Perhaps one of the most overlooked aspects of
implementing a significant TBM, Quality, Reengineering, or other
improvement effort is the fact that the process is fundamentally
one of organizational change. Regardless of the specific
technique being employed (kanbans, work cells, or pareto charts)
the greatest challenges and obstacles to successful implementation
are usually organizational, or people related.
This is not to imply that people are the main cause of
implementation problems or that individuals find it difficult to
understand the specific tactics of time-based operations—on the
contrary, TBM is largely based on common sense, generally simple
tactics that most people can readily learn and understand.
Instead, it suggests that the real obstacles to the achievement of
significant improvement are often rooted in how people are
involved (or not involved!) in the implementation process.
Sharing of information, spending time with
people to make them feel comfortable with the changes, explaining
people's future roles, dealing with historical perceptions of
management's commitment to change, and many other people and
culture related actions are critical prerequisites to starting a
significant improvement process and for achieving real and
Although the approach of do-as-you
're-told-and-don 't-question-orders may be appropriate for the
battlefield, it is clearly not the best way of gaining the support
and employee involvement that is required to achieve successful
What Is Time-based Management?
Before moving through the case study, it is
worthwhile to define TBM briefly. Essentially, TBM can be thought
• An operating strategy that directly links
the ability of an organization to quickly deliver customer value
to the gaining of greater competitive advantage; and
• The continuous reengineering and
refinement of business processes to minimize elapsed time and
minimize non-value adding activity.
As well, there are several key battle tactics
that are typically associated with TBM implementation efforts.
These improvement tactics include the following:
• Process reengineering and the elimination
of non-value adding activity. TBM efforts require a strong
focus on the process—such as order fulfilment, product
development, and others—in terms of mapping out current
worksteps, analyzing for value and non-value adding activities
and opportunities for lead time reduction, and designing new and
more streamlined process workflows.
• High degree of employee involvement in the improvement
process. Employee teams are today widely recognized for their
effectiveness in developing and implementing improvements.
Although strong management leadership and facilitation support is
required for their success, employee teams and overall employee
involvement is a critical element of TBM and the obtainment of
lasting and significant benefit.
• A strong focus on processes, not functions or
Fast response and short lead times require that
functional boundaries (those walls that exist between
departments!) be eliminated and that the performance of the
process always takes priority over the performance of the
individual department or function.
• Measuring what you want to improve. Measuring what
needs to be improved helps to keep everyone strongly focused on
the job at hand, and provides feedback as to how much benefit has
been gained to date, and how much more needs to be done to reach
the specific improvement targets that have been set.
To be Continued
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