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  • Why So Many Lean Manufacturing, Six Sigma, and other Improvement Projects Fail


    If you have been around a few years you will almost certainly have seen at least a few fads come and go about how you can improve your business.

    • SPC (Statistical Process Control)
    • TQM (Total Quality Management)
    • TPM (Total Productive Maintenance)
    • Self Directed Teams
    • Executive Coaching
    • LEAN Manufacturing
    • Six Sigma
    • Theory Of Constraints
    • Just about any form of training course
    • Almost Any Consultants Report!

    The list goes on and on!

    Nothing is wrong with any of these approaches; in fact there is a lot that is right with all of them.

    For an improvement project to be successful we want at least the following criteria to be met:

    • High Return on Investment (ROI)
    • Fast Implementation
    • Ownership & engagement by all levels of the organisation
    • Sustainable High Performance years after the project commencement

    How many improvement projects and consulting efforts can say they have met the criteria above?

    So why do so many of these initiatives fail to meet the criteria for success when the base technology or principles are totally valid and valuable?

    Here are the 7 most common reasons I have seen project fail in the last two decades of experience in industry. I will go into more detail in each one in future blog posts as well as explaining how to avoid these pitfalls that will cost your business money, and waste everyone’s time and patience!

    7 Deadly Sins That Will Cripple Your Improvement Programs Chances Of Success

    1. Academy Award Syndrome

    Launched with great fanfare and expensive posters the project makes a big splash and then sinks to the bottom to rest alongside the Titanic……and last year’s big improvement initiative.

    2. Magic Wand Disease

    Various people within the organisation are anointed ( by the magic wand), to be champions, owners, leaders, mentors, or some other title that they do not understand, and are not trained, or authorised to do.

    3. Darwin’s Theory of Evolution Problem

    According to Charles Darwin living things evolved slowly over millions and millions of years. A program that must support large investments in time and money with no payback for years will go the way of the dinosaurs, rather than the Galapagos turtle!

    4. Assassination By Budget

    Headcount and budget commitments must be met and anything that is not essential, (moderately performing improvement projects being the first to go) is chopped by managers so they can retain what they regard as an essential core.

    5. The Path of Least Kicking

    Departmental Managers and supervisors will always respond to who screams loudest, and who can kick the hardest. At monthly reviews the pressure will be applied to make more, spend less, and cut anything to have a better month next month! Improvement projects will be quietly ignored.

    6. Spectators Syndrome

    The project was initiated by the CEO, HR, Head Office, etc, etc and there is no understanding or buy in by the people who have to do the work. These people will sit back, fold their arms, and wait, then watch for someone else to do the work. The champion gets tired, gives up, and blames others for not being a team player!

    7. One Man Band Complex

    The Project becomes an extra ‘Thing to Do’ for people who already fell they are overworked, and overloaded. With only so many hours in the day, and no extra time being provided the project becomes one more task on a long list of things that will never get done amongst the daily essentials of satisfying customers and managing crises.

    I have tried to be somewhat light hearted about this, however these shortcomings in the way projects have been run have cost millions of dollars in expense, and more seriously probably tens of millions of dollars in lost opportunity.

    Next week I will go into more detail on one of these shortcomings, and more importantly how to avoid it! Let me know by email or comment below if there is any sin in particular you would like to hear about first.

    Have An Awesome Day!

    Jason


    0 comments.

    Hobbies are supposed to be Relaxing, not an exercise in Project Management!


    One of my hobbies is building and flying radio control model aircraft. Not the small foam ones from K Mart but larger 1.6m wingspan craft. It is a lot of fun and usually very relaxing.

    It was my birthday a few days ago and for the first time on my birthday I was given a plane. Somehow my family read my mind and i ended up with exactly what I wanted  🙂

    I have not spent a lot of time on this hobby over the last year or so. These days you can buy the aircraft in what they call ARF (Almost Ready to Fly) format where the plane really just needs final assembling, fitting the control gear and motor and it is done. It should take about 4 hours or so. I was really and was looking forward to spending the day assembling the kit and finishing it ready to fly it the following weekend.

    I wanted to fit an electric power setup and started to look through the plane to see if any modifications were required, there were a few mounting holes that had to be relocated, nothing major I thought.

    I popped downstairs to get a few tools and get started. I began to drill some holes when trouble began. Where I wanted things to go interfered with the parts of the planes bulkheads, OK Plan B, no problems. Plan B required some different tools so another trip downstairs began, then another set of modifications took place.

    Time to fit the motor: The bolts supplied were too short, another trip downstairs and I had none of the suitable bolts on hand. A trip to Bunnings was fruitless. OK what else constructive could I do?

    I soldered the power connections on the motor and though I could test out the control system. I needed to make up a power charging lead, another trip downstairs to get the soldering iron and pieces. Whilst that was heating up I went to find the right diameter connectors to fit the cable. None of them in the house either!

    By now I getting a little bit annoyed and I had stopped having fun some time ago. I was mutterings words that you should not say in church and that would have appalled my mother!

    What’s the point of all this?

    I was committing some of the most basic, (but sadly incredibly common) mistakes made in manufacturing and project management.

    Realising this I made my first sensible move for the day.

    I stopped, walked away, and did some thinking!

    What were some of my mistakes?

    1. I had no clear plan

    2. My plan had not anticipated problems that could have been foreseen

    3. Part Shortages caused me to change my schedule

    4. Chopping and changing my schedule wasted time, money, and sanity!

    5. Chopping and changing led to other mistakes and damage (left that part of the story out)

    I see these same problems far too often in businesses and they all eat profits, hurt customers, and cause the people in the business to become frustrated, ineffective, and stressed!

    There are some very good techniques for making rapid improvements in project management and scheduling in any business.

    If you would like some more information on how to improve your scheduling and project management drop me an email or comment below and I can send you a research white paper that outlines a process I have used to slash project lead times and improve the quality of outcome for all of the people involved.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Have An Awesome Day!

    Jason


    0 comments.

    Video Games, Wii and Executive Coaching


    Have you ever sat down to play a video game (doesn’t matter which one – we are a Wii family), and your son/daughter/niece/nephew hands you a control panel and then in about 15 seconds of high velocity technobabble you are given the complete instructions on how to use the controller and all of the idiosyncrasies of the game?

    It’s happened to me often, and I remember as a kid doing the same thing to any adult I could ensnare into playing with me on the original Atari games back in the late 70′s.

    See if this is what happens to you.

    The game starts and it is your turn first. Your character/car/plane is in the middle of a racetrack/jungle/castle. A few seconds pass and then out of nowhere comes other cars/monsters/robots. The child starts screaming at you going Press C,C,C,Z,A!!!!! Your character is killed/eaten/vaporised and your turn is over after about 15 seconds.

    Your playing partner begins their turn and off they go shooting/running/driving rapidly. They are making progress through the game and seem to handle it all easily. After five minutes or so they make a mistake and you get a second go.

    You last 35 seconds this time and aren’t that sure what you did differently. You are bewilder and overwhelmed by things coming out of nowhere and the controller buttons all look the same!

    Your playing partner rolls their eyes in disgust at the inept skills of adults and proceeds to blast/speed/fly their way through the game for another 30 minutes without stopping.

    Bring back any memories?

    So what really happened here?

    Is the child more talented? Possibly

    More skilled? Certainly

    Is this why they won so easily? No, although it helps.

    They child has played the game before. Over and over again. When they seem to know a certain monster is coming at a certain time it is not clairvoyant powers, it is because they have played the game before and they know the road ahead.

    Whenever you are looking to improve how you do anything in your life it pays to have someone to help you. It is essential to have someone who has traveled that road already and knows what lay ahead. Before you listen to anyone’s advice check out to see if they have been down the road already. Ask questions and review their track record.

    Have An Awesome Day!

    Jason


    0 comments.

    Is Your Manufacturing Business Struggling


    Hi Everyone,

    My name is Jason Furness. I’m the CEO of The Manufacturship.

    I specialise in working with manufacturing executives to increase the performance of their businesses… without large-scale investments in equipment or expensive software.

    Let’s face it; manufacturers like you are dealing with calamities every day… calamities not only affecting the stability of their businesses, but their profits as well. In fact, my experience has shown that over 92% of the manufacturers I have dealt with over the last 20 years continually wrestle with at least 5 of the following 8 key issues in their business.See what applies to you out of this list.

    • Poor due date delivery performance that frustrates customers
    • Boards and shareholders who are intolerant of flat or failing returns
    • Need to continually increase outputs on existing equipment and employees
    • Wildly volatile market demands
    • Ever increasing competition from other companies
    • Shareholder pressure to grow turnover……..profitably!
    • Improving quality, safety, environmental & other compliance requirements
    • Intense downward price pressure whilst input costs increase

    If any of these items impact you make sure you sign up on the website and look through the info there.There are a stack of free information on the website and other resources that will be added over time.

    Have a look and leave a comment 🙂

    I may come back to you directly with some thoughts or provide some options in a future blog post.

    Have an Awesome Day!

    Jason


    0 comments.
     
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