Deliberate Improvement Focus

We are hearing more and more these days about something called deliberate improvement.  I guess it will be the “buzz phrase” for 2016.  Some of us have found it rather funny.  I guess it’s deliberate improvement versus accidental achievement.  Rather than just laughing it off or being confused by how complex we can make things, let’s take a look at how we can really make a difference as leaders and relate that to this concept of deliberate improvement.

With respect to safety, let’s look at a few questions:

Are we taking time each week to consider where we are most concerned about someone getting hurt and being intentional about doing observations in that area?  Are we providing targeted training for those tasks

Are we evaluating the results of the FLL observation results and focusing on those at risk behaviors to revise our procedures to reduce risk?  Do we get safety committee members involved in high risk tasks to address those concerns

Do we use the results of audit processes to direct our future focus in leading safety and address shortfalls proactively

Do we use insights gained from pre task assessments in maintenance to strengthen safety approaches in the plant focusing on elimination of risk

With respect to operational improvement:

Are we routinely looking at waste data to identify key issues driving waste and developing targeted actions to address those issues?  Are those “key issues” related to a machine issues, board grade, complexity of the order, skill level of the crew, failure to follow procedures, etc.?  Once we identify the opportunity and narrow the focus, we can successfully address the problem

Are we looking at downtime every week?  What is keeping us from being 90% + uptime on the corrugator?  What is keeping us from being 60% in converting?  Reliability in our plants is essential for achieving any of the key metrics in a plant  Are we identifying the issues and implementing systems to improve?  Reliability is not having a group of mechanics fix stuff.  Reliability is building maintenance systems,  installing monitoring processes, performing basic care activities, and constantly attacking major causes of downtime until they are no longer causes.  It starts with using the data to identify and responding with systems to alleviate

Are we evaluating the results of our QMS system weekly?  Are we really committed to the quality system and not compromising on these product evaluation procedures?   Where we see deficiencies, are we addressing timely?  Are we addressing machine issues timely to improve quality?  Do we use the results of the data to direct our machine focus and maintenance spending

Finally, and most importantly, with respect to engaging our people:

Are we having effective one to one discussions with employees and asking solid open ended questions to get their input on key issues impacting the facility?  Are we then taking this input and evaluating the collective results across the plant to address issues and concerns?

Are we really thinking about what we communicate, making is simple, and ensuring we direct communication to areas we want the facility to focus on?

You will no doubt hear more about this term “deliberate improvement” over the next few weeks and months.  We will likely make it sound very complex at times and introduce all kinds of tools to use in the process.  What it really comes down to though is leaders being difference makers.  Leaders using the information available to focus on key things that make a difference.  Leaders narrowing the focus to ensure we focus on things that drive success.  Leaders blocking out distractions that aren’t important.  Leaders getting everyone focused on collectively working together to focus on the right things.

In summary, let’s make sure we are making a difference every day as leaders.  Don’t just get through the day.  Make a difference every day.  That sounds pretty deliberate!


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