By Christian Green, Kepner-Tregoe
Whether you are operating on the edge of chaos or with Six Sigma precision, Daily Management gives work teams a chance to review what lies ahead, what has happened (KPIs), and what constraints there are to success. Daily Management is a systematic approach to operations management that lets people know what is going on and what actions need to be taken. Reviewing daily KPIs with the team that oversees the processes driving operational performance can provide the reassurance that things are going as expected, and if they are not, the opportunity to act, today, before it gets worse.
It is easy to lose focus on an organization’s strategic goals and how they relate to everyday activity. With a systematic approach to daily management, everyone looks at relevant KPIs that reflect organizational goals and considers how they are achieved each day. Barriers to success are seen now, as molehills, rather than as mountains at the end of the month, quarter or year.
If your perception of Daily Management is more pain than stress-relieving gain, consider how you stand against these DM essentials.
1. Technology is in place that delivers the right metrics at the right time. This requires properly defined process measures and standards that can be gathered and reviewed in a timely fashion. Relevant metrics that accurately reflect the realities of workflows are essential. This ensures that daily jobs and daily objectives can be accomplished on a realistic, daily basis.
2. Teams have the ability to solve problems. People need to understand the type of problem at hand and the tools needed to resolve it. Escalating every problem to specialized problem solvers keeps teams from becoming fully invested in daily objectives. Providing the team with the capability and the time to help resolve issues builds commitment and focus. Giving the ability to conduct problem solving to those directly impacted is key.
3. The leadership is involved. What leaders do when performance falters sends a strong message to operational teams. Leaders cannot be stretched so thin that they can’t be involved in helping to tackle key issues. Management should model the commitment and behaviors around addressing issues that the Daily Management system expects from everyone.
4. Visualization is simple and focused. Information should be accessible at a glance, with more specific information available for detailed investigation. For example, colors easily indicate what is going according to plan and what is not; green says on target, red shows it missed the mark. While specifics are accessible and data is available for problem solving, leading with too much data and tracking too many KPIs adds stress and complexity to the Daily Management routine. Measure the basics that are important to the customer and to the organization.
5. Continuous Improvement changes are sustained. Too often improvement projects fail to be fully integrated into current workflows. As a new improvement project becomes the focus of activity, early successes can be forgotten when things go astray and people revert to previous habits. Continuing to monitor improvements through Daily Management helps to ensure the sustainability of improvement projects after changes have been implemented.
With clear standards for daily operations, problems become obvious and the actions needed to get back on track are realistic and attainable. Daily Management reduces the stress of sudden surprises, hidden problems, and unresolved issues by bringing clarity of purpose to the daily routine.
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