After finalizing your first continuous improvement project, you could measure the gains using indicators. This first project finalized and successful, you can now either deploy it to the entire company or start new projects. You were in charge of the indicator for the duration of the project and you made sure it was compiled.
One of the challenges that awaits you is to keep alive and maintain the improvements made while launching new projects. A good way to keep in mind the actions taken is to choose a representative indicator for each, to display and organize an animation to make it live.
This article will guide you in the dissemination and animation around the indicators. To learn more about building indicators.
It is true that we often tend to forget the gains: the “good old habits” come back quickly, and even faster if we do not monitor objective elements and progress achieved. Transforming an organization takes time. Integrating new practices is tedious. It often takes a year or more to turn a new practice into a routine.
Choosing the right indicators
It is important in any improvement project to select the indicators that will follow the progress during the implementation, but also the maintenance of achievements in the months that follow.
You will choose an indicator with:
- the measured variable and its unit: number of defects per 100 pieces, number of complaints per 1000 products, average response time to customer e-mails, …
- the objective to be achieved,
- a low and / or high acceptable limit. In the Six Sigma methodology, we aim for low variability, the high (and low) range is three standard deviations from the target average.
For deployed teams to understand the indicators and the impact of their work on the indicators, it is important to share those with them. A numerical indicator, updated by the manager, in his personal computer is of no interest: if it can be presented to the directors, the main persons concerned have no vision and leverage to improve it. Ideally the indicator is displayed on a dashboard near the workplace. It is updated manually. If it is digital, the updates are regular. In the case of manual indicators, it is possible to update them in an electronic file, in order to keep a longer history.
For the teams to appropriate the dashboard and its indicators, it is necessary to organize an animation. It is obvious that when the dashboard is set up, it will generate interest, but after a few days, it will become part of the “landscape” and nobody will look at it.
Animating the indicators dashboard
The animation can take place on a daily or weekly basis, according to the indicators’ frequency update. Ideally the animation should not exceed 15 minutes in the weekly animation, 5 minutes for a daily animation. We can obviously set up an animation twice a week or at the frequency that best suits the teams.
The animation is organized around the team’s indicators dashboard. The dashboard can contain indicators of the company, the sector and the team. Here are some tips, topics to deal with or modes of organization, to structure the animation:
- Review the previous period (day, week, ..): what went as planned or better and what are the possible problems encountered,
- Stimulate the team by presenting the challenges of the coming period,
- If necessary, recall the important events planned in the coming period,
- Create rhythm by presenting different topics each day. For example, on Monday, talk orders, Tuesday and Thursday security, Wednesday customer satisfaction and Friday the team’s performance,
- Involve the team: have the animation or the presentation of an indicator done by a member (which changes every quarter or year). The team will only be more involved in understanding the indicators,
- Be flexible in the organization when setting up: you have to find the right time, the right duration and the right frequency. Be clear that these three elements could be adjusted at the animation’s launch
- Flexibility and common sense: Not all indicators need to be reviewed at every presentation.
Indicators, a dashboard, a team, a regular meeting with a standard agenda. Here are some elements of the success of the indicators’ animation in continuous improvement.