Enterprise Improvement System (EIS)

There are several improvement systems in common usage – Six Sigma, Lean initiatives, PDCA and there are plenty of others.  Improvement is not really about clever tools, or impressive intellect – anyone can do it as long as they apply the required rigor.

The improvement system simply makes sure the organization is applying rigor to its own change process.  The point of an enterprise improvement system is to help the organization follow all of the steps as part of everyone’s day-to-day jobs.  This is what drives higher success rates in solving problems to the root cause quickly, accelerating the rate of change.

Improvement systems are important, but they don’t have to be cloaked in jargon.  The steps are straightforward – collect some information, decide what is important and then who is going to do something about it;  then actually do something, and make sure that the result you got was the result you expected.

Over the years Lauras observed that most businesses do most of the right activity at some point, just not all the time in all places, and often there is a great deal of unnecessary activity which hinders rather than helps.  So, for instance the first step is about collecting information, not collecting data – drowning in data is just as bad as not having enough.  Unless your OEE is above 90%, collecting OEE information on anything other than your bottleneck is only going to slow your improvement rate down.

Collect Information

Collect only the needed information, around the bottlenecks.  All the information is used, and is as easy as possible to collect – and is collected and recorded in the same way shift by shift.

Analyze and Prioritize

Both efficiency and yield metrics in place, measured against true potential of the bottlenecks, and losses reported – with both paretos and trends.  If you don’t use this at your weekly meeting, you’re not improving as fast as you could be.

Manage Resources

Effective daily and weekly meetings that review the performance metrics, assign actions to individuals, who commit to completion dates, and then complete their actions by these dates.

Implement Actions

A common approach being used by different people and departments that helps define real problems, quickly identifies the multiple root causes that lead to the symptoms, and arrive at permanent fixes that resolve the issues.

Demonstrate Delivery

Efficiency is not necessarily the same as productivity unless the benefit is realized.  Checking that an improved efficiency leads to a better price, lower costs, or other metric that relates directly to the bottom line is critical in ensuring that the business benefits from improvement activity, and continues to invest in it.

To maintain a really effective improvement system, it’s necessary to review each of the steps above periodically, and make changes or give coaching where appropriate to ensure that the business is as effective as it can be.  Audit each of the elements, and take action to improve them.  When was the last time you reviewed the effectiveness of your meetings?