Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Are the Squirrels Getting In the Way of Reliability in Your Facility? The Movie Series

No today's post is not about fuzzy little animals chewing through your control wiring or completing the circuit to ground in your switch gear although many may have noted these as root causes for reliability issues in the past. Today is about an even a bigger root cause of under-performance in manufacturing today. Squirrel! or as I am calling it corporate distraction. Dug and the rest of the dogs in in the Disney Pixar movie Up suffered from this problem. Lets take a look at a promo clip if you haven't already.

Dug and his compadres, they have trouble staying focused on the task at hand and we can hear that because of the verbalizer around their necks. You see the verbalizer allows us to hear their thoughts. What if you could hear all the thoughts flying around your facility. What distractions might we hear? Is the organization focused on a goal or does it seem to chase after every squirrel that comes along.
Manager that are just making a quick stop as they climb the ladder can be especially affected with corporate distraction. When they hear of an initiative that someone in the organization fancies then they want to do it to impress that person. Just as they get started they find out about another one and in their haste to be promoted they go after that one as well. In a nut shell they over commit and under deliver. I have seen this over and over. It becomes a lot like chasing squirrels, on the way to one you see another one that you just have to go after.
I have also seen managers who live for real bottom line results and long term plant performance. They do not let the squirrels get them off track. They take the time to have a leadership planning session regularly where they look at all of the initiatives that are here or on the horizon for the plant as a whole. They look at the value and return for each and how multiple initiatives might fit together to enable the organization to get to the current vision and the goals that have been set. Sometimes they need to change the goals and adjust the mission to match changing business needs that have arisen but when this happens it is communicated well to the organization. Either way they look at the resources that exist for the plant and the funds available to support improvement initiatives prior to committing the plant to them. The next thing they do is start a high level plant master plan that shows not just what, but how and when they are going to execute the initiatives chosen for the site. They also have gates or systems in place to prevent the new squirrels from distracted them from their current focus as they begin execution.
What do you do in your site to keep the squirrels at bay and the focus on results in the forefront?

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