"Commitment is an act, not a word." - Jean-Paul Sartre
I had the privilege recently of hearing Dr. Robert Hamm present his very interesting study on Senior Leader commitment to Continuous Improvement processes.
As businesses try to implement process improvement, one of the most frequent barriers that is cited (whether real or imagined) is that there is too much work to do to focus on changing processes. Sometimes this is a chimera, driven by resistance to change as much as capacity constraints. But sometimes it’s more a question of when you get to eat the marshmallow.
I attended a very interesting panel discussion earlier this month coordinated by the Small Business Development Center at Texas State University (you can see the slide deck here). The participants included Paula Soileau, from Affinitus, a company that helps manage hiring decisions, Paul O’Brien, an entrepreneur and growth hacker, Jason Seats from TechStars, a startup accelerator, and Casey Amidon, the HR director from DrillingInfo, a ‘culture star’ company.
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It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.
--W. Edwards Deming
There is no doubt that we are living in a ___(buzzword)____ business environment. Traditional concepts on ___(-ing)___ and ___(-ing)___ a business were clearly meant for a slower-paced ___(noun)___. Fragmentation of information sources contribute to a lack of ___(noun)___, lending to skepticism over best ___(noun)____ and a proliferation of flavor-of-the-___(time period)___ hot topics such as “big __(noun)__”, 3D ___(-ing)___ of anything and everything, and robots taking over the ___(place)___.
“Innovation” is one of those current ___(nouns)___.
And like a madlib, fill in the blank about what you think “innovation” means. The wordcloud below was created with a plain web search on the word innovation. See any surprises?
“Can you define "plan" as "a loose sequence of manifestly inadequate observations and conjectures, held together by panic, indecision, and ignorance"? If so, it was a very good plan.”
― Jonathan Stroud, The Ring of Solomon
This quotation made me laugh in the days when I was asking my sons about their plans for college and career; but in many of our businesses, conjecture and observation takes the place of objective and measure, and indecision and ignorance (if not panic) are the glue that holds our worlds together as we react to the changes around us.
I recently noticed an article in the Food Safety News newsletter about the rising importance of ISO Certification, which cited both the pending food safety legislations and GFSI food quality certification
You may have heard the saying that “it only takes one employee to destroy your brand.” While this is obviously true in areas like food safety, customer service or public relations, in our time of social media and proliferation of information it could be true for any business. The challenges of building skills – and loyalty-- in our workforce are complex and encompass culture, cost, time and quality from recruitment to retention. From a LEAN perspective, recalling the 8 wastes:
My family recently moved across several states, and our possessions spent varying amounts of time packed in pods and boxes while we were staying in a hotel. When our house finally closed, I was tired of suitcases, so my mission was to get everything out of cardboard and someplace accessible as quickly as possible. While moving our boxes around, my husband strained his back and was looking for the ibuprofen, which I had put on the bottom shelf in our bathroom cabinet. “I’m married to a process engineer,” were the words that greeted me when I got home, “and she put the pain medicine in a place where someone who can’t bend can’t see or reach it…” Uh oh.
In part one, we discussed seeing your business processes - whether you are producing a product or a service - in a customer-centric way. This means making a distinction between the value (the part of the process that creates the product the customer is willing to pay for) and the waste (typically 95% of the process time). Therefore, a value stream is the entire sequence of work required from receipt of a customer order to delivery of the product. This includes all value-added production process steps to transform the materials into a finished product/service as well as all other essential activities to support those steps. It isn’t called a value “stream” by accident – the goal is for value to flow without hindrance through the process at the pull (demand) of the customer. Creating a value stream map allows us to see the process from end to end to determine where the waste lies.