Systematic Process Design

Our newsletters provide information on business management systems and process improvement methods. These systems include our services such as ISO 9001 Management System, AS9100 Aviation, Space and Defense, TS 16949 Automotive, ISO 27001 Information Security, ISO 13485 Medical Devices, and ISO 14001 Environmental Management Standards, and more!

Further subjects include methods of performance improvement such as Six Sigma, Lean Enterprise, and other topics of interest to our readers.

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Systematic Operational Process Design
Systemic issues that can be the cause of product or service failure are often the result of a lack of a systemic approach for process design, management, and improvement. Too often people get blamed for adverse customer outcomes when it is the process that has not been properly designed to meet the requirements of the customer and other stakeholders.

A well designed organizational-wide Operational System supported by real time in-process performance measurement, such as dashboards or scorecards, contributed by front-line employees, can proactively serve to control and manage key work systems and processes. These interactions are used to reduce customer complaints, achieve the desired results and minimize defects, as well as improve productivity and efficiency.

Measurement, Performance Analysis and Knowledge Management

An effective Organizational Management System is supported by a robust Performance Measurement System that includes data and information for tracking daily operations, as well as progress on achieving strategic quality objectives and action plans.
Often over reaction by management to variation in data without a cyclical systematic Performance Analysis and Review Process, can lead organizations to focus on fire-fighting and micromanaging the “problem of the day”.

Sound Familiar? In fact this situation, where the senior and mid-level managers spend majority of their time to put out fires, prevails in most firms .This is “normal” to many in those circumstances. As a result, the managers and shop floor associates don’t bother to find a solution to the issue together. They are used to seeing all the decisions coming from the respective manager, or the engineering team from another separate department.

Over time, a systematic approach for applying “lessons learned” from repeated cycles of continuous improvement can help to build and leverage organizational knowledge.As data is translated into information and used for decision making, organizational learning can be embedded through the transfer of workforce knowledge and utilized in the innovation and strategic planning processes as a strategic advantage and opportunity.

Metrics should reflect an overall performance of customer satisfaction, feedback from interested parties – Employees!, key work systems, process performance and action plans to address risks and opportunities.

Linking and Alignment with Strategy and Engagement

A well designed Management System strategically links business work systems and processes to supporting the overall organizational strategy, as well as aligning the Workforce through relationship management and engagement.

The most well-conceived strategy and action plans can be ineffective if there is a failure to link to the organization’s performance management system for motivation and incentive engagement with the Workforce. The importance of quality management as a leadership driver cannot be overemphasized. The alignment and integration with organizational strategy and relationship engagement can make the difference between a dysfunctional culture and the ability to achieve sustained breakthrough world class performance excellence.

When expectations are established by management and employees, questions such as “why did this happened and what are you doing about it” surfaces, they will take ownership of the issues and find the solutions. The management is there only to counsel and make sure this process works. Then senior management now can focus their attention to strategic issues such as business growth and customer relationship.

Interested in further information and application? View our Breakthrough Improvement Model and Contact Us to learn more.

Customer Complaint Resolution
Complaints communicate customer perceptions of quality, and compose the largest determinant of customer satisfaction-Period! Unfortunately, the majority of complaint systems are completely reactive: You’re not reaching out to your customer—you’re relying on the customer to reach out to you. This is a risk laden proposition and for every complaint your organization receives, there may be four, five or more you’ll never ever know about.
Because of its reactive nature, a complaint system should be used in combination with one or two proactive tools. Here are some suggestions to help you implement an effective system that is capable of improving your customer satisfaction connection.

Get the Details!

In addition to your customer service personnel expressing empathy, the person receiving the complaint must gather the correct details. Exactly what went wrong? Allow the customer to provide a general description, then begin to drill down. Typical information includes the following details:
  • What was the exact nature of the problem? Generalities won’t cut it. The problem statement must provide enough detail and depth to facilitate investigation.
  • When did the problem occur? The date is certainly necessary, as might also be the time.
  • Where did the problem occur? The state, city, plant, retail outlet, department, production line and machine all might be important.
  • Who was involved in the situation? What roles did they play?
  • What product was involved? What were the part or style numbers?
  • Were there any specific batch numbers, serial numbers or other identifiers that provide traceability?
  • Was the problem isolated or generalized across all products?
Consistently gathering this expansion of information is difficult without a structured format. Most organizations custom-design complaint forms based on their individual needs and the most effective forms allow customers to go online and submit. Decide exactly what information you need to investigate customer complaints and take effective corrective action; then design your form around these needs.
Guidelines for Employee Engagement
Building Success through People.
The term “people engagement” has been around for a couple of decades and is an often used buzzword, yet many organizations and managers are not entirely sure what it means. People engagement means much more than being present as an employee; it means making an active contribution, feeling genuinely valued and achieving quality outcomes for your organization.
ISO 10018:2020 Quality Management – Guidance for People Engagement recognizes that it can be difficult encouraging staff to take up quality management systems and understand how they are relevant to their daily work. By focusing on better integration of engagement strategies, the standard provides a framework to enhance people’s involvement and competence within an organization, helping them to feel a valued part of it.

Staff competence and development should be a collective aspect of the organization and not just for specific individuals. People need to see the connection between their current work and how further training can provide more opportunities within the organization. If they see that their organization is investing in their skills through training and other career tracks, they will feel engaged.

So what organizations can benefit? ISO 10018 is applicable to any organization, regardless of its size, type or activity. Aimed at bringing quality management principles down to staff level, the standard is designed to be regularly referred to and not simply handed to employees in binders and then left to gather dust on the shelf.

You can purchase ISO 10018:2020 Quality Management – Guidance for People Engagement at the ANSI Webstore Here.

Performance Metrics
Performance metrics are a vital part of managing an organization. Many organizations have a tendency to select metrics by copying what competitors measure, what is read in the business press, and what benchmarked firms are using.
The best organizational metrics keep their focus on its strategic direction, not the direction in which others are going. Organizations should:
  • Define a competitive vision and a strategy to achieve it,
  • Set objectives aligned to the vision and strategy,
  • Create processes to deliver on that vision,
  • Set metrics that will monitor how well they are doing on the objectives. That will allow those managing the processes to keep them going in the right direction, and
  • Revise them over time to account for changes that impact their potential value.
A simple but important step in metrics selection is applying the Pareto Principle to ensure the critical measures are available, while not spending a lot of non-value added time on unnecessary noise.

The types of metrics and the right mix of metrics drives effective outcomes. For example, some metrics should focus on customer needs (externally focused, effectiveness metrics) and some on organizational needs (internally focused, efficiency metrics) so the organization can effectively balance the management of resources used to achieve the market results. An organization with high customer satisfaction with operating costs that create negative profitability, is not going to be a sustainable business.

Some metrics should be able to evaluate results (outcome or lagging metrics), while others should allow proactive management of the vital factors (process or leading metrics) that create those outcomes. For example, on-time delivery (an outcome) might be significantly impacted by equipment reliability, or available personnel (leading indicators for delivery performance).

Once the desired metrics have been identified, effective decisions must be made regarding:
  • Who owns the metric?
  • Where will the data be acquired and how often?
  • How might the raw data be manipulated (normalized) to allow more equivalent comparisons over time?
  • How often should the metrics be reported and analyzed for decision making?
Although this may sound simple, we find that many organizations waver on creating operational definitions of what a metric details. In other words, what is meant by the terms as expressed in mathematical terms (for example, numerator, denominator and time boundaries)?  A company might ask, “What is meant by on-time delivery? When it is picked up by the carrier, or when it arrives at the target location? Take the time to define common metric language. If not sure, ask your associates for the definition, you maybe very surprised to hear the differences.
In The News
Year 2021–2022 Baldrige Excellence Framework (Business/Nonprofit) Now Available
The revision features a renewed focus on organizational resilience, equity, and the fourth industrial revolution. Whether used as guidance in establishing an integrated performance management system or for self-assessing progress, Baldrige is about helping your organization innovate and improve, no matter your size or sector.
You can purchase the 2021–2022 Baldrige Excellence Framework on the NIST Website Here.

Four Indicators to Watch in Covid-19 Economic Recovery

Gallup Economics of Recovery study tracks four key indicators unavailable from government sources of economic data that are important for assessing Americans’ ability and willingness to participate in the country’s economy as consumers and employees amid the pandemic.
Training Courses
Due to COVID-19 Virus course scheduling is currently suspended. Let us know if you have an onsite Year 2021 training need, we can deliver! Stay Safe.
All courses can be delivered at your company or at our training centers. We do provide training beyond our home state of Arizona.

Click on the course title for description, schedule, registration and payment. Group discounts are available. We also provide custom designed training to fit your specific needs. All training is fully documented for your training records and certificates of training are awarded.

Make a Difference in 2021!
At this time of the New Year it is natural to reflect on your annual performance and set personal and business goals for the upcoming year.

The question is what kind of results do you want to create for yourself and your business? Do you have customers coming back for more of your product or service? Do you have a set of ideal customers you want to cultivate? Are your business processes in control and capable of producing what you and your customers require on a continuous basis?

Within this pandemic business environment, it is even more important now to identify mutual win-win relationships with others, and to break out of your normal communications with your suppliers to identify how each of us can support one another during these times.

The demands of today’s business environment have caused many of us to shift our approach from thinking as a professional to acting as an entrepreneur. Avoiding past mistakes and taking the time to plan your next moves can make the difference between an exceptional year, and a mediocre year for you and your organization.

Best regards,
Walter Tighe and SES Team  

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