Details for You
Let's look in detail at some of the actions you and your P&IC group
could take for some of the above strategy areas. (They are discussed
as separate actions by strategy areas but in practice are very
interrelated. Properly expended efforts can generate lots of
• Customer Service: know who your customers are, know (or find out)
what their wants and needs are, what products/services we are
providing them now, what products/services could we be providing to
them. This will allow us to find out what improvements we could make
in: what we deliver; when we deliver it; and how we do it. Are any
of the things we are doing now no longer needed?
• Quality: what are the factors that make your output a "quality
product"? Your product should meet your quality standards and then
meet the quality standards of your customers as they define it.
• Environmental items: what items are you (and you company)
receiving and at some later time discarding or disposing of that
could be recycled (or not purchased to begin with); are there
substitutes that have equal or less TOTAL cost and less negative
environmental impact? e.g. printer cartridges are now widely
recycled and at a cost saving in addition to the
• Lead Times: what are the elements in your area that impact product
lead time or responsiveness to customers (external/internal)?, what
can be done to streamline the process flow(s) in your area?
• Teamwork: employees take their cues from how their supervisors
deal with others in the company; what are you doing to be a team
player: within the company, with customers, with suppliers?
• Value Adding: have you reviewed the processes to weed out those
tasks that are not required and that add no value to your output?
• Internal controls: are there proper controls in place and are your
operations audited to insure they are working as needed?
• Flexibility: have you insured through training and education that
you and the people in your group can quickly and efficiently meet
the challenges of changes needed to have a smooth running operation
(e.g., when someone is sick, on vacation or retires; when there is a
major schedule change, large order, or rush order)?
• Responsiveness: This can be supported by being efficient,
flexible, by being a smooth running operation, by being up on
technology, by being knowledgeable about the company. Do we
appreciate responsiveness when we are the customer?
• Technology: Also in the education and training area— are you
staying informed about technology changes
that will impact you and your company so that you can take action
instead of playing catch-up?
• Regulations: Also in the knowledge area—do you have in place a
system to insure that you will be aware of new and changing
rules/regulations/laws at the federal/state/local level so that you
can be in compliance at minimum cost and disruption to your
• Suppliers (internal): by keeping open lines of commu-' nication
with them, you can work together to improve what you get, when and
how you get it, so that both you and the total company operation can
improve and be more competitive.
• Asset utilization: what assets do you have (including people) that
are underutilized? How could they be better utilized?
• Costs/Prices/Profits: what costs do you incur that could be
reduced or spread over a larger production base; what could you do
to add additional value to the product/service that would make the
product/service more valuable to your customer (external) and thus
allow the price to be increased? Answers to either or both of those
questions will improve PROFITS!
• Continuous Improvement: do not do the above just once. Set up an
environment that insures that the reviews are ongoing, that the
striving for improvement is part of the daily/weekly/monthly
routine. The best way to accomplish that is to eliminate all the old
and counterproductive performance measures. Then uniformly
implement/institutionalize new ones that reinforce
actions/behaviors that truly support continuous improvements. These
new performance measures must be used in all job descriptions and
evaluation processes in a uniform way or they will NOT be effective.
Does it appear that wherever you are, you can take action for
improvements? If your answer is yes, do not wait for upper
management. When they do come out with some directive or guidance,
what you have done or have in process should easily support those
Corporate strategies (to the extent that they have been defined and
are available) can be used by a department/ group/individual to
develop specific supporting strategies/ tactics/plans. But even in
the absence of direction from "Upper Management,"
strategies/tactics/plans can be developed and executed to great
advantage to all concerned. You do not have to wait for upper
management to make improvements.
The better the plans and the better the execution, the greater the
value of you and your group to the company and all concerned. The
new century is coming quickly. Plan well now, then execute well so
you can be a contributing part when the new century arrives.
Don't forget the regular plan review/revision/update process.
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