Process Improvement

Process mapping forms the basis of how business gets done on a daily basis as well as how the consumer-facing experience reflects those processes. Indeed, for a process to be a positive experience, it should be well-defined from beginning to end; and it all starts with mapping, refining, and codification.  Define the Sequence. For a task to be done efficiently and consistently, each step needs to be defined in a sequence of events that results in a defined goal. Mapping is the organization of how to arrive at a specific goal. Be it just starting your day on the “right foot,” or getting to the moon, it takes a schema of events that creates a chain of planned actions that reach a goal. There can be any number of schemas to reach the same goal. Mapping is the act of choosing the best path to a goal. The Critical Path.…
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Changing the World One Process Improvement at a Time
Ron Emory is a Continuous Improvement Consultant, Author, and Entrepreneur, and we’re proud to have him on our team of MetaExperts. Ron was recently highlighted on Supply Chain Game Changer as a leader in the supply chain process improvement industry. One of the things that make Ron unique is his background. Ron has traveled the world doing what he loves. “I have flown over four million miles, been on every continent but Antarctica, stayed in a hotel nearly 3500 nights. So, I guess that qualifies me as a “road warrior” but it really has been a fun ride and fun life.” He went from permanent roles as VP of Supply Chain to VP of Operations to consulting to owning and operating his own business. Although he is a leading expert in process improvement, he doesn’t hold a degree in Industrial Engineering like many of his contemporaries. Ron holds a liberal…
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Process Improvement - Construction Heavy Duty Equipment Company
Situation MetaExpert Brunno employed his process improvement acumen to aid a construction heavy duty equipment company with inefficiencies in their paint shop production. The paint shop was experiencing a period of growth and needed to adjust operations to accommodate the increase in daily production with limited time and the existing shop-floor team. High level of diversity for the parts painted, using two colors. Actions Brunno carefully observed the paint shop process and initiated the following actions to increase productivity: Reorganized layout of paint equipment.Studied the best way to paint the parts in the paint booth, looking to match the color, the size, and the time spent to paint any one part. Mapped the flux of parts throughout the shift and streamlined their sequence. Brokedown paint sequence and elaborated on the process sheet.Trained the paint shop operators regarding the new process. Increased shift by 1 hour to reach the production goals without hiring additional…
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excavators construction quality control
Situation A building and construction company brought MetaExpert Alan onboard to help sort out operational and logistical inefficiencies regarding the construction of metal structures. The company was facing a 100% sorting and rework rate of their products after manufacturing. In addition, as a result of the focus on inspection after product completion, rather than during production, deliveries were delayed. Actions To remedy the construction company’s quality control issues and delivery delays, Alan took the following measures: Reviewed with the team all applicable specifications to ensure all employees understood the requirementsDeployed the requirements to Key Process Control Parameters, not just final quality controlDeveloped the processes to be robust according to the requirementsImplemented control plansAudited process parameters and key characteristics, not just final goods Results Through his initial assessment, Alan was able to determine that a lack of communication and too many “experts in the room” was a major contributor to the…
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Doug Sartain
It’s important to keep your drivers happy and your fleet happy as this infographic about the high cost of employing (and losing) a truck driver shows. Here’s how I help fleets perform and maintain loyalty: Make the driver part of the solution, and not part of the problem. I ask drivers for their input on what the company can do better. When they have an idea, I run with it as long as it does not negatively affect a customer, company policy, cost control, safety etc. I always say, “I will let a driver win a battle as long as the company wins the war”. So even if I do not agree with the idea, I will implement it as long as it is not detrimental. If the idea works, I let everyone know which driver thought of it. You can never take credit for an idea that is not…
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Hands of a formally dressed man chained together
The biggest challenge I encounter in achieving supply chain excellence is that many organizations believe they are powerless when it comes to working with their suppliers.  The typical beliefs I encounter are: “we aren’t big enough to have any leverage”, “we can’t control what our suppliers do”, and “implementing a Lean supply chain will increase our costs”.  Interestingly, most organizations feel the same way toward managing their customers as well.  It is this victim mentality that prevents many companies from achieving operational excellence. The root cause of these limiting beliefs usually comes down to two critical factors: 1) not fully understanding what a Lean supply chain actually is, and 2) not understanding how to “sell it”, in other words, how to demonstrate how it will help the supplier to be more competitive and then use that as part of the negotiating process. To overcome these limiting beliefs, I focus on…
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businessman writing Supply Chain and drawing some sketches
My perspective is that obstacles to supply chain operational excellence occur in business when there is a lack of alignment between people’s measure of success.  In most organizations communication is a fundamental area that almost always requires work and improvement. In those undergoing significant change this comes to light and is amplified, creating confusion and other feelings that often get in the way of the improvement process.  Ensuring that the entire value stream is aligned and that ownership is established with a minimum of silos is critical to success in achieving operational excellence, not just improvements. I like to refer to what we most often experience in this regard as “islands of success in a sea of waste”.  Unless there is alignment which is often associated with Hoshin Kanri or Strategy Deployment, there will be a lot of good work that can go to waste because of the communication and…
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7 Stages of Becoming a Disruptor
The word disruption is so overused in business it threatens to become jargon which is never a positive fate for a term as important as this one. The people overusing the word and jargonizing it are usually using it wrong. If you understand what it means precisely, takes the following six points seriously to heart and do what you do best — much more aggressively — you can transform your organization into a disruptor. The Actual Definition of Disruption Disruption: something that changes the game entirely. In business, it’s a product or service that has a staggering effect on events, activities, processes, and people in a marketplace. It’s what happened to the world when regular people could buy cars, radios, televisions, VHS players, cell phones — commodities that changed the way we live our lives, and that we had never had before. It’s what happened when we could go online…
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Supply chain workers
Achieving supply chain operational excellence is not an easy target, you need to combine a variety of different factors together; attitudes and competencies, robust processes, and the right technology are just the minimum requirements. The most difficult obstacles I come across are related to the partial achievement of these three aspects, the most common relating to people, their attitudes, and competencies. How to improve the competency of your staff? Measure their progress and motivate their behavior toward excellent performance. Many programs and tools exist: skill matrix, gap analysis, focused training programs for competence upgrade, and so on. The measurement of a higher set of competencies must then be correlated to the superior process performance in terms of output and throughput. A systemic approach helps to reach excellence, a set of proven tools and methods – with the right commitment of top management and superior consultancy performance – are the key…
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Bored and tired businesspeople
The Wharton School maintains there are three reasons to hold a meeting. Period. To: “Create a forum—an opportunity for individuals with different values, ideas, and experiences to share their perspectives.” Make decisions and set “direction for the organization or unit.” Build and/or make a team stronger through “developing collective capabilities.” Period. They further maintain (as do we), that meetings should never be held: For information exchange, or Soapboxing (telling rather than exchanging). Period. If you are holding meetings for the two purposes directly above. Stop it immediately. If you are holding meetings for any reasons other than the top three listed, you are: Wasting precious productive time, Wasting precious financial resources (check out this meeting cost calculator), Encouraging unproductive behavior, Forcing everyone to multitask (especially during the meetings), and Diminishing employee respect and loyalty. Inc.com published these alarming (U.S. only) statistics: There are 25 million meetings held each day, That’s…
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