What Actually Happened On Those Peak Output Days?
A big segment of management consulting specializes in helping companies make more, sell more, and reduce costs. Their clients are often big companies with experienced management, sophisticated tools, products, and systems. One common process is to carry out a front-end analysis of the clients’ business and then commit to specific deliverables.
Typically, clients marvel at the ability of the analysis team to define the improvements available so quickly. How did they do that when so few, if any of the client’s management could see those opportunities in their own business?
The answer was in one of the “tricks of the analysts’ trade” – to look in detail at hourly or daily production or output figures and simply asking about the peak periods. The term “simply” applied to the question. The answers were clearly not. There were always several theories but, in the end, it came down to, “I guess we did everything right that day.”
So, armed with that “intel,” the consultants will dig in. What they find is not so much a lack of data – but incorrect and outdated. Then it’s just a matter of updating and re-measuring work instructions, time standards, maintenance schedules and output standards. With the new metrics in place, the next hardest part is helping the client revise their bills of material, supply chains and sales targets, to cope with the increased output. It’s been said many times before, “If you can’t measure it accurately, you can’t fix it or improve it.”
Most clients are also happy with a by-product of these improvement efforts – clear and accurate work instruction and expectations. Some use video-based measurement tools such as Timer-Pro, and this was even more prized by trainers. Today, with extremely high turnover rates affecting many businesses, training and rapidly getting new employees up to speed is vital to meet customer requirements. Videos documenting the right way of doing things have become the norm and are an important aspect of training consistency, especially if train-the-trainer programs are used. It ensures that everyone being trained sees the right way to carry out a task.
The bottom line is that if you want more peak output days, make sure your metrics are up to date.
Van Fleisher is a Senior Partner at RSS Consulting and Interim VP Marketing for Applied Computer Services. With over 1600 worldwide clients, ACS’s Timer Pro is the leading video-based measurement solution for those involved in Continuous Improvement, Lean Manufacturing, Industrial, Manufacturing and Process Engineering, Ergonomics, Operator Training, Six Sigma, Kaizen, SMED and 5S initiatives.
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