fOS Part IV – Management Systems: Exactly How Good Are you? And What Are You Going to Do About It?

Manuficient Consulting fOS Part IV - Management Systems

Manuficient Consulting
fOS Part IV – Management Systems

You may not be at all surprised by this, but I’d like to begin this post with my top five quotes about management:

5) “The secret to winning is constant, consistent management.” – Tom Landry

4) “The show doesn’t go on because it’s ready; it goes on because it’s 11:30.” – Lorne Michaels

3) “Unfortunately it’s also true to say that good management is a bit like oxygen – it’s invisible and you don’t notice its presence until it’s gone, and then you’re sorry.” – Charles Stross

2) “What’s measured improves.” – Peter Drucker

1) “All organizations are perfectly designed to get the results they are now getting. If we want different results, we must change the way we do things.”  ― Tom Northup

To throw in a bonus, I’ll include a quote that I’ve heard often, especially in the later years of undergrad and graduate school: “Managers do things right: leaders do the right thing.” – Unknown. From that I’ve always put more energy into developing leadership skills. However, in the decade or so since college, I’ve come to appreciate the value and importance of effective management. Lets face it, the most brilliant ideas and strategies are just that – ideas, until you can manage them into fruition.

I’ve been very fortunate to work for and with some of the most talented managers and most successful companies in the world. I’ve also worked for and with some managers who I would definitely not classify as great. As a disclaimer, the common thread among great managers is the same with great leaders…its their ability to get people to work hard and like it. Unfortunately, that is a skill that is extremely difficult if not impossible to teach. However there are some teachable skills that can help a manufacturing manager achieve World Class Execution, which is the goal of the fOS Methodology.

There are three main components of fOS Management Systems:

1) Performance Analysis & Reporting

fOS - Management Systems - Performance Communication

In the Planning quadrant of the fOS Methodology, we talked about the importance of setting goals, which are transcribed into performance standards. In this quadrant, we look at measuring actual performance against those standards and establishing a systematic communication structure to make sure that performance information is effectively communicated. This could be a combination of electronically, one-on-one, one-to-many, focus groups, 10-minute touch points, or whatever mix works best within the structure of your specific operation. The communication structure needs to ensure that the performance information is communicated in an actionable manner. This means that not only the right metrics should be used, but the timing of delivery should give the information recipient sufficient time to take the action necessary, ideally to prevent an issue from becoming a problem.

2) Corrective Management

fOS - Management Systems - Corrective Management

Not many things erode a culture of performance like insufficient response to issues. I look at two categories of issues: one is chronic issues, which can be worked around but still nag people and process performance; and the other is imminent issues that pose a immediate threat to schedule adherence. Both of these types of issues need to have a systematic escalation process which involves all levels in the factory at the appropriate interval. Operators are your first line of defense and should be equipped with the training and skills to permanently resolve every issue if possible. Support and management should be capable of providing deeper levels of analysis and resources needed to completely and permanently resolve issues as well. Notice the word choice…the goal is to resolve the issue permanently, even if not immediately. This is always a tough call for a manager who is dealing with immense pressure to hit schedule for the day or control costs for the current cycle. This is where someone has to stick their neck out to do the “right thing”, even if it means making higher-ups or a customer feel a little uncomfortable. As a manager, you may feel you’re getting ahead in the short run by putting a band-aid on an issue..but that issue plus tomorrows issue plus the next day’s issue create a snowball effect that eventually sets you into crisis mode and life quickly becomes quite miserable. Better to fix issues permanently as they arise and make that not only the expectation, but part of the culture.

3) Predictive Management

fOS - Management Systems - Predictive Management

A vast majority of “future issues” come as no surprise to the managers of a manufacturing organization. Most often, these future issues, or changes are known long in advance but mostly ignored because managers become overwhelmed with the crisis of the day or some other distraction. One of the most common reasons this occurs is that a surprisingly high percentage of managers work at one or two levels lower than their job title. One example would be a Supervisor spending a good deal of each day performing tasks that should be done by a Lead or Machine Operator. In these cases, that Supervisor is taking his “eye off the ball”. This happens for many reasons, ie. the manager was really good at his previous role and hasn’t grown out of it, the manager doesn’t trust that her team will perform their work effectively, the manager just doesn’t have the skills needed to be a manager and needs to score points in other ways, etc… Either way, effective management requires not getting too deep into the weeds of manufacturing and applying resources to address changes coming down the road in a way that sustains or improves current performance levels. This also helps to develop your people to build skills and take on more responsibility.

In summary, the objective of the Management Systems quadrant is to outline and assess the role of management in World Class Manufacturing Execution. Effective management not only quickly identifies current issues and takes the appropriate corrective action, but also takes appropriate preventative action for known future events that may impact performance. This is the step that not only helps the manufacturing process to achieve World Class Execution, but ensure that excellent performance is sustained.

Visit the Manuficient site for more details on this topic.

Also, visit my Profile for tools to help you along the way in your continuous improvement journey.

Best Regards,

Calvin L. Williams, MBA, BSIE, LSS

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