Business & operational excellence
'Lean' is not an end in itself. 'Lean' is the name of the business strategy for the optimal organization and continuous improvement of all activities within an organization. It strives for high quality, low costs, reliable and short delivery times, with a minimum of resources. Lean therefore applies to both production (Lean Manufacturing), administration (Lean Office), and the end-to-end supply chain (Lean Supply Chain, Lean Warehouse).
The 5 core principles of Lean are:
- Define 'value' from the customer perspective: What is value for the customer? What does the customer wants to pay for?
- Identify all necessary steps to design, order & produce the product across the entire 'value stream (via 'Value Stream Mapping' or VSM)
- Implement 'Flow': produce the right volume according to the customer demand, with the right quality within the agreed delivery time by eliminating non-value adding activities.
- Only do what is requested by the customer, work according to the Pull principle.
- Strive for perfection by continuously eliminating losses. Do not work harder, but smarter!
The Lean system consists of a large number of smart technologies. The key is to use them in a targeted way, so cherry-picking is not enough. See below a selection of the 'Lean building blocks' that we use in Stanwick in production, office, warehouse, supply chain, ...:
- Systematic planning: One-piece flow - FIFO - Supermarket - Kanban - One Point Scheduling - Planning wheel - Line balancing – Load levelling (Heijunka) – Mixed Modelling – Value Stream Mapping
- Systematic working: Single Minute Exchange or Dies (SMED) - Standard work - Poka Yoke - 5S - Visual Management – Andon – Cell Layout - Kaizen – Go to gemba
- Systematic design: 3P (Production Preparation Process)
Six Sigma is a problem-solving methodology which helps to eliminate defects and reduce variation in processes. This way substantial cost savings, quality improvements and improved customer satisfaction can be achieved. The DMAIC (Define-Measure-Analyse-Improve and Control) approach is used, which provides concrete tools in each of the steps to solve product and process problems based on a ‘measuring is knowing’ philosophy.
Process problems e.g. quality, production or waste problems need to be tackled in a systematic way using project management principles.
The “Define” phase covers following topics:
- Project charter with a clear definition of the problem, composition of the team and identification of the stakeholders
- Process mapping e.g. value stream mapping, process flow diagrams, SIPOC (supplier - input – process - output – customer)
- Investigation of internal and/or external customer requirements (voice of the customer) to quantify the quality specifications (CTQ: critical to quality)
- Definition of project goals
In the “Measure” phase the size and current state of the problem are mapped.
- Checking if the measurement system is adequate for correct measurements (Gage r&R)
- Identification of the most influencing factors through funnelling
- Fact driven funnelling: IS-IS NOT, pivot tables, data analytics
- Opinion driven funnelling: priority matrix, FMEA (Failure Mode and Effect Analysis)
- Collection of additional data about influencing factors
- Visualization of current state of the problem by e.g. pareto and time series plots, process control charts and process capability indices
In the “Analyse” phase the influencing factors are further explored to find the real root cause(s).
- Production, quality related problems root cause analysis tools are used
- Time or waste related problems typically lean tools are applied
In the “improve” phase potential solutions for the root causes are developed.
- Development possible solutions e.g. using brainstorming
- Selection of best solution(s) using decision matrix based on cost, impact, risk and/or other relevant criteria
- Implementation of the best solution(s) based on a detailed implementation plan using a stepwise “pilot” approach
- Start of monitoring the effect of the solution
In the final “control” phase of the DMAIC approach, the solutions are secured in the organisational systems to make sure one does not fall back into old habits.
- Writing instructions and good documentation
- Training of the involved employees
- Monitoring results (statistical process control)
- Development of Process control plan and/or Quality control plan
After the “control” phase, the project is finished. It is of utmost importance to reflect on the way of working, to keep “lessons learned” for future projects.
Root Cause Analysis
Root Cause Analysis (RCA) is the heart of all problem-solving methodologies such as 8D (complaint handling), DMAIC (more complex product or process problems), SCRA (Symptom – Cause – Remedy -Action for non-complex problems on the shop floor).
All methodologies, whether they consist of 4,5,8 or 20 steps, have in common the philosophy that the root cause of a problem must be found to avoid that the proposed solutions are merely symptom control.
Besides the two traditional tools for RCA (1,2), two additional ones (3,4) have proven their usefulness.
The 5 Why’s
Ask the question “Why?” 5 times to find the underlying root cause. The 5 Why’s is applicable to shop floor related relatively small problems in combination with organisational problems. For more difficult technical, process or product related problems, one can usually not get further than the first Why and the root cause cannot be found. When this is the case, the IS-IS NOT tool can be used (see below).
Cause and effect diagram
A brainstorming session is organised for possible root causes, which then are classified in groups, e.g. Man, Machine, Material or Method. The root causes are displayed in a so-called Fishbone diagram or Ishikawa diagram. Due to its ease of application, this tool has proven its usefulness and it is certainly applicable in an environment with little information on a process, e.g. when developing a new product/process.
The limitation of the Ishikawa diagram is that
- The proposed root causes are based on opinions rather than on facts
- Interactions between root causes are difficult to raise and to visualize
- Changes to processes are not covered
The outcome of this tool is a list of “potential” root causes. The selection of the most probable root cause(s) is done based on scoring, which is “problem solving by democracy”. It is Stanwick’s experience that in many cases the real root cause does not even appear in the Ishikawa diagram.
The IS-IS NOT
The IS-IS NOT tool (CH.Kepner, B. Tregoe, 1965) focuses on what facts the problem displays. “Let the problem and the data do the talking, not the engineers”.
Facts are collected about 4 dimensions: What, Where, When and the Extent the problem (“IS”), but also about What, Where, When and the Extent to which we would expect the problem to occur, but for one or another reason is not the case (“IS NOT”). By comparing the IS and IS NOT situations, one can find differences which, in combination with changes are the real root causes of the problem. Based on those facts it is possible to find mechanisms on why the problem appears like that, there, then and in that extent (IS), but also why the problem does not appear differently, elsewhere, on another time and not to another extent (IS NOT). Stanwick has applied this tool many times, sometimes even resulting in the surprisingly fast (< 2 hours) discovery of the root cause to problems which have been dragging for days, weeks or months.
Since the emergence of the 6-sigma methodology, the application of statistical tools to find root causes of problems has gained enormous interest. Some of these tools are 2-sample-t, Anova, Regression, Design of Experiments, Principal Components Analysis …
We start every process in Operational Excellence (OPEX) with an assessment of the current situation. In this way, the OPEX story does not remain a theoretical exercise, but can be acted on from the specific context of the company. In other words, we start from current practice in order to deliberate with you as to which implementation steps guarantee the best result. And it thereby helps to examine the current way of working from an external point of view and expertise.
For us, an assessment is a thorough analysis of the current situation in which the company finds itself today. It aims to
- understand the current situation thoroughly
- accurately assess the improvement potential
- draw up a future vision and action plan.
We are thereby not only looking at the process, but also at the people in the process and the systems behind them. Because they are all inextricably linked. After all, the long-term effect of improvement is directly related to the quality of the solution, the acceptance of this solution by the people, and the assurance in the existing systems.
In terms of content, our assessment is based on 4 pillars:
- Observations help us to quickly form an image of the ins and outs of the organisation. In order to share the knowledge that has been gained, we often draw up a Value Stream Map or some other process map on the basis of these observations.
- Interviews with the key figures in the organisation are extremely important, because we not only obtain knowledge and insights from the employees of the company, but also amass input regarding the people in the process.
- Data analysis serves to support the observations and interviews, and has the primary goal of quantifying the improvement potential. In addition, it also gives a first picture of the (IT) systems used.
- Specific follow-up is carried out where necessary. Known issues are analysed in depth in order to immediately estimate the gains and reach solutions.
Because of our drive for results, we owe it to ourselves to start with an analysis of the current situation. Although every action or tool entails an improvement in Operational Excellence, it is specifically the right combination and sequence of improvement initiatives that determine the success of a OPEX trajectory. After an assessment, we are therefore also able to give guarantees on the long-term effect of your OPEX story.
A dashboard provides you a clear, yet attractive overview of a set of well-chosen Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and additional relevant data. The visualisation will stimulate the thinking of your team and unlocks new insights.
This dashboard will enable you to easily:
- follow-up KPIs
- analyse scenarios
- predict future problems
which makes it the ideal monitoring and decision-making tool.
Due to its dynamic set-up, the visualisation itself can easily be modified based on your changing needs. Preferably it is also linked to your internal data (set) which makes it possible to update your data with a click of a button. It is even possible to start modelling your data, enabling you to study the influence of operational and strategic parameters.
Dashboards have a broad range of applications. Below already some situations were Stanwick applied it:
- Investment analysis (CAPEX-analysis)
- Process analysis
- Process follow-up
- Impact study of improvements
- Value Stream Mapping (VSM)
- Optimisation issues
- Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP)
- Visual Management
- Project portfolio
Quick Response Manufacturing
QRM can play an important role in companies with a large variety of products, relatively small series, and a highly variable demand. After all, the overarching focus is on reducing throughput time in all phases of production and office operations to bring products to market faster and help you compete in a rapidly changing market environment.
Quick Response Manufacturing (QRM) is the name of a company-wide strategy developed by Dr. Rajan Suri, which gives priority to reducing turnaround time in all aspects of business operations. QRM complements other improvement methods, such as Lean and Six Sigma.
QRM is based on four core concepts:
The power of time: MCT
The MCT (Manufacturing Critical Path Time) is the most important performance parameter within QRM, which brings together and visualises all the different times, from placement of an order to delivery to the customer, and thus reveals the largest levers for throughput time improvement.
Organizational structure: autonomous cell
QRM transforms traditional departments into a network of QRM cells that are used throughout the company, with ownership and autonomous teamwork as supporting factors.
System dynamics: free capacity
By incorporating reserve capacity (via mostly small investments) and managing the utilization of released capacity (via POLCA maps) the system dynamics (interactions between materials, people and machines) are organized in function of minimum turnaround time.
Because QRM is a company-wide strategy, it also includes material planning, purchasing and supply chain management, warehouse management, office activities and development of new products.
Total Productive Maintenance
An expression that, more than ever, is the problem of production and processing companies: "Do you want to prevent unscheduled downtime of your machine park?" A periodic preventive maintenance plan is needed. For this purpose ,TPM (Total Productive Maintenance) is the ideal method for:
- No more unplanned downtime.
- No product deviations more.
- No more safety incidents.
TPM brings maintenance to the forefront as a necessary, vital part of the business. Production & maintenance are closing a partnership. The preventive and routine maintenance is the responsibility of the people who are on the machine every day, making firefighting a thing of the past. This frees time for the maintenance technicians to focus on root cause analysis, optimization & innovation of the machine park.
Successfully implement TPM via the following levers:
Measuring & increasing the OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness)
Based on this measurement, the right & most important causes of non-production are addressed
- Eliminate firefighting (reactive or malfunction maintenance) by entering an effective, structured preventive and predictive maintenance system.
- Active management of machines / processes, with maintenance-free machines / processes als ultimate goal
- aimed at extending the life of the machines
- through asset reliability management (FMEA), including reliability engineering
- via condition monitoring and predictive data analysis
- through spare part (stock) management, supplier management, cost & budget management, energy management
- Expansion of a more effective and efficient maintenance team
- through skill & competence management, active use of root cause analysis, standard work, workplace organization
- Entering autonomous maintenance
- Strive for perfection - improve continuously - do not work harder, but smarter!
Strategy Development & Deployment
Strategy Deployment is the process of implementing the organizational vision and strategy in a systematic and structured way. It is a proven process to help people within your organization work more effectively in the same strategic direction. The key to success lies in focus and priority-setting, in gaining consensus on a select number of goals, and in the non-debatable translation of these goals throughout the entire organization.
By aligning strategies within your organization and putting focus on what is really important to become future-proof, more transparency is created in both communication and employee motivation. Visible and measurable moments of truth valorize people's efforts.
The Strategy Development process with Stanwick consists of the following steps:
- Conducting an “As-is”- analysis to identify the strengths and areas for improvement of the current strategy deployment system
- Facilitating the process of setting strategic priorities
- Translating these priorities into specific mid-term goals and associated "Key Performance Indicators" (KPI)
- Defining yearly action plans with appropriate KPIs. Challenges may be department-based or can be translated into global cross-departmental projects. Roles and responsibilities of co-workers are clarified, and reward and performance management systems are installed.
- Developing measurement systems to monitor the progress of the strategy deployment. Where possible, these measurements will be made visual. Visualization facilitates and reinforces the strategy.
Insights Discovery® helps you to understand what the underlying motives of ‘connecting’ are and why this process is not as easy and smooth with everyone. Based on a simple, accessible and most of all recognisable 4-colour concept this model helps people to really understand themselves and others and appreciate existing differences. A first crucial step in boosting your personal effectiveness.
Based on a questionnaire which will take you approximately 20 to 30 minutes to fill in, you receive an extensive, personal profile with tips around personal development, effective communication, decision-making, leadership, etc. Together with your Stanwick facilitator or coach you then look for ways to tune your behaviour better to the other person. Behaviour that allows maximum connection with others.
Insights Discovery® is therefore an ideal instrument to support workshops around communication, personal effectiveness, leadership, etc., as well as organisation development programmes or individual coaching programmes.
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator was developed in the United States by Katharine Briggs and her daughter Isabel Myers. This indicator is based on Carl Jung’s theory on psychological types. The basic concept behind Jung’s idea is that each individual is guided by certain natural preferences. The MBTI organises these personality preferences into 4 dimensions, in which each dimension contains two opposing preferences, the so-called dichotomies:
- Extraversion (E) or Introversion (I) : what do you focus your attention on? What energises you?
- Sensing (S) or Intuition (N) : in what way do you absorb information?
- Thinking (T) or Feeling (F): how do you structure information? How do you make decisions?
- Judging (J) or Perceiving (P): how do you deal with the outside world? What is your lifestyle?
These preferences are fundamentally different from skills or abilities in the sense that all preferences are equally important and valuable, and that each person can and will also use all other preferences. We will, however, use our personal preferences more easily, almost automatically, while it requires more concentration and energy to use our non-personal preferences. Understanding the typology provides insight into one’s own and others’ preferences, and the associated strengths and possible pitfalls.
Working with MBTI helps teams to...
- come to a better understanding of how they and others function at a personal level.
- appreciate others and make constructive use of the differences.
- tackle problems in a different manner, and increase productivity as a result.
- align responsibilities and match tasks better to individuals.
- understand how different perspectives and styles can lead to more effective leadership.
- obtain insight into the prevailing communication styles and recognise opportunities for improvement.
Stanwick has several experienced consultants who are certified to work with the MBTI tool, both for individual processes and for team sessions.
Belbin team roles
Dr Meredith Belbin and his team discovered that there are nine clusters of behaviour (“a tendency to behave, contribute and interrelate with others in a particular way”) - these were called 'Team Roles'. Each team needs access to each of the nine Team Role behaviours to become a high performing team. However, this doesn't mean that every team requires nine people! Most people will have two or three Team Roles that they are most comfortable with, and this can change over time. Each Team Role has its strengths and weaknesses, and each has equal importance.
However, not all are always required at the same time - it is important to first look at the team objectives, and work out which tasks need to be undertaken. Once this has been done, discussions can take place regarding which and when each Team Role behaviour should be utilised.
By using Belbin, individuals have a greater self-understanding of their strengths, which leads to more effective communication between colleagues and managers. Great teams can be put together, existing teams can be understood and improved, and everyone can feel that they are making a difference in the workplace.
Stanwick uses Belbin assessments to help you get the best out of your teams. By assessing the behavioural contribution individuals make to your teams, rather than an abstract psychometric test which will tell you about their personality, Belbin looks at how people actually behave in the workplace and which roles they are best suited to take on in a team environment.
The quality of everything we do depends on the quality of the thinking we do first. The quality of our thinking depends on the way we treat each other while we are thinking.
Time To Think has identified ten behaviours that generate the finest independent thinking. We call them the Ten Components of a Thinking Environment®. In the presence of these ten behaviours people think for themselves with rigour, imagination, courage and grace.
The ten behaviours that generate the finest thinking, and have become known as The Ten Components of a Thinking Environment, are: Attention, Equality, Ease, Appreciation, Encouragement, Feelings, Information, Diversity, Incisive Questions, Place.
Each Component is powerful individually, but the presence of all ten working together gives this process its transformative impact.
- Attention: when someone is thinking around us, much of the quality of what we are hearing is our effect on them. In fact, the quality of our attention determines the quality of other people’s thinking. Attention, driven by deep respect and genuine interest, and without interruption, is the key to a Thinking Environment.
- Equality: in a Thinking Environment everyone is valued equally as a thinker. Everyone gets a turn to think out loud and a turn to give attention.
- Ease: an internal state free from rush or urgency, creates the best conditions for thinking.
- Appreciation: Thinking Environment expertise generates a balanced ratio of appreciation to challenge so that individuals and groups can think at their best.
- Encouragement: a Thinking Environment prevents internal competition among colleagues, replacing it with a wholehearted, unthreatened search for good ideas.
- Feelings: if we express feelings just enough, thinking re-starts. When people show signs of feelings, we relax and welcome them, good thinking will resume.
- Information: withholding or denying information results in intellectual vandalism, facing what you have been denying leads to better thinking
- Diversity: the greater the diversity of the group, and the greater the welcoming of diverse points of view, the greater the chance of accurate, cutting-edge thinking
- Incisive questions: everything human beings do is driven by assumptions. We need to become aware of them, and by asking Incisive Questions, replace the untrue limiting ones with true, liberating ones.
- Place: people think better when they can arrive and notice that the place reflects their value - to the people there and to the event. Place is a silent form of appreciation.
Let‘s start from what is already there (and is good)
Every organisation that wants to improve and grow is obliged to look at where its own strengths lie. Building on what is already working is not only an indication of a sense of reality, but is often also just smart. Changing costs a lot of energy, and you enter a path with unprecedented obstacles.
With the TAO 2.0 assessment, Stanwick has a framework and an approach for drawing up an overview of the state of affairs for any organisation. This organisation photo helps to identify strengths and opportunities at the level of structures, systems and behaviour patterns.
The photo is put together with 7 “lenses and filters”.
The TAO wide-angle lens examines how meaning, direction and the speed of change are determined in the organisation. We thereby look at customer orientation, values, and the dynamics with regard to readiness for change. Three zoom lenses focus on the following elements:
- The Teamwork zoom lens examines how people work together at the micro-level, how team objectives are determined, which team agreements are made around internal operations. This aspect of the photo indicates the extent to which teams really work.
- The Autonomy – Empowerment zoom lens unlocks the degree of autonomy within each team, i.e. how self-managing a team can be. Autonomy is always placed within a context of secured, standardised processes here. Today, empowerment is the lever that is used to make and maintain the employee and the team powerful, with enthusiasm.
- The Organisation zoom lens focuses on the way in which the organisation supports change. How does internal communication and decision-making work? How do the departments work together? Where are problems addressed? What visualisation tools do we deploy? These questions investigate the means and supporting motors for change.
Then there are the 3 photo settings with filters:
- The filter between team and autonomy. The degree of entrepreneurship assesses how individual employees take on / can take on ownership. How is a sense of initiative developed? And at the same time: how is discipline realised?
- The filter between the team and the organisation. The manner of leading: leading is guiding towards autonomy. The following aspects are examined: how are obstacles on the way to autonomy removed, how is performance monitored, how are employees supervised and coached?
- The filter between autonomy and organisation: the organisational design. To what extent are the basic processes structured so that employees and teams can work with them? How are the teams designed, and the interdependencies between teams outlined? How are consultation and troubleshooting structures set up?
Finally: a roadmap. The composite photograph leads to a shared image of the state of an organization, with an insight into its strengths, and an understanding of the forces that move an organisation. It gives the management a starting position from which the right steps can be taken with regard to change. The ultimate goal is an organization that can change, grow and successfully accomplish its mission, carried by passionate and committed employees.
Most organisations struggle with the amount and speed at which new change projects are defined. It’s not easy to assign fixed resources to these long-term projects. Moreover, these projects usually take a long time, which means that a large number of employees have a tendency to drop out, because the results take (too) long to materialise.
The "Lean Transformation" approach helps you to achieve speed in the development of these change projects. In "Lean Transformation", "transformation" stands for a thorough change approach with a fundamental culture shift, and "lean" for the techniques that can thereby be used. We are thinking here, for example, of process description via value stream mapping (VSM), the setting up of visual management, and listening to the customer via Voice of the Customer (VOC).
In this approach, the change project is divided into smaller parts, which are planned in waves of three months. These smaller parts can be departments or processes. At the end of each wave, at least one solution will have been tested (an altered process or a new method within the department) that works and achieves the desired results. The solution can often be immediately implemented on a large scale afterwards. This can take another three to six months where a number of IT technical changes have to take place, which is still faster than is usually the case, as the solution is already known and the specifications are provided in detail.
Employees are heavily involved, and go through a fast and thorough approach. After all, it is always intended that the organisation should continue to work on other improvement initiatives after the solution has been implemented and the results secured. The necessary creativity is required from the managers here, in order to (partially) free the employees from their daily tasks for a limited time. Several projects can be worked on at the same time, during a maximum of three different waves per year. A larger organisation can thereby go through the entire transformation in two to three years.
Companies that have gone through this approach are enthusiastic:
- There is a great focus on the change process and on achieving results.
- You can free up employees for a short period more quickly than for a project of one year and longer.
- Employees are often reluctant at first, but they are usually won over for this approach if they feel that there is genuine commitment, and that they are the experts in their domain who can carry out the improvement.
A good preparation of the route is necessary before starting. Roles and responsibilities are clearly defined. The choice of the first project(s) is essential, and must achieve the desired results. In this way, the organisation feels that a new dynamic has come into play. Other important factors are commitment and a clear investment of time by employees and executives. Only in this way can results be achieved within the three months of well-defined divisions and processes.
Organisations are built on strong employees, managers and leaders. Successful organisations therefore take care of their people. They do this by fully developing and using the strengths of each individual. To this end, they can call on an external coach who joins the individual, the coachee, on his development path.
Coaching is teaching the coachee to learn to Learn. Coaching is encouraging and supporting Learning. A coach supports his client to help him learn new skills, implement change and achieve his targets. He makes sure that all this happens.
The coach focuses on the individual’s work process and follows several tracks to appeal to the individual energy of the coachee. The coach not only focuses on the visible behaviour, knowledge and skills of the coachee, but will also ‘coach below the surface’, where convictions, standards & values and motives that are often unconscious can have either a strengthening or a hemming effect. If this starts surfacing, the benefit is often true growth and development.
- Connecting: getting to know each other
- Exploration of the context and purpose for the coaching.
- Alignment between all parties.
- Agreement on coaching principles
Coaching Goals Conversation
- Translation of the purpose into very specific objectives.
- Deliverable: Key result indicators
- Coachee will inform manager N+1 about these specific objectives
About 5 coaching conversations
- Ideal frequency: every 2 or 3 weeks.
- According to GROW-model (Goal, Reality, Options, Will)
- Goal of every coaching conversation is:
- Progress on the coaching objectives
- Improvement of the relation coach-coachee
- Growing autonomy of the coachee
- Higher eagerness to continue development
Evaluation & Next steps
- Progress of the coachee (Key result indicators)
- Quality of the coaching (evaluation of the coach).
Agile & SCRUM
The current volatile and complex business environment also means that in project management we can revert less and less to planning and fixed “baselines”. From this Agile mindset developed in the eighties, SCRUM gives us a methodology that makes an iterative, incremental project progress possible in close consultation with the customer.
Stanwick supports organisations to (learn to) work with SCRUM and has certified SCRUM Masters.
Building on the Agile principles, SCRUM forces the project workers in a particular rhythm to achieve the project commission.
Characteristics of the SCRUM approach:
- An iterative & incremental development (“rugby” approach compared to the earlier “relay race” or waterfall method). There is a clear concept, minimum conditions and a deadline but the planning is progressive as the plan will probably still change and often only offers false security.
- A 100% “dedicated” team that is self-managing and has a conclusive mandate. The analogy with rugby from which the term scrum has been derived is striking: the team works together closely like a rugby team to move the ball across the field toward the opponent's half. It is important that all players are geared properly to each other, have the same intention and a specific aim in mind.
- It works with so-called “sprints” which each comprise one PDCA cycle.
- Clear roles: 1 product owner, 1 scrum master and a fixed development team.
- A well-defined process with a sprint planning, daily scrums and sprint reviews. The meeting time is kept within reasonable limits (20% meetings versus 80% execution, etc. often it is the other way around).
- A rigid reporting system whereby an accurate follow-up is guaranteed. In this way the priorities are all handled one by one which guarantees a good insight in the progress and adjustments are possible in plenty of time.