That is how we work, isn't it?
Posted on 14th July 2020 at 11:59
I previously wrote an article on my website and LinkedIn entitled ‘Be surprised at what you do‘. This article details what you or your business does in terms of daily processes that are completed without thinking.
Another area that has come up when speaking with many businesses is that a number of assumptions are made about how things are run within their company.
Take this example: a manufacturing company has a production line to produce widgets. The production line produces 1000 widgets a minute and is run for 16 hours over two shifts. There’s a manual (or Standard Operating Procedure) for the line which was created when it went into the factory 10 years ago. It has been producing these widgets ever since like this. However, this machine has been having performance problems and breaking down regularly, so a project is created to replace the production line with new technology.
The project is underway, and with new suppliers engaged, a solution is found and implemented. Training is needed, and the staff who have been running the line for several years get involved. The training gets underway and the operators come out with the dreaded phrase ‘That’s not how it works, we do it like this!’
Why does this occur? Asking yourself this question proves you’re out of the loop. Simply put, over time there have been a number of ‘quirks’ that occur when running the line, and the staff has normally found a way around them to make sure the line keeps going. These quirks haven’t been reflected in a change to the SOP and only occur on an ‘as needed’ basis.
Constant reviews are necessary to prevent a case like this. If you are not directly involved in a day to day process, a number of assumptions on how it all works are made. These assumptions can derail a project and have a major impact on the TQM (Time, Cost, Quality) of the delivery.
It’s time to review how you operate. When assumptions are made, your organisation may be operating in a way you do not like, or even recognise, and it’s important to keep on top of this.
To test the assumptions in this scenario, ask the people who are involved in the day to day running. For example, get input from operations staff (in the case of a manufacturer) in the design stages, so assumptions are kept to a minimum within projects. Indeed, working with technology could automate processes in certain areas, to ensure assumptions are not needed at all, and only direct input from an authority figure can change how the line works.
Reviewing how a process works, with the people who work on it on a day to day basis, ensures you’re up to date. You can align it with your strategy, or if you’re implementing a new strategy, this is where the crux of your business change reforms should be centred. If the way you operate doesn’t work for your company’s future, these processes need to be revisited.
Processes need to be reviewed regularly to ensure they are efficient and are aligned to the business strategy.
If you believe that your processes need to be reviewed and you want some unbiased advice then contact Green Giant Consulting today on 0115 888 3220 or visit www.greengiantconsulting.co.uk to book your free initial 2-hour consultation to talk through your challenges.
Tagged as: Business Improvement, Business Process, Continuous Improvement, Process Improvement, Process Review
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