Unclear vision and lack
of understanding of project scope, steps to success and benefits
the difficulties in the project revolve around some very fundamental
issues. An unclear vision by the senior management team of where the
company is, where it can be, and the steps to take it to that level
of performance is very detrimental to project progress. As discussed
before, a technology or downsizing-driven project is doomed to small
returns. Rationalization and ego cause difficulty in
self-examination. But probably the worst fault and where the most
opportunity is never realized, is taking a strategy and applying
only the elements we want to do.
Class Manufacturing and its elements, MRP II, JIT and TQM, are
integrated, interwoven strategies whose elements combine to produce
results greater than the individual elements. You cannot expect to
address 50% of the individual elements of this strategy and get 50%
of the results. For example, if you do not have data integrity, you
will not have an accurate schedule and MRP II will fail. If you do
not embrace total employee involvement, problem solving, and
continuous education, quality at the source will be in trouble.
cannot pick and choose what they like out of a menu—what is easy,
non-threatening, or involves minimal time—and expect the big
payback. To be successful requires a significant effort on the
part of all people with senior management end responsibility for
lack of understanding of the benefits of the project and a
formalized return on investment greatly affects project results. A
formalized return on investment is a powerful tool in getting the
resources and priority justified based upon the large results that
can be achieved.
Having a lack of a
formalized cost justification and commitment of time and resources
projects degenerate to a project-of-the-month or non-events. The
people and project teams spin their wheels and don't make
significant progress. Priority, resources, etc., are all earned by
management's believing that the return on investment
is higher than other priorities. If you do not have continual
senior management visibility your world class manufacturing projects
lose their management leadership. There needs to be recognition
and visibility that the company will lose x amount of dollars
per month by not achieving world class performance. In this
environment you get the resources and commitment to get the job done
right on time.
cost justifications are not equal. If that were true all we would
need to do is hire an expert and have them evaluate our company's
performance and assign a value to the changes associated with the
an expert to do a return on investment and a assessment process for
your company is like hiring someone to exercise for you while you
drink a six pack - it may feel good now but wait until the morning!
The commitment and priority is never developed by senior management
through an analysis of the business and the opportunities available.
process of developing a common understanding and commitment by
working together as a senior management team to evaluate the value
of the project to the company and developing a senior management
action plan is very powerful. It builds teamwork and ownership of
the project by senior management. The process earns the right to
leadership and resources and also builds an understanding of the
scope of the effort. A worldclass manufacturing project cannot be
a one person or a ten person effort. In most cases, planning and
direction account for 50% of the benefits. This is the
responsibility of senior management. Consequently, they need to
be directly involved. The best projects build an understanding
company-wide and converts that understanding into activity. All
members of an organization work together as a team to continually
improve and challenge the status quo to produce results.
how do I get this process of senior management's understanding the
return on investment to occur? The best way is to use an applied
strategic level education process combined with performance
benchmarks. Applied strategic education is best done by a
professional-led education experience in a public or in-house venue.
This type of course covers world class manufacturing concepts and
their application. It also discusses the steps to be successful.
The applied segment of the education requires that management teams
"work" the understanding and develop a return on
investment and action plans.
Not knowing a better
way to run the business
never fails to mystify me in visiting 50+ companies a year, the
basic lack of understanding of fundamental issues in running a
manufacturing business. In addition, many businesses use the
"uniqueness" theory: We do something different; thereby,
proven solutions used in many different industries will not work.
There is always some small reason why common sense will not work in
happens in these environments is that the fundamental
understanding that people's performance is dependent only upon the
way we run the business, is lost.
management processes and culture— become the focus and are the
reason for performance.
Having the best people
in the world, a business will achieve greatness only if they have
the environment in which to succeed. Based on their experiences and
knowledge, people make logical decisions to meet the company
objectives. If they lack knowledge and direction, or if their
experiences show that politics are critical to success, for
self-preservation they will protect their performance and not take
risks. This is a recipe for failure in a project dependent on
To be Continued
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Knowledge you’ll not find at offsite
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Lean Manufacturing - Balanced Scorecard
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