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Lean Management

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Lean Manufacturing Initiative

Manufacturing Simulation Game - "LEGO"

Resource Management
Part 5 of 5


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MANAGING THE PROCESS
With change, needs arise for new roles and definitions of employee responsibility. Implementing ERP and embracing systems changes are only a beginning. The process manager becomes the focal point, kind of the ombudsman who facilitates removing barriers between worker and manager, and between manager and worker. The process manager helps push responsibility downward. No holding back, this facilitator develops measurements, ongoing training, and supports and advocates refining processes until they are acceptable.
Often, functional leaders will take up this challenge of process management. In other examples process managers take on new roles as interdepartmental systems coordinators who act as liaison between end-user departments, information services, and organizational man­agement. Clearly, teamwork and shared responsibilities across depart­mental boundaries lay a new landscape for the organization to build on. New challenges and opportunities continue to unravel as new sup­ply chain requirements present themselves. The total business becomes interdependent on a strong foundation built on sharing—both the prod­uct and process life cycles, and focusing on the integration of organi­zational resources toward the effective realization of organizational goals. A new mission that has no easy pathway to follow.
SELF EXAMINATION: DEFINING REAL BUSINESS PROBLEMS
You may have a real business problem if you find these contradictions in your organization:
• The company claims to be forward-thinking, but their actions are grounded in the past.
• The IT investments bring in tools of the future, but mainframe men­tality persists.
• Individual department and divisional goals are not integrated into a tangible whole (performance measurements do not serve to align organizational/integrated goals).
• Communication and feedback between employees and management is labored.
• There is little or no shared learning among knowledge employees.
• Informal supply chain processes evolved over time to work around the official procedures that don't work.
• Finger pointing, expediting, and fire-fighting take up most of the work day.
• There is no safe forum to raise issues, to agree on common defini­tions of problems, or to find better ways to do work.
• Duplicate work activities abound; process flow charts do not exist; knowledge is lost when employee leave.
Your ERP System Might Be on the Wrong Path if:
• You bring in high-paid consultants and don't listen to them because you know their business better than they do.
• You consistently miss your own benchmarks.
• You have set more than three implementation dates for the same project.
You try to implement your client-server ERP system with the same methodology you used to put in your legacy system 15 years ago. You have combination locks on your nursing unit storage rooms, but your general storeroom is wide open.
No agreed-upon process exists within supply chain to address and resolve variances in the material flow. No agreement exists on problem definitions. You decide that you don't need to test and prove every business process before going live.
You decide that you don't need to test and prove every system fea­ture and function before going live.
You think that users "can be told" everything they need to know about the ERP system.
The new product/product change/product evaluation process is not clearly understood and bought into by all stakeholders.
Your ERP System Is Probably on the Right Path if:
• Your project leaders are committed to a process orientation, i.e., they view the implementation as a journey that involves and chal­lenges everyone right from the beginning.
• Fit/gap analysis is performed: comparison of new system provi­sions versus demonstrated and expected business needs—any cus-tomizations needed? Assessment of resources and project timelines which are doable.
• Early project steps include installation of all fixes to the current software release in order to get up to date with the customer service center.
• Determine the scope of the project is accurate and realistic, i.e., what and who are included, what and who are not included.
• Educational classes for all key users in system terminology. Sys­tem setup, an overview of every feature and function, general ex­planations of logic and processing, general explanations of queries.
• Assign a project team members to make and maintain a list of "is­sues" or any unresolved questions concerning the project.
• Start a project directory on the department LAN. Gather all current documentation, report samples, process maps, pertinent policies and procedures, meeting notes, status updates, etc., for project team member access.
LESSONS LEARNED
No information that has a bearing on the project should be held back. No decision affecting the project should be made in secret. Project leaders should avoid confrontation with barriers and enable a consis­tent project momentum toward short-term deliverables gaining ever-increasing credibility. Wherever possible, employ or assign people to short-term tasks to help attain completion of the large-scale implemen­tation. Realize that implementing enterprisewide systems with an end goal of improving integrated resource management will take time, per­sistence, and constant evaluation. Retrospective thinking will force you to benefit for errors made. Applying realistic expectations to process improvements that ultimately fit into the bigger scope of improved resource integration. And remember everyone is responsible for achiev­ing results!


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