Even every layman can knowledgeably state at the appropriate time, that every house commands a solid base. The foundation of the house is relatively easy to picture, even though you haven’t been involved in the building process. One needs stable ground, suitable groundwork, a good plan, materials and a professional builder. As the result you’ll have a foundation on which you can build the house of your dreams.
This example of construction is often used as a figure of speech for different types of development. Every process requires a good foundation, so that it can be taken to another level. But what creates a good foundation for the process? Recognizing it, isn’t always as easy as in the example of construction. At least fundamental issues of the process development appear to be forgotten occasionally, when we try to rush it with new systems and new technologies.
The ground of Lean process – get your standards on track
From my own point of view the Lean-philosophy takes a stand on the developing plinth fairly well. Lean talks about the standardisation of the process, meaning developing the fundamental things, on which all other further advancements rely on.
The standardisation of the process holds elements which most companies have implemented, at least on some level. The process has been mapped, the interface has been identified, the work description has been created, the operational environment has been standardised, the capacity will be measured and the goal has been set. According to my valuation these mentioned elements can be found in the field of logistics, in many cases, but none of them have been taken to the intended level of the standard of Lean.
Are the processes and their descriptions not ample enough?
The process has been mapped, but if one looks close enough, you can tell, that the process differs regularly. It might be that the process has been mapped on an excessive level, where it doesnt truly editorialise the workflow. Respectively work guidelines are found in every company, but does it imply that every step is done in one particular way. Generally speaking, no. Typically work instructions focus on central actions related to quality and work safety. This is how it should be done, this is how is should´nt be done or this what you will end up with. These are good things, but they don’t fulfill the elements of standard work yet. There is no specific way to complete a workstage rather a rough framework.
What do these gaps in the process and the method of work result in? Every employee has a personal work method, which cause dispersion in the process. Efficiency, turn around time and quality elements change without any conclusions being made about the capacity of the process. Conclusions can’t be made, because the reasons are found in the employees specific random variables.
Perception and analysation – It pays off
When the process is standardized carefully and the knowledge of existing method of work has been reached by each and every employee, we can move on to analyzing the process more carefully. By the end of the analysation, observations spring up, and on the basis of the mentioned, you can truly start to develop the process. On the basis of these reliable observations one can genuinely appraise in which direction the standard needs to be modified. The alterations can also be tested so the impact of the modification can be evaluated dependently.
In this phase of process-analysis you can, for instance, utilize work examination or the Lean Six Sigma, by the aid of which you can seek the weaknesses and subjects for improvement in the process. But now when the foundation has been cast, we will ponder on the layers of progress for our next blog.
A pleasant start to the fall amidst the process, til´ next time!
I am in charge of Transval groups development operations and I’m spreading the word of development and Lean Six Sigma to our clients. I believe in the power of process and standardisation – and in that management based on knowledge is vital for every company. Daily strength I get from golf and jogging – and of course from my family, which is paced by my 5 and 7-year old daughters.