Friday, March 11, 2016

5S: A Process for Your Entire Business

By Rebecca Morgan

Have you ever considered taking your 5S broom to your entire business?

Most people consider 5S an entry- level lean tool for the shop floor. They can tell you what each of the floor S’s is and too often suggest that the bottom line is “a place for everything and everything in its place.” They lay down yellow tape to outline where the trash can goes, create shadow boards for tools, and issue monthly trophies. None of that is inherently bad, but the concept behind 5S is so much more than that.

Why settle for 5 percent of the power of 5S thinking?

Like most lean tools, 5S is a concept designed to eliminate waste. Costly clutter exists far beyond the shop floor. In fact, it exists in every aspect of even the best organizations.

Have you 5S’d your customer base? What about your products, and the components that go into your products? Over time those things get just as cluttered as the shop floor and they can certainly benefit by applying 5S thinking to them as well.

Just as some people want to hang on to tools that haven’t been used in years, so too do many companies hang on to customers that simply do not make sense for the business any longer. Get rid of them. They sap valuable resources better used elsewhere.

The same is true for product offerings. It takes resources to support products that long ago lost their market luster. Additionally, too many choices can make it hard for your customer to fi just what they’re looking for. For many companies Life Cycle Management is about birthing products, failing to ever kill them.

One client had over 50 different switches in use to accomplish the same function in very similar products. They have reduced that to less than 10 now, and haven’t given up. Modular design can improve this problem immensely, but so can applying 5S thinking to your existing designs and part numbers.

Some of your suppliers are partners, focused on mutual benefit with you. A quick look at your supplier lists will undoubtedly reveal companies you shouldn’t be doing business with any longer. They can’t help you succeed and aren’t interested in your help in improving their capabilities. Why are they still on your list?

And just as on the shop floor, 5S thinking for your business has to become a way of being – not an annual event. 5S is a thought process designed to resolve a type of problem that occurs throughout your business. I challenge you to apply that seemingly simple tool accordingly. You’ll be surprised by all the costly clutter that you can eliminate.

George Washington’s 5 Lessons of Entrepreneurship

Edward G. Lengel

George Washington was among the most successful businessmen of his day. Raised in a single-parent home and bereft of formal education, he nevertheless parlayed a modest inheritance into what was by the time of his death one of the grandest estates in North America.

The odds were against him. Washington came of age under an oppressive colonial system that discouraged entrepreneurship and fostered debt. His increasingly passionate belief in economic freedom motivated his efforts to break free of this system, both personally and as an American patriot.

Guiding his country through eight years of debilitating war followed by a lengthy period of economic instability, Washington managed simultaneously to set the United States on the road to prosperity and ensure that Mount Vernon became a center of agricultural and technological innovation. 

Five principles that inspired his accomplishments may still serve to guide entrepreneurs in the twenty-first century:

Decisiveness. As a young entrepreneur in the 1760s Washington recognized that the colonial tobacco economy, which had been in place for over a century but operated on credit, stifle innovation and reduced Americans to debt slavery. After careful research, he moved decisively to abandon tobacco and change over his estate to the cultivation of wheat. The gamble paid off, not only making Mount Vernon self-sufficient but transforming it into a regional center of production.

Innovation. Technology fascinated Washington. He tinkered ceaselessly but never aimlessly. A firm believer in experimentation, he tested tools with a view to their capacity to save labor and boost productivity. Among other cutting edge technologies, he installed at Mount Vernon an advanced gristmill that allowed him to produce high-quality       “G. Washington” brand flour and even market it overseas.

Communication. After the Revolutionary War ended in 1783, Washington recognized that Great Britain—then in the early stages of the Industrial Revolution—was on the cusp of becoming a global economic powerhouse. He not only read the works of visionaries like Adam Smith, but fostered personal relationships with pioneering British innovators such as Arthur Young. Washington became a hero of the British manufacturing community as he worked to disseminate knowledge and promote trade.

Calculated Risk-taking. Martha quickly cured her husband of his youthful affinity for gambling at cards and billiards, but his entrepreneurial mind remained attuned to the thrill of the dice. Shortly after his retirement Washington’s Scottish farm manager James Anderson approached him with the seemingly reckless proposal to build a whiskey distillery at Mount Vernon. Previously ignorant of the industry, Washington researched it carefully and decided to risk a significant investment. The distillery quickly became one of his most profitable enterprises.

Attention to Detail. Washington kept astonishingly meticulous accounts. He also insisted onunderstanding personally how every operation on his estate worked from bottom to top. At any given moment, thanks to his demands for detailed reports and his frequent rides around Mount Vernon, he intimately understood every aspect of his diverse and far-flung enterprise. This attention to fundamentals was a bedrock of his success.

Managing Projects: a 3 Tier Approach to Achieve Better Results

by Ellen McKewen

Every year brings about new and more efficient processes that manufacturers can take advantage of in order to increase and enhance their upcoming projects. For example, a project management methodology might be used to implement a new software program or install new machinery. For your project to be successful, it has to include change management to ensure acceptance from the people using it. In addition, the project needs to support the corporate strategy. Managing projects can then be viewed as a three tier approach that is selected and pioneered by a leader and implemented by employees through change management.
Tier 1: Leadership: Doing The Right Project
The decision to determine which project to implement should be decided by your leadership team. Getting the leadership team on the same page with respect to determining the right project to implement is crucial for optimal global results.
Once the leaders have come to a consensus on which project to implement, they will begin designing a project management methodology.
Tier 2: Project Management: Doing The Project Right
A suitable methodology includes both the management and the strategizing of a project. Communication is critical to each level of the project’s hierarchy
-from the leader to the workers carrying out the project.
The goal of project management is to become more competitive and improve effi   anywhere within your manufacturing organization for better global effi              . In order for project management to be suc cessful, the overall direction must be properly set and communicated (Tier 1 Leadership). A well-defi project management plan ensures on time completion of the project.

Tier 3: Change Management: Doing The Implementation Right
While project management is the planning and strategizing of a new process, machinery, or software, change management is the implementation of it.
Change management focuses on the implementation of the project through the people who will be using it. The only way that a project will be successful is through the acceptance and adoption of it by its users. Therefore, the person (change agent) who carries out the change management of a project should look to encourage employee buy-in and foster acceptance from them.
The change agent should be able to recognize and be prepared to address some personnel factors that affect the speed of change, such as:
       Speed of adoption: Improve how quickly people get on board with the change and address resistance through effective communication, sponsorship and coaching.
       Use of a new system: Prevent people from “opting out” of the new system and reverting to the old system.
       Proficiency: Increase likelihood that people maximize proficiency in the new system by proper training.
Successful change management helps employees overcome reluctance for new buy-ins resulting in meeting your project’s objective, being on schedule, staying on budget, increasing your ROI, reducing push back and enhancing proficiency when using systems.
Implementing change management improves the predictability of project success by addressing people issues up front. Often times, the buy-in of change by your organization’s personnel can affect the speed of seeing the benefits  promised by your project.
Working Together to Achieve the Best Results
Managing projects using a three tier approach will improve the results and success of your project. While each tier functionally operates on its own, optimal results happen when all three are integrated and infused into managing projects.
Remember that you must choose the right project and clearly communicate its overall direction. Once the project is identified the project management methodology will need to be designed. Finally, change management is the implementation of the project to ensure there is internal buy-in from its users.