In some companies, working with improvement teams brings quick, clear, and considerable success. On the other hand, in others the work done by improvement teams is accompanied by frustration, and has no quick and clear results. Why? What's the difference?
One of the immediate and daily examples for this technique, also mentioned in the book, is shaving razors. Until 1971 only one blade was commonly used. Then Gillette released a razor with two blades: one pulls the hair and the second cuts it.
Later, they added a third, and even fourth, blades. I stopped at three blades.
The kibbutz assembly needed to approve participation of a team from the company in a professional conference in Italy. I remember a heated debate. Travelling abroad was rare, and every trip was a cause for envy. In the assembly, a suggestion was raised – instead of one of the executives, "Sarah", a kibbutz member, will go, because she hadn’t been abroad yet.
In this part I mean to focus with more detail on each method, and see the differences between the levels of familiarity with the method and its use, and the success it generated. As you'll see, there are methods which are widely used but fail to generate success, while contrastingly there are methods which are rarely used, but the majority of managers who've used them report success.
The subtraction used by Itamar isn’t only of a key or other accessory whose role in opening the door is eliminated. The essence is simple and smart management of the right to open the lock and enter a home, club, center, pool, etc. Instead of the subtracted key, the system utilizes an accessory most of us already have: a smartphone. I believe anyone managing a community center or using one often appreciates Nemlock's use.
Nestle is a world leader in constant improvement and striving for excellence. And the Sderot site, with approximately 650 employees, is without a doubt one of their leading sites in all aspects. Nestlé's motto, which you'll find displayed at each one of their sites and to which everybody strives, is "0 waste, 1 team, 100% employee involvement".
In it they could see how, at the end of the work day on Thursday, at three in the afternoon, the door to one of the departments was left open. Actually, it wasn’t a door, but a wide gate, made of two metal doors. Its width is about three meters, its height about four meters.
The CEO is in charge as far the law, the share-holders or the board of directors are concerned (meaning he's the one accountable). So he must ensure the company reaches its goals and targets, first and foremost profit and resiliency. Of course the CEO's instinct is, then, to be involved in everything, and try and personally lead all processes in the company.
Recommended frequency for discussion of indicators: I recommend all indicators' results be discussed by management once a month. At least once a week, they should be discussed in dedicated improvement teams with the relevant manager (operations, sales, finance, marketing, etc.) or their representative. Some indicators should be shortly analyzed daily, as needed.
When the team deals with sales development or debt collection, there is almost no new information on a daily basis, and so there's no need to meet daily. But work on the production floor is continuous and at the very least daily. So there are new developments every day. Should results be analyzed daily? Weekly? Monthly?
When Nestle delved into daily performance in Osem (at the time I managed a large profit center), they showed us, for the first time, the need to measure how many unites were counted in inventory checks in the field, compared to data in the company's digital records.
This is the last chapter from my new book: Manage! Best Value Practices for Effective Management. the full book is can be purchesed on Amazon. The purpose of this book is to provide a fresh look on how you can improve business results by making your company matter to your employees.
What did it feel like, the last time you were complimented? For a nice outfit, doing well in school or on a successfully completed project? How did you feel posting about your kid's or grandkid's high grades on Facebook, or WhatsApp, and got dozens of likes?
In a course I gave to a certain company, some employees mentioned the "lean production" the company was implementing at one of its divisions. Nathan, who works at that division, stated that "actually, all this lean stuff has one hidden agenda. It's directed towards moving maintenance over to the operators, loading them with more tasks than they are already loaded with".
One CEO once told me he often gives advance commitment for unrealistic delivery times he has no possibility of reaching. But if he doesn't commit to brief delivery times, he won't get the order.
In the past, when I managed a company that manufactured and supplied office furniture to institutions, I began my term by visiting the delivery area to find out how deliveries are handled. To my surprise, I discovered that there was no follow up on packing lists and that the drivers didn't always turn them in.
Just keep one spare tube in the drawer. When the current one is finished, take out the new one, take it out of its box, but don't throw the box away. Place the empty box in the same place as your shopping list, as a reminder of what you need to buy. By the time you use up the present tube of toothpaste, you will have bought a new tube on a routine shopping trip at the drug store or supermarket.
If we have product trees, where the materials composing the final product are detailed, it is easy to work in the IT system to link the materials requiring movement from the warehouse for production and packing of the product sold or entering the warehouse before sale.
Many companies I have encountered search for ways to save "in the spotlight", meaning areas where it is easy to see and to attribute to a particular focal point in pricing – for example, purchasing, defective product, work costs or logistics. And an action whose objective is to strengthen employee bonds falls under Welfare and is usually considered a luxury, ending up being the first thing to cut.
The product was highly profitable, but still, it seemed we might be able to shorten the process and make it more efficient. So, the course participants suggested a few significant improvements and elimination of some of the stages.
This is the first chapter from my new book: Manage! Best Value Practices for Effective Management. The purpose of this book is to provide a fresh look on how you can improve business results by making your company matter to your employees.
The CEO of that company led the business and marketing development and wanted to ensure that they would never lack product to supply orders, and therefore their warehouses were full of product that turned out to be defective.
At a major public company's plant, output was never measured. Production planning was performed on the basis of machine work hours for each product, and there was no control undertaken on this either. As the objective is to produce some kind of product, or to provide a service, we need to measure output and not the hours during which we have manufactured or planned production.
If we address the 20% of principal products manufactured (see example later on), we can attain a significant improvement in results (eg. profits). In this way, we can concentrate our efforts and resources and be decisive and efficient.
Once I came to a small company whose employee turnover was extremely high. Few employees would stay for more than a few weeks before leaving. The CEO would shout at his employees for any minor transgression. I asked him why, and he said they needed to learn (usually they learned that it would be best for them to leave).
Sometimes it seems to me that CEO's are afraid to confront management members who are not maintaining objectives. Instead of demanding a plan of action to attain the objective, the CEO herself explains to herself why they haven't attained their sales, production or other objectives.
In a discussion that I held with 30 managers at one of the companies, the subject of motivation arose, as always. I asked the participants what affects motivation. At this stage, people usually say "money, salary".
This time, perhaps because of the group's heterogeneity, or the participation of the CEO, all was quiet. After a few moments, Ortal quietly said, "Appreciation."
If a motor burns out because it is old, and it is ten years old, and if our objective is to prevent breakdowns, then we must replace all the motors approaching or exceeding this age. In order to attain the root cause for a breakdown, we can use what is known as the "fishbone" technique, or the 5 Whys.
More than a few companies have begun to implement the 5S method on a high scale, even attaining excellent results, and after a certain amount of time, the excitement fades, we stop maintaining and promoting the improvement and the achievements disappear.
The guiding principle behind our work leads a company to improvement and does not provide it with advice. We work this way for several reasons: Firstly, we, as people, don't like to receive advice, and therefore, improvements in work methods that are obtained as external knowledge and not as a product of internal work, shall encounter opposition or will not be implemented in the long term.