Understanding Change in a Quality Culture

Clock with time for change written on itIn any improvement process, managing the influence of change and the anti-change culture that will continually try to raise its head will be one of the most ardent tasks. Learn to deal with this as effectively as you do the project management itself. There are many well-written books on the subject of change in every category of change that you could imagine. Below is a compiled list of items about change that are relevant to implementing process change.

When examining change it is necessary to understand the stages of change that have been identified. It is interesting to note that these stages take place in varying degrees in different people, but are exactly the same whether the change is a different process in the workplace or the death of someone close. You should be able to identify and deal with the levels of acceptance encountered. Here are the stages and some tips on how to deal with them.

Denial

A wonderful self-preservation response. It is characterised by minimising the situation, and saying (or thinking) things like “This isn’t happening”, “It won’t help”, and “There’s no problem.” You may find the person will avoid talking about the situation, or even make up excuses for not attending meetings.

  • Explain the denial to commitment process that you went through to get where you are.
  • Present the situation openly and allow a lot of time for questions and answers.
  • Have a training session on change management.
  • Present a caring and understanding front. Though this may not be your normal attitude, during this process it will be invaluable.
  • Be a broken record with memos, thank you emails, posters, or anything else that presents your platform in a positive light.

Resistance

It is at this stage that you may see the active signs of sabotage. They may be passive, as in “I’ll just do it my way anyway”, along with a lot of whining-crabbing about the new systems. Or they may manifest in physical methods of sabotage depending on the character of the person. Be aware that these are real threats to the success of any project. But for the most part, those who fall into this category will show a lack of interest and a lot of time spent on finding reasons it won’t work.

  • Listen! And I mean listen. You can hear more in the tone and inflection of what is being said as well as the body language than you can imagine.
  • Solicit Response. People love to know that they are being heard and even more that their suggestions are valid. Many of them are. These are the people who will make or break the installation, let them know they have input to the outcome.
  • Acknowledge Feelings. Let them know you went through a similar process in getting where you are. Validate that they are not alone.

Exploration

People will begin to see some of the good that may occur in the situation, and will generally vacillate between thinking that it might be ok and that it is still a bad idea. But, the up side is that you are beginning to get them on your side and they will begin to make effort to get the changes in place.

  • Facilitate. People are more open at this point. Take advantage of it. Be your own commercial! Challenge people to find a better way within the new system. It gets them thinking about the next round of change and off the current.
  • Reward forward thinking with mounds of compliments. Praise the desired behaviour.
  • Seek out new possibilities. Have brainstorming sessions. It does wonders for everyone’s moral.

Commitment

You’ve got buy-in and will see productivity through the changes. People can see the bigger picture and the opportunity that the change affords.

When dealing with this from a management point of view, it is important to remember several things. These feelings are very real and they happen at different times for different areas of the organisation. Do not expect to spend several months agonising over the commitment to purchase expensive software only to turn around and expect everyone else to do a Tarzan swing from denial to commitment in a week. Remember the process you had to get through in order to accept the change. Others will require the same; allow the process to manifest itself in others. You can facilitate the process by understanding it and helping others to get through.

  • Recognise and acknowledge those who get there. Give them more opportunity to improve the process and celebrate their victories.
  • Inspire people to get others on board. Teach them about the process and how to recognise the people in various stages and how to move them along.
  • CELEBRATE!!!!! Most important. When you have achieved goals, let everyone know and celebrate, celebrate, celebrate. When people know their efforts will be recognised and appreciated, you will have fewer problems in future change.

Remember that we have a tremendous amount of information to process every day. There is more information in a single daily paper today than a person in the 15th century processed in a lifetime. Change takes form in one of three types; that which we cannot control, that which we can, and that which we can influence. Being positive and trying to move things from cannot control to can influence helps in the ability to manage the changes that occur. But, there will always be those things you cannot control and acceptance of that fact is the only road to remaining sane.

Source: http://www.projectsmart.co.uk ,  John W. Wright III
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Tips for Improvement of Quality in your company

No doubt, we live in an imperfect world: People make mistakes and machines break. The goal is to minimize this so that the client is enchanted and reorders. You can do that through a relentless focus on quality. Improving quality will save your firm money because you won’t need to do things to cover up old mistakes. Improving quality will raise your employees’ engagement because people like being on a high performance team.

How do you make sure quality is exceptional at your firm? Here are  tips to improve quality fast.

Measure and Measure Some More

Two key performance indicators (KPIs) you should deploy today are quality escapes and quality captured. Determine which bucket quality mistakes fall into. The first bucket is comprised of mistakes that were internally “captured” by your team so the client was never aware of them. Captured quality errors aren’t as bad because the client never knew — maybe they suffered a delayed delivery, but that’s it. Your client is not injured by the stumble.

The second bucket consists of quality issues that “escaped” your operation and were discovered by the client. These escaped quality defects are horrific. Your client is exposed to your firm’s failure, which undermines the long term vendor relationship. But measuring these mistakes transparently will bring your team’s attention to these issues and you’ll see improvement from the spotlight effect: The team will understand they are important.

Focus on Process,  Not People

Every employee comes to work to do a good job. In most cases, the defect is the process, not the person you trust. Remember that, and fix it by adding process steps or new checks to the system. Don’t make it a game of “who screwed this up?” That will deflate the team. Everyone will cower in fear and point fingers without ever getting to the root cause.

Meet Weekly

Initially the meetings will be long and tedious. You need to discuss with all the players each quality issue that occurred, and get to the root cause. Over time–less time than you think–the meetings will get shorter, as processes are strengthened and systems get more robust. Confidence will build as people see the systems are catching errors and eliminating heartburn.

Create a Quality Chart

Sort the biggest quality issues by category and focus in on the big issues. Work them till they get to be small issues. Don’t focus as much time on the unusual quality issues; spend your time in the places with the most frequent problems.

Make It Public

Place your quality results in your lunchroom. Everyone should see this is a company emphasis and you want to improve in a transparent way. The daily, visible reminder will demonstrate your commitment to quality to the people who impact it every day: your team.

source: http://www.inc.com

Manufacturing Trends in 2015

Manufacturing Trends that will Shape the Market in 2015

Greater automation and investment driven by accelerated production cycles, advanced technology and changing labor demographics will continue to revolutionize the industry

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As 2015 approaches it’s time to look ahead at emerging trends that will impact 21stcentury manufacturing around the globe.

The entire supply chain ecosystem — encompassing manufacturers, distributors and retailers — is undergoing a business transformation. This is in response to changing dynamics involving shifting consumer expectations, time to market and intense global competition that is being dictated by the rising Internet and mobile economies.

Advances in technology — coupled with changing labor demographics — are proving to be the lynchpin shaping this new business model. To remain economically viable, retailers must sell products faster and at competitive prices which sends a ripple effect down the supply chain. For example, manufacturers must accelerate production cycles and distributors must shorten delivery times.

Stakeholders throughout the supply chain have no choice but to adjust their business models to meet consumer demand and increase profits. However, technology is helping businesses stay relevant in these changing times. Let’s take a look at five manufacturing trends that will impact the industry in 2015:

  1. ‘SMAC Stack’ adoption to gain speed.A manufacturing comeback is being driven by SMAC — social, mobile, analytics and cloud. The SMAC Stack is becoming an essential technology tool kit for enterprises and represents the next wave for driving higher customer engagement and growth opportunities. The need to innovate is forcing cultural change within a historically conservative “if it’s not broke don’t fix it” industry, and SMAC is helping early adopters in the manufacturing market increase efficiencies and change.
  2. Social media to further impact business model innovation. According to an IDC white paper, “The Future of Manufacturing,” sponsored by Infor, social media is forcing manufacturers to become more customer-centric. The traditional business-to-business model is becoming outdated because today’s connected consumers are better informed and expect products on-demand. Consumers compare, select or buy multiple products with a tap of their smartphone or tablet, and social media has become their preferred communication platform. This consumer purchasing style is not only having an impact on brand-oriented value chains, but is transforming traditional B2B to B2B2C models.
  3. Internet of Things (IoT) will increase automation and job opportunities.A renewed focus on science and engineering education is cultivating a manufacturing workforce that can manage highly technical systems and allow for greater automation. This frees up employees to put their talents to work on R&D which is helping to redefine what it means to have a career in manufacturing. In addition, IoT allows for condition-based maintenance which is driving efficiencies as businesses save on labor and service costs.
  4. Greater capital investment.Though the slow economic recovery continues to hinder expansion and growth opportunities, recent government and industry reports show an uptick in capital investment funding. As manufacturers become focused on capturing value through innovation, original design and speed to market, they are increasing spend for upgrading plant, equipment and technologies.
  5. The emergence of “Next-Shoring.”The rise of a more technical labor force to manage supply chain operations — combined with rising wages in Asia, higher shipping costs and the need to accelerate time to market to meet retailer and consumer demands — has led to more companies shifting their manufacturing strategies from outsourcing overseas to developing products closer to where they will be sold. “Next-shoring,” as this tactic has been dubbed, allows manufacturers to increase the speed at which product is replenished on store shelves. The faster inventory can be moved to the consumer, the sooner the costs to warehouse, ship and dock goods can be freed up.

These are a few of the game-changing trends expected to impact manufacturing in 2015 and it will be exciting to watch which take off as the industry continues to evolve.

source: http://www.industryweek.com

Internal Auditing – How Often ?

Any organisation/business is required to conduct internal audits to maintain its ISO9001 standard. The audit involves testing out company processes and procedures to determine the standard at which they operate when compared to how they should work. Audits are designed to help employees but the mere mention of the word can see your staff sent into a panic, scrambling around to make everything look perfect. However, communicating yourself well to your staff on the benefit of the audits, and letting them know that this is not a finger pointing exercise, can serve well to make these audits more positive.

Internal audits should be viewed in a positive light, a chance to take a step back and have your process reviewed by a fresh set of objective eyes. They are an ideal way to prepare for external assessment too. In some ways internal assessments can be more thorough as processes are examined more closely, more frequently and in greater detail than external auditors.

ISO 9001 does not specify how often internal audits should be conducted. Instead, the requirements are that organisations audit based on how important a process is, the risks involved and whether there is an existing record of previous concerns. Consideration should also be given to quality objectives as these can dictate audit frequency. At the least, internal audits should be carried out annually. There are two ways around this – auditors may decide to review processes in one go, or they may portion off aspects and have a plan which details the schedule over a number of months. Complex processes may require more frequent assessment and this should be built into an internal audit plan.

The audit plan removes the need for panic and helps eliminate an atmosphere of mistrust. It lets everyone know what will be happening and when, as well as allowing process owners time to complete any improvements that may be taking place. Although the audit plan is made general knowledge, the detail relating to timings should be confirmed with respective process owners as soon as is possible.

The internal audit should not be seen as second string to an external audit and for that reason it needs to be as thorough as possible. Appointed auditors may benefit from some training and development to support them in getting the best out of the process. Auditors should apply a variety of methods to test the process including talking to employees, reviewing data and relevant documentation as well as and perhaps most importantly observing the process in practice. Part of being thorough is keeping accurate documentation that is a true reflection of the findings, for both management and future audits.

The aim of the audit should not be to purely report non-conformance, but auditors should also use the opportunity to highlight areas of a process which may benefit from change. Therefore as important as the audit is the follow up. Follow ups are critical to ensuring that the audit cycle is closed off, and they are also a great motivating factor for further improvements.

source: http://synergosconsultancy.co.uk

Main Steps to Improve Manufacturing Quality

There is no better cost to eliminate than the cost of poor quality.

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Good managers seek to contain costs in the manufacturing environment. There is no better cost to eliminate than the cost of poor quality. Scrap material and lost labor hours add no value to the operation.

In order to best eliminate these wastes, a strategic approach to quality improvement is essential. By following these five steps, quality can be improved in a meaningful, sustainable way.

Use a team mindset

Quality won’t be sustainably improved by individuals. To really make lasting and meaningful change in manufacturing processes, it will take a team-based approach. By involving multiple disciplines in the search for improved quality, a variety of perspectives is obtained. Also of importance is knowledge of process history. Why is the process the way it is today? There must be a reason or cause, and that reason should be considered so as not to repeat a problem of days gone by. By considering history and group perspective, solid improvements can be obtained.

Define quality from the customer perspective

Too often, staff within a manufacturing environment want to make a product “better” but don’t really know what better means. With additional cost, we almost always can make a product better. But is additional cost desirable by the customer even if it means better product life? Someone in the organization should serve as the customer advocate. Typically this voice can come from the sales or marketing departments. Use the customers’ perspective to define what the best-in-class product would be and meet those requirements while minimizing cost.

Develop understanding of the Cost of Quality

The cost to fix a defect in the field once it reaches a customer is dramatically higher than the cost to fix the source of the problem before it is created. It is essential that the manufacturing staff be trained to understand the cost multipliers involved with warranty repair or replacement and cost of damaged reputation. Once the staff take this perspective, a desire to find root cause for problem solving is inherently developed.

Solve problems completely

All too often, manufacturing quality improvements fix the symptoms of failure rather than the root cause. This can be done by adding quality inspection steps or rework stations that make it more efficient to fix defects. Instead, a true understanding of root cause should be developed within the teams. When teams develop the ability (through Ishikawa, fault tree, or five-why analysis) to ascertain root cause of defects in the manufacturing process along with a “killer test” that verifies the ability to turn-on and turn-off the problem in the manufacturing process, true solutions to problems will be created that will not allow the return of the issue.

Employ strong process discipline

Throughout the quality improvement process, it is essential that strong process discipline is employed. Depending on the product that is being manufactured, deviation without proper team cooperation and anticipation of the change could have dire quality repercussions. While the organization should avoid cumbersome bureaucracy that inhibits innovation, it is essential that some structure be employed to maintain consistency and an understanding of the way the product is produced during that time period so that root cause can also be identified later if new problems arise as a consequence of the change.

By following these above steps, good management teams can develop great quality programs within their organizations.

source: http://www.industryweek.com

Is Your Management Style Effective?

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Is Your Management Style Effective?
When it comes to management, half the battle is knowing when to use the right management style. Some styles tend to focus on people, while others gravitate toward a specific project or product. The management style that ends up working in a particular situation depends on your people skills, knowledge, resources available to you, and the results you’d like to achieve.
It’s important to choose the right management style for each situation. Without styles that align with certain circumstances, you may find your business moving more slowly and making costly mistakes.

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