6 | Operations
In the current economic downturn, a lot of organizations are doing more with less. Fewer people. Less money. Same ambitious goals. Businesses have been slow to hire because of the higher productivity of the people they’ve retained.
If you’ve seen your organization’s strategic plan, you have a good idea what its goals are and some ideas about how you can help achieve them. At the same time, you’re probably busy enough not to be looking for more work. So how do you make your job more interesting and your role in the organization more valuable without burning yourself out with the effort?
The answer is to work more efficiently, and the way to do that is through process thinking. A smart question you can ask is, ‘What’s the process?’ The question gets people thinking about flaws in the process rather than blaming people for errors. Inevitably, focusing on the process triggers questions about what can be done to fix it.
If your organization has formal approaches to process management and improvement, you should learn what they are and how you can use them. If your organization doesn’t have formal approaches, or if it has them but reserves them for sanctioned process management/improvement teams, you will benefit from learning and applying some basics of process thinking.
The first is to understand what a process entails, which is captured in this SIPOC …Joseph A. De Feo | 0 comments | Continued
Did you know that Baldrige.com is more than just a resource library? Not only do we love to write about the Baldrige Award and all those who endeavor for quality, but we also offer assessments, training, strategic advice and support, and various improvement programs.
Looking for help with the Strategic Planning portion of the Baldrige criteria, particularly with aligning your business goals and objectives? We provide advice, coaching, facilitating, and education to enable your organization to link its strategy and goals with every business unit and employee to assure the goals are met. Perhaps the Measurement, Analysis, and Knowledge Management section is where your company is lacking, and you need assistance developing a truly balanced scorecard. A proper scorecard has to include the right measures and targets to effectively monitor the performance of an organization, but determining those metrics can sometimes be the most challenging part. We can help with that. Ready to plan and design your new services? With a variety of structured processes, we can help you select the most practical fit for your organization. Are you in need of a controlled improvement program? The number of ways we can help your organization are endless, as we customize each program to your specifications.
Perhaps your trials and tribulations are more ambiguous; it’s hard to identify the cause of the problems, but you’re certain there are problems to …Joseph A. De Feo | 0 comments | Continued
Where do you start? You want to make your organization more competitive, better able to meet customer needs, less inclined to mistakes, but you’ve been doing things the same way for years and you’re not sure where to begin.
When I get this question, I suggest starting with one or more of the 3 P’s: processes, people, or planning.
Start with Processes. The Baldrige model is a process model because the work of an organization is done through processes. Organizations that haven’t taken a formal approach to process management usually spend way too much time firefighting because their processes are out of control, or they blame people when their processes fail. Neither is a prescription for long-term success.
You can develop a process orientation by first identifying your key work processes, which Baldrige defines as your most important internal value creation processes. If you’re not sure where to start, look at what products and/or services you provide to your customers and figure out the internal steps that design, produce, and deliver those products and services. Then consider the support processes that make these customer-driven processes possible, such as your key processes in sales, marketing, finance, human resources, IT, etc. Once you’ve identified your value creation processes, assign a process owner responsible for each, usually a senior leader with the authority to allocate resources and remove obstacles. Form process improvement teams …Steve George | 0 comments | Continued
In 2001, Pal’s Sudden Service was the first restaurant company of any size to earn the Baldrige National Quality Award, and was the first in Tennessee to be twice awarded the Tennessee Quality Excellence Award. Nation’s Restaurant News (NRN) recently ran their bi-monthly publication (which has over 60,000 subscribers) highlighting how Pal’s metrics are “nearly unheard of in the food service world.” They aren’t stingy about sharing the secrets to their success either; every month they share their success stories with the Pal’s Business Excellence Institute (BEI), which sees hundreds of business leaders come through its doors annually. K&N Management, another food service operation and 2010 Baldrige Award recipient, has visited the BEI 13 times in the past nine years! At this point, you may be asking yourself, who, or what, is Pal’s?
Pal’s Sudden Service runs 23 double-drive-through restaurants in Tennessee and Virginia, and averages about $2 million per unit since its conception in 1956. When they aren’t busy winning awards (Pal’s was also just awarded a prestigious international award for the visual appearance and navigation of their website by the International Academy of Visual Arts), Pal’s is heavily focused on delivering excellent customer service. With their double-sided buildings, they can serve a customer at the drive-through every 18 seconds. Even at this rate, they make only one mistake every 3,500 orders, and maintain a customer satisfaction score …Tom Huizenga | 0 comments | Continued
The following is an excerpt from Dr. Joseph M. Juran’s book, The Architect of Quality (2004). In this piece, he is reflecting on particularly interesting past clients that he had worked with, specifically Xerox. Xerox was a Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award recipient in 1989, then again in 1997, and is still going strong today.
Xerox produced and marketed the first xerographic copier, a machine that outperformed every copying process then in existence. The patents gave the company a monopoly and enabled it to grow in sales and profits at a rate seldom matched in financial history.
Prior to the 1980s, my contacts with Xerox were brief. Some Xerox managers had attended my courses. On at least one occasion (1963), I conducted a five-day training course for managers and engineers at the company offices in Rochester, New York. Then, in the early 1980s I was drawn into a most serious problem—Xerox’s sales were hemorrhaging, and the reason was poor quality.
The Xerox machines were seriously failure-prone, and there were other quality problems as well. Xerox’s chief response had been to create a field service force to restore service, but the customers were not satisfied; they wanted no service interruptions. The depth of this feeling was not known to the Xerox senior managers. Their “instrument panel” kept them up to date on their dazzling financial results but did …Tom Huizenga | 0 comments | Continued
The customer is potentially the most important element of a successful business equation. The Baldrige Criteria asks organizations how they engage their customers, how they communicate with them, and how they attract an ever-growing audience of captivated, satisfied customers. A recent blog post on the Harvard Business Review (HBR) by authors Donald Reinertsen and Stefan Thomke entitled, “Customers Don’t Want More Features” touches on these points that are worth reiterating.
Reinertsen and Thomke explain a common myth about product development that revolves around more features being added into a particular product directly relating with customer satisfaction. The thought is that customers will always choose the product that has more options, add-ons, features, extras, and doodads, due to the assumption of those features “adding value.” On the contrary, simplified and “base model” products are perceived as being less valuable. The HBR authors make an excellent point, “This attitude explains why products are so complicated: Remote controls seem impossible to use, computers take hours to set up, cars have so many switches and knobs that they resemble airplane cockpits, and even the humble toaster now comes with a manual and LCD displays.”
Rather than buying into this traditional approach of product development and adding more feature layers with every new model, innovative companies start with defining the problem. By developing a clear understanding of what the goals are, innovation can begin …Joseph A. De Feo | 0 comments | Continued
The need for effective planning, management, and improvement of cross-functional processes usually arises for multiple reasons in most organizations. These can include long cycle times, budget overruns, product failures, excessive process defects, dissatisfied customers (both internal and external), no knowledge of how to do things differently, experiencing the “cross-functional dilemma,” and lastly, a leader who sees the need for change.
Through a vast collection of knowledge and reported experiences of successful replanning efforts, some common elements of effective change strategies can be deduced. These include a desire for change, knowledge of how to plan/replan a cross functional process, understanding of the underlying cultural elements which prevent change, and understanding of the differences between sequential versus concurrent process models.
At the heart of the problem for most organizations is the phenomenon of the “Cross-Functional Dilemma.” This dilemma is characterized in the healthcare-related graphic below.
As you can see from this graphic, the dilemma stems from the organization creating a functional organization structure and processes with functional goals. In this case, the dilemma arises as management does not realize that the organization operates mainly through its cross-functional processes. Typically then, we find that there is no effective planning or planning mechanism for these critical cross-functional processes, lack of management infrastructure, or any knowledge of process performance. Sub-optimization within the organization will be the result as each department attempts to do the best …Tom Huizenga | 0 comments | Continued