To different people, the term “improvement” in an operation has various meanings. Some see it as a cut in operational costs or inventories, while others view it as enhanced efficiency or quality. In the corporate world, one of these goals is generally established, employees work to achieve it, and then management establishes a new objective as progress in the firm continues.
At the conclusion of this cycle, we should have a year-by-year climb up the stairwell of constant improvement. Rather than undertaking an endless journey with no end in sight, a more modern approach is to improve the operation’s performance and then ensure that it satisfies design standards.
We must first start by defining a destination so that we know where we’re heading. Our objective is to attain operational excellence.
To reach our objective of operational excellence, we’ll use the same principles that an engineer uses to construct a plane, a bridge, or a vehicle engine. The following eight principles will be applied: The method for achieving the objective, that is, how the company would reach it in reality, must be built on a process so that each employee is aware of the stages along the road and where they are.
1. Create slim value streams
From the moment we receive a client order or request for service to the time we deliver it, we must create an end-to-end kaizen value stream flow on paper. On our future state map, only one link in the value chain is illustrated. The data will flow with the product since it will travel via the connections established from that one place, so all other processes will understand what to do next. The goal is for all processes to be linked together, and materials and information only moving when they are required by the next stage.
2. Make sure that lean value streams are flowing
Then we go from idea to implementation, first by establishing a self-healing value stream that results in operational excellence. The first stage in moving from paper to performance is formal training, which covers a review of the current-state value stream map, the eight flow principles, application of these standards to the goal value stream, and ultimately the implementation plan. All employees are taught about the goal of operational excellence as well as the shared objective of company development.
3. Make the flow apparent
The next stage is to make the flow visible so that everyone can see how the procedures are connected and to the consumer after we’ve constructed the framework for flow using paper. In Operational Excellence, almost every visual signal in an operation should be linked to the process or product’s journey to the customer.
4. Creating standard work for flow
Our next step is to apply the notion of standard work to that flow after we’ve created a good visual lean flow that explains how the process should operate. While standard work is frequently used in processes, we’ll utilize this idea to develop standardized work across processes, with a focus on the connections that have been established between them. We maintain the entire end-to-end flow by applying for standard work at both the procedures and across the processes, lowering variation, and establishing normalcy for the whole flow.
5 . Highlighting the aberrant flow
To highlight aberrant flow, we’ll look at how to use the red channel to show what’s going on. When an employee is able to recognize unusual flow, it means they have the necessary skills and knowledge. The objective is for every employee to be able to detect irregular flow when it occurs. We’ll be able to figure out how to repair it and, more importantly, how to prevent it from happening again in the future without management.
6. Create a standard work procedure for abnormal flow
Even if workers are taught how to modify the flow in order to keep it going, eventually the flow will collapse. The goal is for a strategy to be prepared that an operator would follow before calling a supervisor to re-establish the flow. We determine when management needs to intervene and then establish standard activities for when odd flow occurs in order to measure the amount of time it takes.
We collect the most typical answers from management and create a list of options so that people in the flow may carry out these procedures without having to ask permission.
7. Allowing workers to engage in the process enhances the flow
We want to keep and enhance a high level of performance once we’ve handed over product delivery – the part that adds value to the customer – to personnel who work in the flow. This isn’t a never-ending quest to eliminate waste; it’s about the company’s operations side achieving a level of performance that affects business growth, then sustaining and improving that performance in order to enable even more growth. To do this, misuse of these technologies by ensuring they avoid aberrant flow is necessary.
8. Perform offense tasks
When it comes to operational excellence, it’s all about company growth. It enables managers to use their time away from the day-to-day activities of the business to grow the firm. This is done by minimizing, if not eliminating, operations management activities while delivering the product to the client. As part of the process that will change us from a parts supplier to a solution provider, operations management may now be utilized in selling, engineering, and innovation upfront.
We’ve highlighted a few of the most common challenges for operational excellence, and what you can do to overcome them. Of course, your company might have its own unique obstacles or goals that we didn’t mention here—but this is a good start! From reducing wait times to increasing customer satisfaction with service delivery, there are plenty of ways neuroscience has been applied in business settings.
We hope these ideas inspire you as much as they did for us when we first thought about how our knowledge could be used in new ways outside academia. Let us know if you want more information on any specific part of this article (or anything else), and we will get back to you ASAP!