Are we better today, than yesterday?
Do you really know the score of the game?
What are we doing today, to ensure we are better tomorrow?
Has anyone ever asked you these questions? Have you asked yourself? If not, they are questions we should always be asking ourselves as lean thinkers.
I have been mulling this concept over the past month or so and have come to the following conclusion: the reason we can’t exactly articulate the score of the game is because we haven’t completed the cycle of practicing core lean principles:
- Seeing problems
- Fixing/solving problems
- Sharing the learning to continuously improve
We spend so much time on the root cause analysis and working toward a solution that we tend to slack off on re-grouping with the team after the problem is solved. We need to re-group in order to gather learning points and ensure we have KPIs in place to measure our ongoing performance.
TIP : Be sure to not put too much pressure on quick result timelines when problem solving. Many times this leads to putting the wrong solutions into place or pushing the problem downstream.
So, how do we make sure we know the score of the game? First make sure you have a good handle on the following two items. Otherwise, you’ll never know the true score of the game:
1) Have a clear definition from your customer of what they want and continually get updated feedback from them. Essentially they are telling you the rules and expectations of the game.
2) Don’t be afraid of really understanding and documenting the current state and issues. You are sizing up your abilities to understand what needs to be updated, strategizing your game.
Now, most importantly, create your scoreboard. Follow these rules during creation. You can find these rules and further explanations in the previously mentioned book, People:
1) Measure performance, not people.
2) Create metrics that enable monitoring and improvement of the entire value stream.
3) Focus on the improving the inputs to getting better outputs, not the other way around.
4) Make sure the measures don’t create functional silos.
5) Create measures that drive and encourage teamwork and problem solving.
6) Use measurement dashboards that tells a story and promotes dialogue and problem solving.
7) Don’t filter to make the data look better.
Once you have created a “scoreboard” or measurement tool/dashboard, that document will help show you the current state. Just be sure to continually run through the PDCA cycle with your team and your customer. Share the knowledge to continuously improve and know the score of the game.
Written by Michelle Cribbs, Manager of Lean Supply Chain Operations at LeanCor