Reinventing Manufacturing 



21. Decentralize unless there are compelling reasons to do otherwise

Delegate downward and move resources to forward posi­tions where they might be used to more rapidly and flexibly serve the customer. Move back and consolidate where there are compelling reasons to do so because of economies of scale, critical resources. Make sure this doesn't compro­mise service, quality, or flexibility.

22. Streamline, simplify, automate, integrate, in that order

Don't spend big bucks on automation until you know what it is you'll be automating, and there is a simplified ap­proach for running the business. Often, simplification of the existing system can pay for some or all of the subse­quent automation. Scope out the entire effort before auto­mating anything. Automation and integration should be a logical culmination of a well thought-out plan.

23. Employ the conference room pilot approach

In spite of everyone's best efforts, processes may still be complex. Therefore, it is extremely important to have tools for testing, refining, and training to ensure best results, with minimum risk. The conference room pilot approach is such a tool, and works by running off-line tests of the system, manually, and with proposed operating computer/ software systems, prior to live implementation. Mis­takes are made, and education/training occur, in the con­ference room, not in the heat of battle in the office or on the office or on the factory floor. Project leadership uses mission statements, objectives, and issues lists to design test scenarios, and then leads the group through these for training, debugging and problem solving purposes.


24. Selectively implement policies, procedures, checkpoints, controls, accountability, metrics

Don't generate any more rules and paperwork than are needed. Well educated people with clear missions need less of this. Where it's not enough, well written and simple policies will often provide adequate guidance. Where that's not sufficient, one may need to add specific procedures. Install checkpoints, logs, controls only when they are really needed to gain control of a tricky situation.

Have clear lines of accountability. Accountability can only result when there is authority, responsibility, and ad­equate tools to get the job done.

Utilize a small number of simple metrics, linked to mission, goals, and objectives. Communicate the results, and take corrective actions, if warranted.

25. Use "discontinuous thinking" techniques

Some people would have you believe that inductive, ratio­nal thinking is the best way to reengineer a process. It ain't necessarily so. Alfred Nobel invented dynamite, which funded the Nobel Prize, mostly by accident. Federal Express was based on an idea to transfer Federal bank funds overnight. Brainstorming sessions may take half-baked or unrelated ideas and transform them into power­ful, creative change concepts.

Use customers, consultants, outsiders, games, your spouse, whatever will help generate ideas that break the confines of the existing approach.

26. Insiders lead, outsiders augment

Use outsiders, such as consultants and educators to teach your people, provide temporary reinforcement, and skills needed only sporadically. Build the core of leadership and ownership internally when permanent resources are re­quired. Think of outsiders as "jumper cables."

27. Small teams, but with a "guiding hand"

The ideal team size seems to be 3-8. More is unwieldy- a "committee," less is harder to attain critical mass. If you need others to help gain consensus, provide technical advice, etc., bring them in on an as needed basis, as consultants. For example, if you're reengineering the purchase requisitioning process, don't have all 117 people who write, process, and approve these on the design team. Assemble a small team of the best and brightest. Have them consult some of the others, and ultimately either review or provide write-ups of the proposed changes to the others for advice and consent.

Don't assume that the teams will be self-managing, espe­cially if they don't have a track record of doing so. At a minimum, even very good teams benefit from help with key

parameters, such as mission, objectives, metrics. Less competent teams may need help with their own process of accomplishing things, as well as technical subject matter assistance. Seeding teams with well-trained team players is helpful.

To be Continued


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