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Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Lean Tips Edition #297 (#3481 - #3495)

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 #3481 – Consider General Business Goals When Setting KPIs

The first step when creating a successful KPI system should be to look into your general business goals, as this will help you understand which elements should be included in your system. It is very likely that your goals will involve several areas and departments. Therefore, sitting with various stakeholders and discussing these objectives will help narrow down strategies and pick the right indicators to measure.

Lean Tip #3482 – Implement Tools to Unify Your KPIs

One of the greatest challenges when building one of these systems is getting everything together for analysis. Online dashboard tools make this possible by providing a centralized view of all your most relevant KPIs to make informed decisions considering the full picture.

The value of this KPI system is not only that it unifies all aims into one location, but its visual nature makes it easy to understand at a glance. The likelihood of reaching a target is depicted in a range of colors so that you can easily see the status of the different initiatives.

Lean Tip #3483 – Examine Industry Standards and Benchmarks

Another key means of implementing an effective KPI system is by exploring industry standards and benchmarks. Conducting data-driven research in your niche or industry will help you refine your smart KPI goals to ensure your aims or benchmarks are realistic as well as progressive.

Carrying out competitor research is a good way of understanding what standards or targets other brands within your sector are working towards when it comes to activities related to sales, marketing, fulfillment, inventory management, logistics, and more. 

Online research will also give you a clear indication of industry-wide benchmarks related to various processes. Naturally, you will base your benchmarks on your current performance—but cross-checking everything against industry standards is always good practice.

Lean Tip #3484 – Work With Visualizations That Offer Consistent Value

Another important consideration when working with KPI goals and objectives is to ensure every visualization within your system offers consistent performance-boosting value. 

With a unified view of your KPI target visualizations, you will be able to drill down deeper into each metric to ensure it represents your data in a way that offers a clear-cut objective insight into your processes and progress. If there are any charts or visuals that you find misleading or redundant (offering very little in the way of performance-boosting insight), you can omit them from the system or replace them with something more suitable. 

During this phase of the process, you should ask relevant stakeholders within the business to test each KPI and offer objective feedback on their value. Doing so will ensure that everyone in the business benefits from your newfound visual benchmarking and tracking initiatives. 

Lean Tip #3485 – Ensure Accessibility and Collaboration

Collaboration is key when it comes to dealing with relevant KPI data. Your business goals attain various departments that need to stay connected to build cohesive strategies based on the general company vision. With traditional means of communication, such as static Excel sheets or PowerPoint presentations, the topic of accessibility and collaboration becomes a hardship due to the static nature of these tools.

That said, a well-thought-out system should consider collaboration as a basis. Luckily, various online reporting software has been developed to allow users to easily share their KPIs from any device with an internet connection. The online nature of these tools ensures a collaborative environment thanks to real-time access to data. 

Lean Tip #3486 – Review Any Targets Made as a Team

Once you've set your KPI goals, review those targets with the team. Targets have a higher chance of succeeding if the entire team agrees on them and understands what the expectations are. If a target isn't realistic or attainable, then it won't be helpful when setting expectations for how people work together towards achieving those goals in the future. Listen to any feedback and discuss viable alternatives.

Lean Tip #3487 – Audit Any Progress and Adjust

Review progress and adjust targets as necessary. Set a time limit for each KPI, then review your progress at the end of that period. If you don't meet your target, adjust it to reflect reality and try again. You may find that an interim review is also helpful in this step, especially if there are multiple performance indicators involved. For example, instead of reviewing all goals annually or quarterly, consider checking progress every six months and adjusting accordingly. Make sure the new targets are realistic after adjusting the previous ones. 

Lean Tip #3488 – Establish a Time Frame

Define the time frame for achieving each KPI goal. This means ensuring they're realistic and achievable. Some targets may be quicker to achieve than others, so track each target individually and record any interim deadlines. Doing so allows you to measure and compare your progress against previous successes and keep track of results. Confirming that all parties agree on this time frame helps ensure a smoother process.

Lean Tip #3489 – Establish How Often You Collect Data

Another key consideration is how often you aim to collect your insights. The frequency of data collection is usually appropriate to the KPI and is consistent with the organization’s culture and processes. For example, if a company sets up monthly meetings with all employees to discuss their performance metrics and goals, then it's likely that this schedule will continue for subsequent months as well.

If an organization doesn't have such regular meetings in place and instead relies on its managers or supervisors to set goals for their teams, then collecting metrics on a more ad hoc basis may make more sense, such as every few weeks.

Lean Tip #3490 – Align All KPIs With the Company's Values

It's beneficial to ensure that the KPIs you set align with a company's values. If an organization has a strong culture of innovation, for example, consider creating a KPI related to consistently developing new products or services. Similarly, if the company's goals focus on reducing costs, you'd likely benefit from setting targeted KPIs around reducing expenses but only as long as these goals don't conflict with other key aspects of the business, such as serving customers.

Lean Tip #3491 – Get the Whole Team on Board

To get the greatest advantages out of Lean, the entire organization should adopt and promote its practices, and extend its influence to suppliers as well. You must involve the people who are the closest to the work and you must get support from senior management as well.

Lean Tip #3492 – Take a Lean Tour

Sometimes we learn best by first witnessing the success of others. See the benefits of lean in action. It is not difficult to find organizations that will allow you to see their lean implementations (referred to as the Gemba walk). Take detailed notes of what is highly effective in their Lean implementations, ask questions, and get as much valuable information as you can in order to help you formulate you own Lean strategy for implementation.

Lean Tip #3493 – Discard Conventional Fixed Ideas

Part of problem solving is thinking “outside of the box.” Encourage fresh perspectives and ingenuity in your team in order to develop innovative ways to forward Lean manufacturing without changing what is already efficient and successful. With such a rapidly evolving climate in manufacturing, sometimes conventional thought is what leads to the problem in the first place!

Lean Tip #3494 – Don’t Just Talk About it, Do it!

Once you have a Lean strategy in place, put it into fast and thorough action. Naturally, implementation is what ultimately yields results and improvement. The last think you want is to devise and formulate a Lean campaign that then sits on the shelf and collects dust. Run with your Lean plans as soon as you have everything nailed down.

Lean Tip #3495 – Concentrate on Bad Processes, Not People

By concentrating on the processes and building continuous improvement, you will have the culture change that you are looking for. Also, correct mistakes immediately. Don’t wait for the next shift, the weekend or maintenance to do it.

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