In my first newsletter I addressed the importance of economic success in cultural change. In order to achieve this both quickly and sustainably, low-waste processes are needed, which are best developed and introduced by the employees themselves.
Clearly structure processes and
secure them through Quality Gates
Stage gate processes are mainly known from research & development. Each project phase is followed by a Quality Gate in which specific criteria are used to check whether the project is allowed to enter the next phase or not. However, the same can also be introduced for other processes. The order fulfillment process is a wonderful example.
Solving problems at the place of origin
Orders may only be forwarded to the next processing phase if all gate criteria are fulfilled. Consequently, all information and intermediate results relevant for this Quality Gate must be available without errors. If this is not the case, the order remains in the current phase until all criteria are fulfilled. The added value of so-called Quality Gates lies in the fact that problems can no longer be passed to subsequent project or order phases. The pain thus remains where the problem was created.
Measuring the performance of processes & Quality Gates
In order to make the success of each stage & gate visible, suitable process key figures are required. These can be, for example, cycle times, on time delivery or turnbacks. It is less important how good the KPIs are when the new processes and Quality Gates are introduced. Rather, it is important that the key performance indicators develop positively.
Continuous improvement makes the organization succeed
In order to improve step by step, consistent monitoring of the KPIs and an associated deviation management are required. A target value is defined for each key figure and it is continuously checked whether it has been achieved or not. In the event of negative deviations, countermeasures are initiated immediately and pursued consistently. This is accompanied by a regular review and adjustment of the targets. Such a CIP process is a basic prerequisite for economic success. And this, in turn, is a MUST, so that your cultural change is taken seriously and becomes firmly established in the company.
Visualization creates transparency and arouses interest
Processes, gate criteria, key figures and measures should be visualized clearly and visibly for all parties involved. But that does not mean that process manuals are posted on the notice board. No, an order board is needed which is structured with the help of the process phases and Quality Gates. On the wall, the orders, which are specified on small cards with all relevant data, move clearly visible from one phase to the next. The KPI graphics are up to date and visible, as are the derived measures with the names of those responsible and the target date. The measures can relate to individual orders as well as to the improvement of processes or process phases.
Regular communication creates trust
In regular communication, gate decisions are made daily or weekly by the responsible Quality Gates Keepers – in front of the order board. It is important that the responsibility remains with the managers and is not deligated to the team. Each order card is updated and replaced personally by the manager. This may sound elaborate, but it strengthens the sense of responsibility and interest in what is happening down to earth. It doesn’t matter whether there are sub-processes that are carried out in your own functional area or in a neighboring department. The entire phase is in the accountability of a manager who has to ensure that the processes work smmothly and successfully. The Matrix is alive!
Make it work!
Greetings from Lake Constance