Companies need and demand fast results to be competitive! Since the late 1980s, top performing businesses have ventured into various operational improvement methodologies with mixed results. The marketing of methodologies promotes that “the new” approach is better, easier, or more sustaining – hence TQM, Six Sigma, Malcolm Baldrige, Lean Mfg, ISO 9000.
The “dirty little secret,” is that any of these methodologies effectively applied will advance a companies operational improvement goals!
Without arguing which “feature” of “what tool” is preferred, the basic premises to any successful operational improvement are:
- Know which processes, once improved, advance the business strategy.
- Clearly state the issue to be resolved.
- Use data to measure scope of the improvement opportunity.
- Determine solutions based on fixing the “right” thing – how a process is designed, executed or controlled.
- Plan and implement the improvement.
- Sustain the improvement over time.
If existing improvement methodologies subscribe to these basic tenants, why is there confusion and poor results? Because, companies get “fixed” on the methodology itself and not on the fundamental people/process tools (skills) that ensure the implementation fundamentals are accomplished and Improvements achieved.
Expediting improvement results requires a focus on the “Thinking” skills (decision making, problem solving, project management, risk management, innovation) required for all successfully administered improvement methodologies.
The bottom line: Accelerate Operational Improvements by applying Thinking skills that will align, complement and speed up your chosen improvement methodology.