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Radically Improving Your Performance Within a Continuous Improvement Environment: 7-Step Process

The principal drivers of any business are customer satisfaction and profitability. Whilst you may have a company Continuous Improvement (CI) programme in place, on occasions you need to move much faster than the normal deployment would allow.  

When faced with pressing challenges in meeting immediate customer satisfaction and profitability, it’s easy to become highly reactive, get lost in the details, make tactical knee-jerk decisions, and poor investments which make the organisation highly ineffective in overcoming the problems they face.

Your CI programme is a virtuous approach to engage the workforce to improve organisational performance and make a great army of problem solvers. However, by its very nature of changing hearts and minds, this can be a time-consuming journey. Often you simply do not have the time, therefore, we have created a complementary approach: the Henkan Intervention Process. In effect, it runs in parallel to the CI deployment and its output is ultimately fully integrated to ensure the sustainability of the performance improved.

Read on to discover our 7-Step process and how it radically improves performance within a Continuous Improvement environment.

The Henkan Intervention Process

At Henkan, we’re all about engaging people to improve performance at pace. That’s why we’ve designed the 7-Step Intervention Process. 

Structurally, the programme involves an ordered, proven process carried out over a short period of time. There are only so many things you can achieve rapidly, so planning carefully, deliberately and meticulously will enable you to act on — and implement — solutions with speed and confidence for optimised results.

What are the steps involved and where do we start? 

Step 1: Preparation

It all begins by developing a very clear Problem Statement to scope the problem accurately. This approach enables efficient use of resources to get to the root cause of the problem, which could be anything from the company having no inventory control to no effective management systems in place. Once the Problem Statement is identified, we conduct a robust analysis of the specific issue.

Over a series of discussions and high-level data analysis, we’ll work together to agree on a broad goal and establish the expected outcome of the Intervention. Confirming this allows us to measure progress and ensure we stay in scope.

Step 2: Scoping Visit

In Step 2, we spend time on-site to understand the problem intimately. This allows us to validate the problem and the work packages that require focus to solve it fully.

If required, we revise and refine the initial Problem Statement, ensuring it is in line with the reality of the issues and expectations. After this is achieved, we present the next steps and broadly agree on the scope, resources, timescale and expected improvement in performance.

Step 3: Detailed Planning

Here we understand the required improvements in more detail, addressing the specific elements that need to be considered to resolve the issues.

Rigorous application of this step allows us to confidently design an appropriate proposal, including elements such as resource requirements, timescales, costs, and return on investment (ROI), for formal acceptance before moving onto the next step.

Step 4: Launch Event

Launching the event involves multiple onboarding and deep analysis activities. The Problem Statement links everything together aligning objectives, deliverables, and methods of execution. 

There are five key elements that Step 4 covers:

  1. Governance: the framework of accountability that spans from the shop floor to corporate level leadership. 
  2. The Communication Plan: the Leadership Team design the mechanism and content to communicate to all members of the organisation to support the engagement of all those involved.
  3. Value Stream Mapping (VSM): this is a Lean management tool that involves end-to-end analysis of the involved Value Stream – identifying waste and visualising processes for the future. This gives a holistic view of opportunities for improvement and supports the roadmap for the Intervention.
  4. Roles and Responsibilities: defining the Roles and Responsibilities across the entire Intervention team ensures the right people are in the right positions to carry out their specific activities. That enables the improvements to be achieved effectively and efficiently.
  5. Stakeholder Analysis: this clarifies how to interact with individuals who can influence the success of the Intervention. In particular, how to manage those parties who can have a significant impact (positively or negatively).

Step 5: Workstream Design

Having scoped the problem areas, they are then grouped into a series of themes, referred to as Workstreams. This enables the larger problem to be broken down into manageable packages, each with its own dedicated sub-team and deliverables.

Each Workstream includes key metrics, KPIs, and the time frame in the form of a Gantt chart — essentially, everything that needs to be done, by whom, and when. This works to visually outline each activity in a well-structured way for the streamlined processes and communication to follow. 

Related read: The 4 Key Components of a Successful Continuous Improvement Programme

Step 6: Implementation

In Step 6, the Intervention team carries out the necessary actions, implementing the sustainable processes that we have identified and planned in the previous stages. 

The Henkan team are embedded full time at your site, supporting the Workstream delivery, coaching and transferring the necessary knowledge. A ‘Steer Committee’ conducts weekly reviews, assessing the performance in terms of progress, results, escalation, or anything else that the Intervention team may need support with.

There are three key elements that give the necessary discipline and structure during the implementation stage: 

  1. Problem Statement: this is the issue that we are addressing throughout.
  2. Attackable Losses: this refers to waste reduction. We need to be clear of what losses or wastes will need to be eliminated by each Workstream.
  3. Workstreams: daily accountability is present in each Workstream to ensure tasks are reviewed and that deliverables will be met. 

These three elements, implemented alongside the Henkan CI methods and tools, are key to the successful execution of the programme. A key element of the implementation is using CI tools and integrating them into the current CI approach. This works to engage the local workforce to take responsibility and sustain performance.

Learn about Henkan’s proven model that guides an organisation on its journey to achieve excellence here.

Step 7: Handover

During the Intervention, the Workstream teams are continuously reviewing and developing standards, which must now be fully handed over for local ownership beyond the Intervention. 

In the Handover stage, we distribute the appropriate documents, offer 100-day sustainability plans, conduct detailed content reviews, engage with the managers for final reviews, and submit a formal sign-off.

It’s the focused, experience-based and disciplined approach that makes the 7-Step Intervention method successful. Through detailed, structured processes, we are able to design and implement the right plan of action to attack the chronic issues within a value stream and facilitate a radical uplift in performance. 

We offer specialised, practical support, backed up by our technical expertise, to transform your operations and radically improve your performance for sustainable success.

Contact us today to see how we can help your company transform into a world class organisation.

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