Although a major project can generate a step changes in competitive advantage, the organisation cannot stand still. At the end of the project the staff must always go into 'refinement' mode. Detailed processes and procedures can be improved to achieve ever better results. BISC have made a science of this phase of continuous improvement using Lean, Six Sigma, Just in Time, Kaizen and Total Quality methods.
Continuous improvement is always a relevant strategy. When major change has just been completed or when none is planned, it is important to reinforce staff motivation by encouraging them to suggest, refine and implement improvements. Our clients have shown that orders of magnitude improvement can be made in minor process tasks at low cost, because staff understand what gives them trouble and delays them. Once they have been trained and are given management support to 'have a go', they will develop effective and innovative ways of solving the problems, benefitting both the company and reinforcing team support. Some mistakes will be made, so their scope of change authority should be limited, but overall the company will win because of the involvement and commitment this approach can generate.
The examples of BISC projects below demonstrate this:-
An international manufacturer of cash handling systems wanted to introduce cellular working to a workforce used to traditional batch style production. We developed a bespoke course to train the cell team and the the support staff. This was presented in half day sessions over six weeks, at the end of which pilot production started and almost at once refinements were suggested at the daily review meetings which rapidly polished the way in which the cell worked and allowed the company to change from 'make to stock' to 'make to order' with significant stock reductions and a greatly improved customer service record.
An UK furniture manufacturer wanted to address new markets by reducing the lead time to make bespoke products. BISC acted as the project facilitator to train the appointed team in new techniques and to prompt their imagination as to what could be attempted. After two months the team designed cell went live, shortly followed by new production planning and control procedures. With tuning these enabled the lead time to be reduced to 5 days (including delivery) enabling the company to win new business.
A company making products that were specially printed with the customer logo, needed to reduce stock and damage whilst improving service. Our consultant worked with the staff to define a new order taking and production control method. This required a minor software change, but was quickly implemented because the staff involved thought up many refinements which virtually eliminated scrap and made 'make to order' fast enough to satisfy the most demanding customers.
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