Over the years, we’ve seen customers achieve incredible success with GainSeeker Suite SPC Software. GainSeeker adds thousands – sometimes millions – of dollars to their bottom line. In the process, GainSeeker empowers a cultural transformation to a data driven organization. These successes aren’t accidental, and they’re not guaranteed. They’re the result of good planning and execution, and great leadership.
These leaders may not even be conscious of this fact, but the good ones manage their GainSeeker deployment like a Kaizen event. These leaders know they are pulling people off “their day jobs” to make changes that quickly improve business operations. They own the deployment, and share a set of practices that create an environment for success. In this first of two posts, we look at five practices leaders share as they prepare to deploy GainSeeker Suite. Paying attention to these practices increases the positive impact your investment in GainSeeker will have on your organization.
Practice 1: Begin with the end in mind
Stephen Covey popularized the phrase “Begin with the end in mind” in his 1989 bestseller “The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People.” Leaders apply this principal during their GainSeeker deployment when they:
- Have a clear vision of how real-time data benefits their company.
- Understand the theory of variation in a manufacturing environment, and they know the cost in materials, morale, time, and reputation of failing to respond to changes and problems in a process.
- Know that their highly trained and compensated engineers and decision makers should spend their time using data to understand their processes and eliminating problems, instead of copying, pasting, transforming and massaging data before they can ever use it.
- Have a clear vision of how real-time data can transform their organizational culture and empower the people closest to the work to recognize process problems and get the help they need to fix them.
A successful SPC (statistical process control) deployment doesn’t just stay at a high level, however. You need to wade into the details and identify the key metrics that each stakeholder needs to do their job. Once you have identified these key metrics, take it to another level and describe the format that they need the data in (dashboard, control chart, yield chart, and so forth), the frequency of data review (what ‘real time” means to you), and the source of the data. Engaging your stake holders in developing this level of detail also goes a long way to implementing Practice 2: Cultivate a shared commitment to success.
Practice 2: Cultivate a shared commitment to success
If you’re engaging your team in identifying the key metrics they need to drive the business, you’re doing much of the work of the second practice: cultivating a shared commitment to success. Leaders share their vision at every opportunity, and cultivate the expertise of those around them.
They’re especially interested in learning from the “naysayers” because they realize that often naysayers have the best interests of the organization at heart, and may have very good reasons for their objections. This takes some discernment, because sometimes naysayers are a goldmine of insight and wisdom, and sometimes they’re just plain dysfunctional. Don’t let the dysfunctional ones drag you down.
Make sure you’re considering all the stakeholders in the process. In a typical GainSeeker deployment, these include the IT team, especially database and network administrators, manufacturing operations, quality, test engineering, and so forth. The actual list varies depending on your situation. The important thing is to involve everyone. Involve them early, and involve them often.
Practice 3: Collaborate with your business partners
Your business partners – including Hertzler and other key providers – should be part of the group that you’re developing for a shared commitment to success. We have deployed GainSeeker at many, many facilities in all kinds of situations. We know what works and what doesn’t, and we can help guide you to success. Chances are that we have helped someone in your industry or something close to it.
The bottom line is that our reputation is our most important asset. We’re only successful when you’re successful. Tap our expertise to help you achieve your vision.
Practice 4: Develop a charter that identifies goals and key stakeholders
At some point, you must put your vision in writing. Best practice for this is a (preferably) one-page charter that identifies:
- key business objectives
- measures of success
- priorities for execution
- and the roles and responsibilities of the key stakeholders.
This document ensures that everyone is on the same page. They know why this effort is important, what they’re going to accomplish, and what their role is in the effort. This document takes into account input from a wide variety of sources, and is useful for communicating the chain of command in the organization.
Practice 5: Develop a project plan with clear objectives and priorities
By now, you’ve received approval for capital appropriations. You’ve probably issued purchase orders for relevant software, hardware, training, and services. All of these have been designed and scoped in collaboration with your vendors, and you’re coming down to the project launch.
By now, you should have a project plan with clear objectives and priorities. The project plan provides another level of detail to the documents you used to secure your capital approvals. Where the earlier documents outlined the training content, for example, the project plan identifies exactly who will be trained on each topic, and when they will get that training.
By the way, there is a great temptation to skimp on training. Don’t. Your goal is to empower your people to do their jobs, and one of the most important tools of empowerment is knowledge. Make sure they get the training they need, and that there is enough redundancy in the knowledge base that your team can work collaboratively, and cover for each other as responsibilities shift over time.
This detailed project plan also prioritizes implementation services, and makes sure that all the inputs are ready. For example, if one of the project priorities is to extract data from a coordinate measuring machine, the project plan might verify that the CMM is connected to the network and identify where log files from the machine are stored. It might also have a printout of typical files, identify the CMM programmer who can answer questions, and identify the programmer’s availability to answer questions that might arise during the project.
Developing this plan in collaboration with Hertzler Systems gives us the opportunity to help you see hidden rocks. We may not catch them all, but as we enter the white water of the deployment, the more eyes we have looking for rocks, the better.
These first five practices get us to the actual deployment. If you’ve laid this foundation, we’re ready for the fun and the thrill of white water.
Stay tuned for the next post where I’ll outline five more practices that help all of us manage white water.
What about you? Which of these practices are already in place in your business? Were are the opportunities to fill in the gaps and pull your people together for success? Email me at ejmiller [at] hertzler [dot] com, or post a comment below. I’d love to hear your perspective.