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Alignment starts with employees using our software tool to define their working relationships in the organi­zation, first hierarchically, identifying their boss and their staff members. Then, they identify their relation­ships along the supply chain: providers, teammates, and customers. The tool notifies those identified and re­quires them to reciprocally agree (or disagree) that there is a material business relationship, and confirm the in­terdependence. (See Figure 1.)

It is through this process that you will see some early returns for your efforts. The organization-wide dialogue that is facilitated is the foundation of the alignment pro­cess. The dialogue initiated by the employee, or associ­ate as we call it, between providers, customers, teammates, boss, and staff begins to clarify working interdependencies, and creates a better understanding of how work flows through the supply chain and hierar­chically. Procedures begin to make more sense, and re­finements start to become everyone's business.

At Retcar, the process was eye opening. The down­side was that work came to a screeching halt for almost two days. People were fully engaged in the company-wide dialogue that I mentioned earlier. The discovery process was amazing. Light bulbs went on all over the organization. So, I guess that the upside was also that work came to a screeching halt for two days. Instead of simply and maybe robotically going through our estab­lished procedures, we took the time to understand what we needed from one another to succeed.

"Make sure that everyone is aligned to the same goals, alignment of common goals throughout the organiza­tion stops turf wars, and lets all departments and levels of the organization focus on what is truly important to the success of the operation." (Cooper Industries)


Once these relationships are set up and reciprocally confirmed, the goal assignment process can begin. Our tool helps us to systemize and manage this process. But maybe even more importantly, it enables us to commu­nicate to everyone in the organization our vision in terms of strategic goals. Our strategic goals are communicated and translated for every department and individual as­sociate in our organization. In other words, not only does everyone know what the company's strategies are, they know their role in the strategy.

How does that happen? We have three levels of goals: organizational, group or departmental, and associate or individual. Organizational goals are created by the CEO or by a steering committee and are communicated through our software tool to everyone in the organization. Group goals are assigned by the group or department managers. And individual associate goals may be assigned by the person's group and/or taken on independently by the per­son himself. This is a unique practice that we've developed at Retcar. Associates are empowered through our software to build their own goal set. They are empowered through our goal warehouse concept.

How's it work? Well, we believe that it is much more effective to have a manager create and post on the sys­tem his or her goals for the year. Then, that manager'sstaff can view those goals and adapt them for their own goal set. In other words, the staff itself determines what they must do to support their manager's objectives. Now, the manager can spend his or her time interacting and helping the staff members to refine and adjust their goals, instead of laboriously developing the entire goal set for each direct report. This has worked very well at Retcar, helping buy-in and getting everyone to pull in the same direction.

To Be Continued

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

Lean Manufacturing Articles and click on Series 13


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