An aligned work process is focused on achieving the fastest possible delivery of your customers needs. The improvement potential is virtually limitless. As an example, back in the 1950s a pit stop in Formula 1 racing took more than a minute, in 2009 it had been reduced to 10 seconds and today it takes just 4 seconds. Consider the Formule 1 car as your customers needs.
You’re about to discover the key to unleashing a drastic improvement for your organisation!
Many improvement initiatives deliver unsatisfactory results. Often one of the main reasons is a lack of understanding of the difference between efficiency and effectiveness. This prevents companies from achieving the intended results.
Efficiency: Necessary but not sufficient, and sometimes destructive!
Examples of efficiency-related measures are: Striving for a balanced production line, maximising resource utilisation and allocation of overhead costs to business areas or product units.
It makes sense that companies attempt to reduce waste, in terms of time, energy and money. However, pursuing efficiency for its own sake, inevitably leads to a cut in the effectiveness and sustainability of the organisation.
Knowing when to do something is as important as realising when not to intervene. When does continuing to work lead to additional production from the whole plant , and when does it just lead to extra work in progress? In the latter case it is more appropriate to keep a machine idle.
Effectiveness: The primary focus!
The tolerance level for your customer promises is determined by what your customers are accustomed to in the sector. When you are not capable of assisting your customers at the tolerance level, you are in danger of losing trust and, possibly, your customer.
Effectively fulfilling the promises made to your customers is therefore of vital importance for the continuity and growth of your company.
Improvement initiatives should contribute to fulfilling the promises made to your customers. Does the improvement initiative help ensure that your customer needs are fulfilled faster? Only then is it effective.
This is what Continuous Focused Improvement means, recognising when efficiency is at best unproductive and, at worst, detrimental, and when and where improvement initiatives (including efficiency measures) are effective and therefore of the utmost importance.
Below you can compare F1 pit stops from 1950, 2009 and 2013.
The large number of people involved in the 2013 pit stop may seem very inefficient, many only have one task. But notice the number of pit stops that the 2013 team can do in just one minute. Compare this with the productivity in the year 1950. The larger team is actually more efficient! What would aligning your work processes do for your ability to deliver solutions for your customers needs?