CI Tools

Do you really want to go back to normal? Business as usual, will not going to cut it anymore.

These days you can hear the phrase when we go back to normal, dozens of times a day.  We all want to return to our normal lives, right?

As a lean practitioner, I believe that each event is a learning opportunity, the coronavirus pandemic is no different.  During these slower days, there is time to learn new things and plan for the future.  Lean is all about learning, experimenting, and adapting.  That is just what everybody needs to learn now.  Every day I read about how people are adapting to the new normal, and many are using lean or continuous improvement thinking without knowing it.  For me, at this moment, Lean style problem solving is the on-demand skill.

I am not the only one that thinks that way.  Last year, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD), published Indiana’s Employability Skills Benchmarks.  It describes a set of 18 workplace skills recommended for success in today’s competitive workforce.  One of the skills identified in the learning strategies category is problem-solving.  

The way each business adapts the operation to comply with the CDC guidelines is unique.   The solutions are not one-size-fits-all, and on top of that, those guidelines change as they gathered more information.   Learning how to use a systematic process like PDCA and apply lean thinking is critical to identify and implement the new operational guidelines for your business.  

This situation catches most people without the skills to learn and adapt, but it is never late to start.  You are on time to start using lean thinking to approach the current challenges.  With practice, you can build that muscle memory that will guide you through times like this.  The new normal then should be something better than before the coronavirus pandemic.  It is like when you create the future state value-stream-map, imagine a better and stronger business and plan how to make it happen!  Many will go back to business as usual, your competitive advantage will be your new way to do business.

Better Process Solutions can help you to start designing your new processes, get in touch!

Customer Satisfaction

Do you know what is the best thing you can do to achieve Customer Satisfaction?

If you have a business, then you know how important it is to know how much the customers like your service or product. They are the best source for learning about improvement opportunities, their ideas tell you what needs to be improved, and sometimes they even suggest solutions. You need to listen to the Voice of the Customer, if you and your team understand this, you won half of the battle, already.

I remember a situation years ago when one of our most important clients was complaining about a recurring problem. The plant was consistently delivering late, causing them problems with their customers. The root cause analysis pointed to the packaging department, where the team was encouraged to have larger runs. Their goal was to avoid changing products to minimize downtime.

In a different case, the warehouse team was ignoring the 360º inspection before shipping to save time. The customer was receiving products with defects. They wanted to achieve the goal of two hours trucks turn around. The problem with these two examples is that neither of those team leaders understood the relationship between what they do and customer satisfaction.

As a business owner, you need to ensure that your business strategy and goals are aligned. Your team must know the priorities. Encourage asking questions when they have doubts. Talked with them about customer expectations and how their work affects them.

The best thing you can do to achieve your customer satisfaction goals is to accept that your team is first. It has to be a priority for you to train and develop your people. Provide them with the tools and information they need to do their job and opportunities to learn more and grow. If the team feels appreciated, they will be your secret weapon to achieve success. When you take care of your team, they take care of the customers.