Continuous Improvement: Filling the Gap Between Floor Workers and Senior Management

Continuous Improvementus Improvement: Filling the Gap Between Floor Workers and Senior Management

One of the struggles in companies trying to improve business today is the divide between employees on the ground doing the work, and the vision of senior management often far removed from the process. Management holds vision planning sessions that produce unrealistic or even counterproductive results. Meanwhile, day to day workers are left with unachievable expectations. This cycle quickly lowers employee morale and buy-in for improvement projects, thus leading to decreased management effectiveness.

Those who have done the work for a long time gain an understanding of processes and situations to a level that can't be gained in a classroom or seminar. However, those same people can start to adopt the "that's how it has always been done" mentality that prevents continuous improvement.

The key to balancing the effort of front line employees with the knowledge and vision of management is a solid Hoshin Kanri Strategy planning process. This methodology requires process improvement to flow from the bottom up and top down. Each level in the chain of command participates and works together. This collaboration ensures that senior management is aware of company reality so they can develop the company vision accordingly. That vision can then be owned by employees of all levels. The method of Hoshin Kanri deployment is as follows:

  • Establish a shared goal with a comparable baseline.
  • Communicate the goal to all leaders.
  • Involve all leaders in planning to achieve the goal.
  • Hold participants accountable for achieving their part of the plan.

A helpful tool for Hoshin Kanri Strategy deployment is the A3X. The A3X (also called X-Matrix) starts with your company's year objectives and uses them to create breakthrough goals (including your total delivered cost goals). It then links your goals to improvement projects and the projects to the responsible personnel.

Hoshin Planning - Lean A3X Example Hoshin Planning - Lean A3X Example

The PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Adjust) process improvement cycle occurs repeatedly in the plan's development, implementation, and evaluation. The essence of Hoshin Kanri Strategy is fundamental to becoming a learning organization. Hoshin enables an organization to collect and study performance data from every day activities and long-term goals. Further, it helps the organization reflect on its current state and desired destination.

Written by Jacob Nance, Lean Logistics Manager at LeanCor

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Posted by LeanCor Supply Chain Group

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LeanCor Supply Chain Group is a trusted supply chain partner that specializes in lean principles to deliver operational improvement. LeanCor’s three integrated divisions – LeanCor Training and Education, LeanCor Consulting, and LeanCor Logistics – help organizations eliminate waste, drive down costs, and build a culture of continuous improvement.

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