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strategies can be broken down into two major groups. The first six
focus on reducing lead times and eliminating waste by changing the
appropriate underlying processes. As such, they are basic
strategies. How they are applied will vary from firm to firm. Since
they focus on the processes, they take longer to implement and their
impact is much more significant. Their use can and does generate
increased value and competitive advantage. In contrast, the last two
are best described as enhancers. Their use alone does not generate
a long-term competitive advantage. Instead, they are best used when
combined with one of the other six basic strategies.
Second, critical to
the successful application of these strategies are the three major
implementation traits of focus, urgency, and time compression
(traits found in abundance in kaizen event programs). Focus means
that from the outset we have clearly delineated the task to be
studied. We have bounded the task in terms of span (how much of the
system we will study) and conditions (under what specific conditions
we are to study the problem). Once we have established a bound, we
do not go beyond it. If we see a problem or cause that lies outside
of the bounds, we do not ignore it. Rather, we use the vehicle of
the "action list" to record the problem. That is, we write down the
problem, the reason that it is important, the implications of not
dealing with it, and the type of actions that must be considered to
deal with it. We leave the items on this action list for others to
focus bn. For ourselves, we deal only with those items within the
bounds previously set down.
Third, there is the
issue of urgency. Urgency is the notion that people feel that the
problem or task that they dealing with is important and that they
must address it immediately. To establish urgency, you must demand
that the participants work on the project full time for a period of
time. Finally, there is time compression. To reduce lead times, you
have to set a specific deadline. Here are two radical aspects of
time compression. The first is that the deadline should not be too
far into the future. For most projects, where people are assigned to
them on a full-time basis, the tasks can be completed with a high
degree of success within two to five days. Second, the deadline
should be a drop-dead one. That is, management should be prepared
not to offer any extensions. These three attributes enhance
management's ability to reduce lead times and to do so effectively
PROCESS VIEW OF
takes place in the operations management system can be viewed as the
result of a process. It is the process that determines what the
integrated enterprise can and cannot do. It is the design process
at a firm such as Daimler-Chrysler that enables it to quickly bring
to market new products and ideas. If we want to change the outcomes,
then we must change the process. Stated alternatively, processes are
the heart of every operations management and at the heart of the
CIRM view of the integrated enterprise. An operations manager is
really a process manager. Then, what is this concept of a process?
A process is the
sequence and organization (either formal or informal) of all
activities it needs to convert inputs into outputs. A process draws
together inputs, transformation activities, and outputs into a
unified system. It identifies the resources that activities need
(e.g., machines, material, labor, and information) and specifies
stages at which the resources are needed and in what quantities. A
process also describes the activities needed to convert inputs into
outputs. For example, we use a stove and heat to convert a raw
hamburger patty (an input) into a cooked hamburger (an output).
Other activities transport or move items from one area to another.
Still other activities store raw materials, work-in-process (begun
but unfinished outputs), or completed work. Finally, some activities
check or inspect work to make sure that it meets standards for
quality, quantity, lead time, or timing.
managers structure processes influences the ability of the firm to
serve its customers. We have all experienced organizations with
complex, bureaucratic processes that seem incapable of providing a
desired service in a timely manner. The design of a process should
reflect what the customer wants. If the customer prizes quick
response, then the process should be designed to respond quickly.
Managers must identify and eliminate unnecessary or redundant steps,
reduce distances between steps or activities, and diminish the time
needed to complete each step. This need for a fit between the
process and the customer has important effects. It implies that if
the customer changes, then the process might also have to change.
process thinking, the orientation of thinking in terms of processes,
are certain important premises:
• Every firm is
defined in terms of its various processes. These processes
determine the type of product (goods or services) that the firm can
provide its customers.
• Processes determine the traits and the specific type of value
delivered by the firm. When viewed in this light, products can be
seen as "residuals"—outputs of the process.
• To change the traits of the products, we must identify the
appropriate processes and act on them.
• People work within processes; managers work on processes.
• Capacity and processes are linked. Processes use capacity;
changing processes can change the amount of capacity needed.
• Since processes are linked, we must manage the entire network of
processes. This task requires being aware of bottlenecks or
As a result, the
DP&S module of CIRM now emphasizes a shift from managing activities
to managing processes. Underlying this shift is the notion that by
managing processes, we enhance the ability of our function and our
firm to better deliver superior value to our targeted customers
faster than our competitors. That orientation is a sure
prescription for corporate survival and success.
the enterprise continue to evolve, transform, and change. These
changes are not only affecting how activities within the enterprise
are being carried out; they are also influencing the structure of
the CIRM program. In this presentation, we have focused on six
developments that every manager interested in delivering products
and services should be aware of. It is hoped that this presentation
will cause managers to explore these developments in greater detail.
Within these six developments, we can find the seeds of a radical
transformation of the delivery process.
For balance of this article, click on the below link:
Lean Manufacturing Articles and go to Series 10