change their thought processes from departmental to total business. Their efforts should not only be publicly recognized by the sponsor, but their performance on the team should also be included in their next performance appraisal.

The final stage is that of implementation. A separate implementation team may be required if the necessary expertise is not present on the original team. That is, if the release has software development involved, the team needs to have programming and possibly data base expertise added. There may also be less process experts needed for the implementation. In either case, every effort is made to maintain continuity.

The implementation effort must be carefully planned and scheduled. Each improvement idea is detailed as to who will perform what activities starting when and for how long. The resultant plan should be loaded to one of several available project management software packages. The plan assures frequent follow up briefings with the owner and assignees to both review progress and assess the effects of benefits of the effort. As step implementations occur, the individuals involved should be praised publicly for their efforts. Continuous communication of the team's activities and successes is important. This can take the form of articles in company newspapers or special edition newsletters. Implementation of improvement ideas is not the end of the process review. Rather, it is a prototype from which to build and assure continuous improvements.

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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