Skip to main content

A Small Continuous Improvement Consideration That Can Lead to Big Results

Are you like me and want all of your continuous improvement projects to be delivered at once?

The fact is that there isn't enough time in the day (let alone if you have a day job to contend with too!) or enough resource to call up to engage with all of your improvement projects at once.

I am a big fan of effective prioritisation of improvement opportunities and so I thought I'd share with you part of a conversation I recently had with one of my client's member of staff.

In front of us was a number of projects. Each one looked like it would give the business a real boost in terms of tangible results. But, when you listed them out there was a clear priority based on the dependencies.

In this list was one of my hot topics for this business, kitting of orders. I spotted this and naturally became excited; its benefits will be huge for the business.

Then I looked at the other options; cell design, stock control, 5S etc...

The reality is that I could either have my preference now, but not see optimal / maximised results.

Or, I could wait for a few pre-cursor projects to take place and witness the full scale of the results that I wanted to witness.





Being clear about the relationship between the opportunities and their impact was essential in this case to plot out a clear path through the myriad of projects that were available to us.

Two questions for you:

Do you have an effective approach to evaluating your continuous improvement opportunities?

Do you need to consider the relationships and inter-dependencies of your projects to ensure that you get the best return for your efforts?

Mull over these questions and see if you can improve upon your existing approach and get 'more bang for your buck' with your improvements.


All the best,

Giles



About the author Giles Johnston is a Chartered Engineer who specialises in helping businesses to grow and improve through better business processes. Giles is also the author of Business Process Re-Engineering and creator of the 'Making It Happen' continuous improvement toolkit.



Discover effective strategies to get more from your continuous improvement programme:




Popular posts from this blog

Where there is a (performance) gap there is a concern

I had a really good day yesterday working with a client's team.

The team has issues. Plenty of issues. Some are managerial issues, some are people issues and some are production issues.

When I first met the team they didn't know what to do with their issues, so I started by helping them to see more issues.

Issues everywhere, they didn't seem very impressed.

And then we captured the issues as 'concerns' into the tried and tested 'concern cause countermeasure' format and followed the process:

Concerns probed for root causes and root causes converted into countermeasures.
Soon they realised that some of their root causes dealt with numerous concerns and they gained momentum.

Yesterday we pulled another one of their processes apart and identified all of the gaps. The gaps became concerns and we fed them back into the process. Now they have a practical action plan (of countermeasures) to upgrade the process in question.

What do you do with your performance gaps? …

Continuous Improvement and the Five Legged Race

Many improvement projects need the buy in of several people before they can progress. Amongst these people there will be some that have a firm view of what needs to happen and are keen to make progress. Some of the people won't be sure and they will need more time. Other people might not be that interested and have other priorities they want to focus on.

None of this is wrong.

It is an observation of mine and one that I see repeat on a regular basis with the businesses that I come into contact with.

But, if we take the principle from the observation we have an interesting improvement strategy (one that I personally use when I get stuck with my client's improvement projects).

You might have worked out the approach from the title of this blog post, but it is analogous to a three-legged race (or four, five, nine...). If someone in the group moves in the wrong direction and / or at the wrong speed then the whole group falls over.


In the example I gave at the start it is no differe…

Do you have time to prepare (in order to become super productive)?

I had a funny conversation a few weeks ago with a team that was complaining about one of their colleagues spending 'ages' preparing their workstation within their factory. I meet a lot of people that spend too long preparing (and effectively procrastinating) so I was intrigued by their comment. It turns out that this individual didn't spend too long but rather his colleagues dived into their work without thinking through what the best way to work was...

The slower to start gentleman did in fact prepare his work area. He was also able to produce a far greater amount of work in the same time period because he had invested in a smarter way of working than his counterparts. The time spent preparing his working area was valuable and not overdone.

This example reminds us of the importance of the second S in 5S (set in order) and how workstation design is critical if we want to maximise the productivity of our teams. Whether this is a physical work area in a factory, the filing s…