The organization I am going to talk about today is a small but visionary firm located in the outskirts of Pune, which manufactures high-end research-based solutions like probiotics and biocatalysts. The organization is in the growth stage and looking for 2 to 4 growth, utilize capacity, people, and space to meet customer demands.
ON the day we met the founder-director of the company himself led the Gemba Walk to show around facilities and explained the production process. He explained that the organization is being managed by extremely dedicated and hardworking professionals who have been retained over the years. Among them, some have been elevated to senior management roles as well despite not having a background in the core area and some have been successful.
We walked down the Gemba starting at the main facility where R&D and production happen at lower and top-level respectively. The production happens through batch processing. Due to different products being manufactured using specialized machinery, the entire production process is scattered in a large area set up in different sheds. New facilities were being constructed to set up new production processes. Adjacent land has been purchased for further expansion and new building construction is in progress.
- High variety production that happens in small volumes
- Production lead times mainly affected due to batch failures, machine breakdowns, and unavailability of manpower
- Maintenance of machines is currently on the “I run; you fix” principle
- Working methods & SOPs are available and maintained
- Some suppliers have problems in quality, delay, etc
- Raw materials were stored in temperature-controlled rooms
- Microbiology & other labs are well equipped and maintained
- Long & rigorous new product development process
- Quality control & assurance process is practiced
- Regulatory and statutory compliances are maintained
- Patent of technology is a major concern
The Director focuses on living and working from inside out, grounding the common sense of soul work in the common practice of everyday life and work. He has a clear purpose for running this organization.
The purpose is the quality we want to center our work around – the way to orient toward life and work. Making sense or meaning out of our life. Purpose defines our contribution to life.
After developing a sense of purpose among the employees, the people & process (includes the supply chain) need to be aligned.
Process: It is time to ask “What are the key end-to-end processes in the organization that create value for customers? What are the support processes that make these primary processes possible?
In order to get real sustainable results in safety, quality, cost, delivery, and morale, here are a few must-do steps as a part of a larger lean management system:
- Stability, flow, leveling, pull, standard work
- Waste, types of waste, and continuous removal of waste
- Value-streams and value-stream mapping as a continuous improvement tool
- A spaghetti diagram has to be done along with value stream mapping to identify waste
- WIP and finished goods were high and can be reduced by 50%
- Roles & responsibilities need to be defined
- Visual enterprise and how to manage visual systems
- SOPs to be put in visual form at all places
- Storage principles to be introduced while shifting to a new location.
People: At heart, lean is a people-based system, and the success of any lean transformation depends on the engagement of every employee in the process of continuous business improvement. All employees must be willing and able to solve problems.
The top management should review the organizational purpose to set the strategic direction and decide the priorities of the organization considering the COVID19 crisis.
- Training & development of staff for both leadership & managerial positions
- Training of employees on lean fundamentals
- Organizational vision to be deployed across the units
- Align people, processes with purpose and customers’ objectives
- Set up Cross-functional Teams for continuous improvement
Elevation to be preceded by training and grooming to prepare the person for higher responsibilities and new types of challenges. Knowledge, skill, aptitude, and attitude should commensurate with the new roles and responsibilities. A RASIC based process of assigning roles and responsibilities is more effective, read more here.
Organizations often fail to invest adequately in training or the training is not customized to address the identified weaknesses and gaps between the position/role requirements and the individual’s profile.
As the company enters the growth phase here are six growth platforms that can provide a framework for a regular scan for opportunities:
- Products Services – Sell new products and services to existing customers or modify current products/services to attract new customers
- Markets – Expand your geographical reach with new or existing products
- Channels – Create differentiated solutions specific to channel opportunities and create aftermarket opportunities for your channel partners
- Acquisitions – Look for complementary products and services, going narrow and deep when adding to product lines
- Value Chain – Take ownership of outsourced pieces of the value chain such as distribution or raw materials
- Business Model – Open up a new view of your business
Therefore, in order to fully tap the organization's potential, the capacity needs to reorganized by involving everyone. By adopting & inculcating lean thinking, the organization can leap from being under-resourced to utilizing its latent potential.
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