Selecting a problem solving approach is one of the most important aspects to continuously improve and create sustainable processes. Having a standard process in place helps resolve problems at a faster pace and it enables your teams to overcome any roadblocks smoothly. In this article, we will go over a few of the common approaches that can help eliminate issues and keep your organization thriving.
Define the Problem
It is essential to define a problem accurately before you enter into the problem-solving lifecycle. A problem well-defined is a problem half-solved. Your team needs to scope the problem and clearly identify the pain points as opposed to rushing to a solution. Do we have a bottleneck in our process? Is your business losing revenue due to competition in the market? Once you’ve defined the problem to be solved, ideally, you can gather some data then shift to solutioning.
Now that the problem has been defined, we must quickly gather data to provide additional context to our problem. That data can be retrieved from internal systems of record such as a human resource management system, financial tracking tool, or dashboards and other metric reporting, such as PowerBI or Tableau reports. Alternatively, you might need to conduct some time and motion studies in order to have a proper picture of the current state.
Leverage Design Thinking
Design Thinking helps you reframe the problem from the perspective of the people involved in the problem - and most importantly, using an empathetic point of view to put yourself in their shoes. It helps you challenge underlying assumptions and generate ideas with a fresh perspective. Advantages with the Design Thinking approach include creating a prototype of the solution and testing it quickly to prevent the risks involved in implementing a big change.
Monitor for Success
After you’ve defined your problem and have strong, data-driven solutions in place, make sure you are monitoring your results so you know whether you are achieving your goals. Use the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle in order to continuously improve by establishing periodic checkpoints to review your progress; this in turn avoids wastes of money and resources.
Problem-solving is an ongoing process of improvement within organizations. It requires time and training, which cannot be provided by a simple overview of problem-solving techniques. Through Adonis’ Continuous Improvement program, we can help your organization tackle its most critical challenges by assisting you to establish such robust problem-solving frameworks.
Tiger teams are formed by assembling cross-functional team members to solve complex issues, often in areas of IT but can be extended to almost any area of the business when there’s an urgent need to bring focus to a challenge. One of the most notable tiger teams was created during the lunar landing of Apollo 13 when a service module malfunctioned. In this article, we will go over how to create a successful tiger team and what pitfalls your business should avoid when creating one.
Identify the Right Team Members
Just as tigers are agile, tiger teams can be used to solve challenges on anything from an application not running properly to addressing an underperforming project to restoring a client’s confidence in your ability to deliver. Because of the flexibility of tiger teams, identifying the right team of experts to tackle the issue at hand is of utmost importance.
Learn from Pilots
Piloting a solution, or small tests, are an important part of helping tiger teams identify the root cause of issues. In addition, pilots can also be a great way to learn what’s working and what’s not working when launching a new product or process. Pilots also help your team avoid making too much of an investment in an unsustainable idea, so don’t be shy in using them throughout the project lifecycle.
Risk Factors and What to Avoid
One major risk factor to consider with tiger teams is scope creep. Scope creep can occur when the team begins to address ideas or issues outside of the original challenge, making the team less efficient. To avoid this, ensure the challenge has been thoroughly identified, write it down, show it to leadership and look at it continuously. Another way to keep focus is to create a dashboard showing your progress. This is an artifact that can be shared with the key leaders and team weekly to manage expectations.
Creating a tiger team can help your organization develop a specialized team of experts to tackle complicated issues with a project or fast-track the resolution to a specific challenge. Here at Adonis, we provide program and project management services that will help you deliver a project on-time, on-budget, and ensure the end result creates value.
Standardization is a process where rules are created and used to govern how people in an organization complete different tasks. In this article, we will go over different types of standardization and the benefits that simple processes have on your business.
Customer Support Standardization
Customer support is one of the most important aspects of running a business, because it provides a direct line of communication between your business and customers. Standardizing how customer service operators should respond to certain requests or issues is one way that standardization leads to higher customer satisfaction. Further, it places less stress on customer support to come up with appropriate responses for customer inquiries.
Standardizing Through Automation Technologies
Whether you are utilizing Business Intelligence (BI) or implementing robotic process automation (RPA), standardization through technology is one of the best ways to standardize work and streamline processes in your business. Automation can also free up employees so that they can focus on more knowledge-based work, creating stronger employee engagement and improving quality throughout your processes.
Advantages of Standardization
Some of the biggest advantages of standardization include producing consistent quality products, increasing productivity, and eliminating the guesswork for employees when trying to figure out how to accomplish a given task. Standardization also reduces waste and increases employee morale. However, simplifying processes can also lead to monotony and a lack of creativity and create the opposite effect, so you may want to consider how to enable “freedom within a framework” such that employees still have some agency in how they approach situations.
Standardization and streamlining processes have business-wide implications and benefits that can help take your organization to the next level and increase efficiency. Here at Adonis, we provide Continuous Improvement services that can help your organization standardize and automate processes through Lean Six Sigma project as well as tools such as RPA.
5S is part of the Toyota Production System. 5S is meant to reduce waste and increase productivity by organizing spaces, keeping a clean work environment, and using visual cues to improve results. In this article, we will cover the five pillars of 5S and their benefits.
1. Sort (Seiri)
The first step of 5S aims to eliminate unnecessary items from the workplace that take up space. Sorting rids the workplace of broken tools and excess materials and is usually done visually by tagging unneeded items and removing them to reclaim floor space.
2. Set in Order (Seiton)
With the sorting out of the way, it’s time to focus on creating effective storage methods. Creating efficient storage methods allows employees to pick out needed items more easily - whether that’s a tool for maintenance or in an office space, to find needed information in a timely manner.
3. Shine (Seiso)
Once strategies for organization and storage are established, the next step is to make sure to clean the work environment. A clean work environment has the benefit of allowing employees to better identify issues with equipment or identify the most recent copy of a document in digital format.
4. Standardize (Seiketsu)
After completing the first three pillars, it’s important to create consistency in the workplace by implementing best practices. Some tools that can help standardize the workplace are checklists, start-up procedures, and visual cues such as placards.
5. Sustain (Shitsuke)
The last, and often considered the most difficult, pillar of 5S is maintaining all of the pillars you have already established. It can be helpful to create newsletters, manuals, signs, and performance reviews to sustain the practices put in place.
5S is a method for increasing productivity in the workplace and reducing waste by implementing its five pillars. Here at Adonis, we offer Lean/Sigma Coaching that will equip you with a deeper understanding of how to implement 5S through the Lean & Six Sigma toolkit.
Continuous Improvement (CI) is difficult to maintain under normal circumstances, never mind when unexpected challenges arise. In this article, we will tackle some ways in which your business can continue to improve, even when times are tough.
Stay Engaged with Your Teams
Continue talking with your employees to understand what challenges they are facing - and help them navigate through solving those problems. Engage leadership to determine what roadblocks can be removed to help the team be successful.
Create Realistically Achievable Goals
As tempting as it is to reach for the stars, having realistic, sustainable goals in place prevents employees from getting discouraged and setting your company up for unrealistic expectations of growth.
Be Mindful of those Affected by the Crisis
Whether it be clients, customers, or your own employees, be sensitive to the challenges they might be facing personally or professionally by providing support and resources.
Develop a Crisis Management Plan
Last but not least, having a developed set of guidelines to fall back on in difficult circumstances can help your business continue to operate smoothly even in times of crisis. Some steps that can be considered when developing guidelines include:
Of course, the most important aspect of maintaining CI during crisis is adaptability. Being flexible as the situation changes, or even your business model, will help keep your business growing. Adonis Partners can help your company adapt through our various CI Services, which are founded on proven Lean and Six Sigma practices.
What is TPM?
TPM, or Total Productive Maintenance, is a maintenance program that combines equipment maintenance with the manufacturing process. TPM was originally created by Seiichi Nakajima in Japan and was first implemented in 1971 by Nippondenso, a Toyota parts manufacturer. It has since been adopted and adapted by various organizations.
Since production relies so heavily on machines and equipment to get jobs done, the losses that can occur from any of the machines or equipment malfunctioning leads to a loss in productivity and money. TPM aims to minimize losses, increase production, and create higher job satisfaction by adopting a unique system which involves production operators in the maintenance process.
There are 6 main losses that TPM focuses on reducing:
TPM aims to eliminate these losses by implementing the 8 pillars of TPM, which are:
Why should you care?
TPM can reduce manufacturing costs by 30% and can also increase Overall Plant Efficiency (OPE). Aside from manufacturing costs and efficiency, it also saves time lost by trying to get a broken or idling machine moving. Most importantly, it helps the business run more smoothly, while also boosting morale and increasing safety for employees. Reducing the frustration placed on workers creates a better work environment and increases productivity. The focus on efficiency, equipment maintenance, and the employee satisfaction is what makes TPM a viable maintenance program to use in the production process.