My friend and senior consultant, Jon Thorne has written an excellent article that I wanted to share.
by Jon Thorne, Senior Consultant, Strategic Asset Management Inc.
Regardless of what your company manufactures, there are two essentials if you are to achieve both high product quality and superior customer satisfaction:
• How do you manage, maintain and measure your employees’ work…Behaviors?
• How do you manage, maintain and measure your equipment’s performance…Practices?
The road to achieving these two essential goals is almost always a bumpy path. Many organizations that we have worked with try to gain control of their work processes and equipment, without ever understanding or establishing the means to control the work and measure their outcomes over time.
So, before we get into talking about methods and strategies to help you improve maintenance workflow and better integrate equipment availability and reliability into your planning,
we have to talk about the biggest challenge you and your company face — How do you develop and maintain a strong, viable work culture?
Change your Organizational Culture to change your results!
If you’ve ever heard any of the below statements within your organization…
• “This goes against our standard operating procedures.” • “We don’t have time to change the system.”
• “We’ve always done it this way.”
…it’s time to start examining your culture. It’s simply impossible to address organizational behaviors that encourage or discourage change without first understanding your organization’s culture.
So what is an organizational culture? Well, it’s the pattern of shared basic assumptions that your management team and employees have learned over time by solving the company’s internal and external challenges. It’s also how they perceive, think and feel about your company’s problems. And it’s about how they’ve historically addressed those problems.
• Cultural forces are very powerful because they operate outside of our conscious awareness. This is why individuals cannot consistently outperform their organization’s embedded culture. Even in the face of overwhelming challenges, people will continue to act according to their cultural assumptions, even when they do not correlate with actual performance.
• Cultures exist in stable states and will always revert to the state of lowest stress (comfort zone). Each state exhibits a predictable set of behaviors, i.e., sub-optimization, change resistance, risk aversion, etc.
It’s almost impossible to get just a little better and have that become a permanent stable state. This is why improvement initiatives often underperform and usually fail to sustain. The best work processes in the world are of little value unless the organization’s culture is aligned to support it. In other words, implementing any improvements requires aligning both your processes and behaviors. This is the single biggest challenge for your organization.
Engaged Leadership is THE Key to Success!
Leadership must set the example and hold staff accountable for the new direction and help everyone understand its value to the organization.
Through communications, training, ongoing coaching, process dicipline, and performance feedback, behaviors can change. Don’t expect them change all at once, and not everyone will progress at the same pace, but they will change.
• How will you know when the improvements are sustainable?
• As with almost everything else, behavior must be measured, and changes in behavior must be trended to ensure that improvement efforts are on the right track.
Once you have a good handle on your company’s current culture and how
its evolution can support new processes, you’ll be in
a much stronger position to evaluate your maintenance process and flow, your resources and the health of the equipment that supports it all.
Workflow and Maintenance: Models for Improvement
Once your company is on the road to cultural evolution or revolution, it’s time to assess your work products and the processes that support (or hinder) them based on your overarching business goals and objectives.
The model below shows the elements that must be fully implemented to gain control of your work process and the maintenance measures that support them.
The process begins by identifying the steps to be implemented and culminates by defining the most efficient use of available, but limited, resources (labor, materials, contractors, etc.).
Once your facility has mastered workflow, the focus shifts
to gaining control of the equipment. By systematically applying work-control efficiencies and proactively maintaining equipment, you’re effectively deploying your resources toward improved equipment availability and reliability.
As this model below illustrates, work control enables more work with the same level of labor resources. Equipment control allows a more effective application of fewer of those resources.
While the steps above offer a roadmap, your company will also need to establish a high order of discipline to fully implement your improved approach to efficiency.
This includes establishing clear responsibilities for every step of each element in the process, which will involve a good deal of training and practice.
You’ll also need to set up a viable management system to monitor and report key performance indicators (KPIs), key results indicators (KRIs) and the behaviors that sustain your improvement measures.
Successful organizations with productive employees and happy customers have robust work processes that are supported by disciplined behaviors that result in reliable and available equipment.
When they master how work flows and equipment is maintained, they are able to more proactively focus on sustaining and growing the new process and less and less on reactive work.
The bottom line is that in order to gain the most benefit from these processes (and practices), your organization’s culture and its attendant behaviors must be in synch with your plans and goals.
You can contact us directly or join our blog to learn more about how to attain and sustain improvements in your business. www.samicorp.com
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