to Simplify Your Systems
are five steps for your team to follow when simplifying
a common vision of the desired result by creating a
paper model that shows how the systems should work. This
step is critical to the process. Without a vision in place, the
remaining steps will likely be compromised. It may be determined
that the correct starting point for creating this model is assuring
that all team members receive the same initial
education on current manufacturing systems concepts.
the actual systems against the newly accepted vision
looking for the five categories of complexities listed above plus
any informal systems, "work around" solutions to
problems inherent in the systems, or missing ingredients
that hinder their use.
Identify potential improvements—
a "hit list" of candidate items for simplification and their
recommended solutions. Be sure to review the logic of the
software, data structures and accuracy requirements, policies
and procedures, performance measurements, organizational
issues, and training requirements. Estimate costs
and benefits of each improvement. Prioritize the list.
Convince the organization—
the model and the improvement package to Management
and the users. They have played a significant role in making
the current systems as complex or simple as they are.
They will have the same role in making the simplification
project successful. Their willingness to give up the bureaucracy,
levels of precision, and reliance on informal systems
and communications will determine your success.
repair, replace, and discard as planned to resolve the discrepancies
and make your systems conform to your model.
return for simplifying can be very significant. At a minimum,
it means that the six or seven digit investment you made in
your manufacturing systems will pay off as expected
or better. At the opposite extreme, it can mean the elimination
of redundancies throughout the organization, a
plan that optimizes the use of your company's processes and
resources as they currently exist, improved flexibility and
customer service. If your system is "on hold" because it
is too complex to work, simplifying can be the way to quickly break
the log jam and provide a large short term payback for the effort
involved. If your company is not ready for a systems
reimplementation or a complete reengineering
effort, simplifying can be a smart move at a much lower cost to move you in the same direction.