By defining a handful of essential routines for your business you have taken a step forward. The real challenge is in executing these routines day in and day out. A great way to keep an eye on things and get your team involved with developing these new habits is a ‘sunrise meeting’.
Simply, a sunrise meeting is a start of the working day meeting where the key elements of your routine are reviewed. Ideally the routines can be boiled down to a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer to prevent people from dodging the question. For example, if your team were responsible for the shop floor information packs (drawings, works orders etc…) then an effective question could be ’did all of the packs get issued yesterday?’
Sunrise meetings should be short and punchy. If they start to break down into discussions about specific issues in the factory then the focus is lost. The idea is that your team are keeping an eye on the overall process happening day in and day out. Specific issues could point to a part of the process breaking down. This is a great opportunity to undertake some root cause problem solving and improve your process. For the time being however let’s focus on managing our existing process more effectively.
One of my clients used this to great effect. By getting all of their key operational staff aligned to the purpose of their part of the process they achieved a rapid turnaround in results. Turnover increased by £200k per month (from £350k to £550k), overtime reduced, lead times reduced and profit increased. Having a few focussed staff members had a big impact on the shop floor, better schedules with less interference to name but one. This is a simple idea, but one that can be really powerful when done properly.
- Convert your key process points into ‘yes / no’ questions.
- Design a short meeting agenda using the above questions.
- Run the meeting near to the start of the working day to set your team on the right path each day.
- Take action on the ‘no’ answers you receive.
- Keep your team focused on achieving good days. These lead to good weeks, months and years.
Author of 'Effective Continuous Improvement'