Floor Tape Store

Monday, November 22, 2021

Lean Tips Edition #180 (Tips #2911 - 2925)

For my Facebook fans you already know about this great feature. But for those of you that are not connected to A Lean Journey on Facebook or Twitter I post daily a feature I call Lean Tips.  It is meant to be advice, things I learned from experience, and some knowledge tidbits about Lean to help you along your journey.  Another great reason to like A Lean Journey on Facebook.

Here is the next addition of tips from the Facebook page:

Lean Tip #2911 – Don’t Rely on ‘Hunches’ on Your Next Cost Savings Activity

You might think you know what the problem is with your product. You might have a very clear idea about the cost burdens you should address to change its fortunes in the marketplace. But do you have the evidence to back it up? Be determined and systematic in your evidence gathering. Don’t take anything for granted or you may miss your most dramatic and unnecessary cost centers.

Lean Tip #2912 – Cost Savings Is Not a Job For Just One Person or Department

The whole business needs to understand that this is not a job for a single person or even a single team. It may be several years since the way your product is delivered was last analyzed and explored (if at all). There may be subtle ways in which your product is failing to deliver against expectation, or cutting edge opportunities to introduce more efficient materials and processes that require cross-discipline expertise to uncover. Just giving one team the task to deliver on VE objectives is a mistake.

Value Engineering is a powerful tool because it’s an objective, cross-disciplinary tool. It uses the insight around every part of the product cycle from material procurement, product build, and logistics - to make suggestions for intelligent cost reductions and substitutions that will improve value for your customers’ long term. You need to conduct proper VA/VE with an expert internal team to facilitate this.

Lean Tip #2913 – It is Important to Generate Lots of Ideas

The more ideas generated— the better. When it comes to VA/VE, I would much rather have the burden of ranking a ton of ideas as opposed to having too few. Think about it. The process of sharing ideas, good or otherwise, inspires even more ideas. Sowing lots of idea seeds gives you greater potential to harvest great solutions. Increase your odds of success with as many ideas as possible!

Encouraging an abundance of ideas requires coaching in divergent thinking and establishing an open, comfortable environment. Paradigms must be deconstructed, and pet designs neutralized. A climate that encourages productive-free expression and probing questions and eliminates judgement or disapproval should be cultivated. For this part of VA/VE, assemble a group representing nearly every functional area in the business and prepare them with the objective and rules of engagement well before any meeting takes place. If possible, consider priming them with materials to educate them in idea generation and be sure to provide for their comfortable and undistracted participation in the idea-generation meeting.

Lean Tip #2914 – VAVE Is Not About Slash And Burn

Some businesses say they’re implementing Value Engineering but are simply on a slash and burn cost-cutting exercise. In searching for savings they pounce on every opportunity to cut spending, beat up suppliers on cost and substitute materials for cheaper alternatives regardless of the impact on quality. That strategy won’t work long term because it’s not interested in preserving the value of the product for the customer. It is more likely to damage ongoing sales and, ultimately, your reputation as a supplier.

Lean Tip #2915 – Liberate Your Thinking Through Creativity

The purpose of VE is to be imaginative. But the reality is it’s quite difficult to be creative on demand. Don’t forget, that when the technology is complex it can be difficult for non-specialists to understand and contribute to the conversation around potential alternative solutions.

The techniques that Value Engineering uses for creativity - such as Functional Analysis - helps a mixed team look past the technical complexity to quickly grasp the primary function of a product. In other words, what a particular component actually does for a customer. You don’t need to understand exactly how the element achieves this to grasp its function and the value it brings the customer. But equipped with that basic knowledge, a whole team of different disciplines can begin to suggest new ways the function might be fulfilled at a lower cost, in ways possibly never imagined before.

Lean Tip #2916 – Gather Ideas from the People Doing the Work 

In a Lean and continuous improvement organization employees are your greatest asset and should also be the source of generating new ideas for improvement. No one knows the work better than the person who performs it everyday. No one has more “skin in the game” about the working process than that person. As a result, the best person to suggest ideas for improvement and to implement them is the line worker.

Lean Tip #2917 – Prioritize Ideas That Are Inexpensive

By going after the ideas that do not require a large amount of investment, you can remove the financial barriers of your continuous improvement efforts. This process can empower the line worker to suggest and implement ideas that can improve their working process because they know that their changes do not need upper management approval. Some ideas such as reducing waste, eliminating unnecessary steps, and re-organizing in the work processes fall into this category.

Lean Tip #2918 - Focus on Gradual Small Changes Instead of Major Shifts

Focus on small gradual changes rather than large changes. Small changes can be made quickly, on a daily-basis, and are typically inexpensive. By focusing on small changes, you can remove barriers from just starting a continuous improvement process. This focus will allow your team to reap the benefits of their “small wins” right away. As more and more small changes are applied, your team will see an accumulation of benefits from them. This will give them more confidence to suggest more ideas.

Lean Tip #2919 – Apply PDCA for Regular Feedback

An effective continuous improvement program needs continuous measurement and feedback. Before you can start, you need to understand the baselines of your organization’s performance. Only by understanding and establishing a baseline can you evaluate new ideas for improving upon it. One effective way of gathering feedback on your continuous improvement efforts is to apply the Plan-Do-Check-Check (PDCA) cycle. The PDCA cycle allows you to scientifically test your experiments. The cycle ensures continuous improvement by measuring the performance difference between the baseline and target condition. This gives immediate feedback on the effectiveness of the change. If the idea was effective, the next cycle of improvement will start with the new baseline and your goal is to move towards a new target condition.

Lean Tip #2920 – Foster An Environment of Trust, Collaboration, Open Communication, and A Willingness to Experiment

Applying continuous improvement requires participation from everyone in the organization. Upper management needs to invest time and money in employee training and empowerment. Managers need to foster an environment of trust, collaboration, open communication, and a willingness to experiment. And finally, workers need to be engaged in their work and be challenged to come up with small gradual improvements each and every day. By applying these principles, your company will be able to start and sustain your continuous improvement efforts. This will lead to a more economically competitive organization, more efficient work processes, and more satisfied employees.

Lean Tip #2921 - Ensure a Penalty-Free Exchange of Ideas.

In many organizations, expressing one's opinion on how to do things better may not necessarily be a welcomed activity. Management can feel threatened or pressured to act resulting in immediate resistances. And, those expressing ideas may be viewed as complainers or trouble makers. In such an environment, it doesn't take long for the potential risks of making a suggestion to stifle enthusiasm and participation in improvement oriented thinking. Ensuring a penalty-free exchange of ideas is beneficial to both the giver and the receiver of new ideas and approaches and will ensure a safe two way exchange of thoughts and ideas.

Lean Tip #2922 - Encourage Frontline Teams to Identify Improvement Opportunities

From sales to customer service, there are many frontline employees in your workforce who deal with customers on a regular basis. The conversations they have with your target audience can help them identify potential pain points or opportunities for improvement.

Encourage these teams to share this information with you so they feel like their involvement in continuous improvement is making a difference.

Lean Tip #2923 - Integrate Shared Accountability.

As a team, identify the focus of the work and the opportunities for improvement. Share the responsibilities and the work among team members. It might be surprising that the more responsibility a team member is given, the more motivated they may become.

Lean Tip #2924 - Enforce Improvements

It’s easy for employees to regress to their old ways. Enforcing the changes you’ve made to your processes is important for the improvements you’ve made to last, and it’s key to sustaining continuous improvement in the long term.

Documenting improvements, making sure standard work is up-to-date, and training employees on new procedures can help sustain the progress you’ve made in your continuous improvement efforts.

Lean Tip #2925 - Standardize Work for Sustainment

In order for improvements to last, they must be standardized and repeatable. Standardizing work is crucial to kaizen because it creates a baseline for improvement. When you make improvements to a process, it’s essential to document the new standard work in order to sustain the improvements and create a new baseline. Standard work also reduces variability in processes and promotes discipline, which is essential for continuous improvement efforts to take root.

Subscribe to my feed Subscribe via Email LinkedIn Group Facebook Page @TimALeanJourney YouTube Channel

No comments:

Post a Comment