Okay, Plant Manager. You did the research, and now you are convinced you need to invest informal continuous improvement work to generate the operational cost savings necessary to meet business objectives (see previous blog post here).
This morning’s call with your boss didn’t cause you to waver in your resolve, even when it was “suggested,” rather firmly, that you better deliver the results you promised with this CI stuff or he/she would take matters into his/her own hands.
You’ve chosen the site champion for the program, you recognize the need to engage all the plant employees in the effort, and you’ve scheduled the planning meeting with your champion to get the process started. So, what next?
The recent article by Roger Price in Industry Week ("Systematizing Continuous Improvement: It's Not About the Methodology or the Tools," 4/28/2014) discusses the tendency in manufacturing organizations to provide insufficient priority for continuous improvement efforts in the face of day-to-day production demands. This tension, as I would describe it, was consistent with my experience as a manufacturing operations leader and plant manager. Three plant leaders, representing their Best Plants Winners at the recent 2014 IW Best Plants Conference in Milwaukee, corroborated my experience and provided some insights on overcoming this tension.