The path of continuous improvement can be long and difficult, especially if it’s just one of many important efforts your organization is pursuing. Often staffers and even internal operational excellence practitioners don’t have the time to sit back and evaluate whether they’re even on the right path.
Once you have your operational excellence vision and strategy in place, resource needs identified, and practitioners hired, it’s time to plan and deliver OpEx education for the overall workforce. While you’ll find dozens of choices for OpEx concepts and tools that may be of use over time as you choose methods for OpEx deployment, it is often best to start with the basics of Lean:
The good news is that your organization has recognized the need to implement a structured approach to continuous improvement (CI) or otherwise increase your investment in CI, but now you’re struggling with the question of how to do it well. Although adding yet another set of tasks to your personal workload, not to mention that of the broader organization, may seem daunting, when done right, a good CI model can streamline workflows, improve efficiency, and boost your bottom line.
My father, now retired, put food on the table for most of my childhood by running a small carpet cleaning and disaster restoration company. As a child when on summer break from school I would go with Dad every day to his office to “hang out” while he arranged the daily work schedule, assigned jobs to the crews, inventoried supplies, paid bills, and performed all of his other standard work in order for the business to function.
A common challenge that OpEx Leaders and Practitioners face in their efforts to generate traction is how to drive workforce accountability for improvement. And there's good reason why broad-based workforce accountability is a tough nut to crack. As I've written before, there's a fundamental tension that exists in virtually every organization, but particularly those that are early, less operationally mature, and therefore highly reactive, between spending time to manage the business vs. improve the business.
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