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DRIVING CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT

 

When measurements are treated as a set that in turn provides a composite of the performance of an entireorganization, senior management is encouraged to fo­cus on the composite results until a team objective is achieved. This is often associated with what is known as a class-A level of performance. Pursuit of a team ob­jective is critical in companies where there has been a history of functional conflict and poor operating results. The pursuit of a common goal (class-A) becomes a foun­dation for team building.

 

Once the common goal has been achieved (or a single target has been achieved) it is time to reassess the mea­surement system. This will lead to redefinition of mea­sures. Each measurement must be reviewed to determine ways to tighten expected results similar to narrowing control limits on a scatter diagram in statistical process control. The first target is tolerances that should be re­duced or eliminated.

 

Some measures will reach a maximum level, imply­ing that the process being measured is in perfect con­trol. These measures should be discontinued or relegated to a periodic audit function as described above as an "intermediate" type.

 

Finally, continuous improvement will drive the or­ganization toward identifying new measures that were initially not possible to meaningfully entertain. These new measures will primarily be "rate of improvement" types that reflect the process stability achieved in the first round of measures.

QUOTABLE QUOTES

 

The following are examples of feedback from managers who have been part of a successful business excellence initiative supported by effective performance measurement:

 

"This performance measurement and business excel­lence process is the best TQM tool we have ever had." (Vice President of Corporate Quality Control)

 

"In my 20-plus years in this company, this is the first project ever undertaken and lasted longer than 12 months and has maintained the enthusiasm of a cross-section of the employees. This stuff really works. Every­one could see the positive impact on their area." (Materials Manager)

 

"I used to submit a four-page list of lot numbers need­ing to be expedited through quality control each week. Now the list is less than one page." (Manufacturing Logistics)

 

"The number of changes to the weekly schedule has been reduced by over 50 percent." (Manufacturing Logistics)

 

"A heightened awareness of business excellence has contributed to a significant reduction in back orders (over 75 percent)." (U.S. Sales Manager)

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

Lean Manufacturing Articles and click on Series 13


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