Top-down v.s. Bottum-up process optimization
Organisational changes are often difficult to get started. Where major improvement projects with sufficient focus still get off the ground, other less important improvements often remain unfinished due to lack of time and/or attention. This is a shame and can certainly be improved!

Continuous Improvement (CI)
With the new year approaching, efficiency is once again high on the agenda. The 6% target is pretty much the standard within the technology industry. This will have to be achieved with a few large projects and the new standard will once again be achieved. Nevertheless, numerous opportunities for improvement often remain. In particular, waste that occurs between 2 departments (sensitive!) is picked up less quickly or is not (or no longer) in the picture at all. A pity and certainly unnecessary. The call for Continuous Improvement is therefore increasing, but this needs to be organised!

Of course, a company must be given top-down direction and kept on course. In addition to the Mission & Vision, we also use the Business plan and the Operations plan for this purpose. Together with the major improvement projects, these are further elaborated in the X-Chart or also called Priority Deployment (Hoshin Kanri). The aim of this is to check whether the plans are in line with each other and ultimately influence the desired KPIs. If desired, the X-Chart can also be used on a second level in order to carry out the same check in more detail. The KPI’s become more department specific, forming a clear structure or KPI tree.  This gives employees insight so that they get more focus on what is really important for the company, steered on the basis of logically linked KPIs at each level.

Eliminating much smaller waste has a major impact on the business. In addition to the waste itself, annoyances are removed and employee motivation increases. Many companies now use the so-called Tier system. Each Tier has its own target group and working area, which means that waste is identified locally and dealt with in a structural manner. If this is not done within the set period of time (often 1 to 3 days), the waste escalates to the next Tier. As a result of the escalation system, the heavier challenges often surface and it is necessary to keep them alongside the regular improvement projects (originating from the BP or VSM). If all goes well, these heavier bottom-up wastages must of course already be covered by the regular improvement projects. If not, it is time to review the existing projects and rank their priorities with the critical-to-matrix.

Standardize your Continuous Improvement (CI)
It may sound strange, but you also have to standardize CI. The Tier house helps to develop fixed patterns and tackle waste at every level with the right resources, appropriate to the severity of the challenge. In this way you involve the entire organisation step by step, with everyone at his or her level making an adequate contribution to the business objectives. The ultimate Lean feeling comes to life!

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