Fuel for an Effective Operating Model

Driving the real improvement your organization needs is best served with a proven operating model based on the principles of Plan, Do, Check, Act.  It requires a sold Strategy supported by a rigorous Daily Management process designed to identify problems that need to be solved with a pre-specified method for practical problem solving all sustained with Leader’s Standard Work. 

But the model is fueled by a great leader with focus on the critical few, clear metrics, solid execution, and above all constant follow-up.

Focus on the Critical Few

World class operations realize they cannot do everything and they follow a strict process of using data to identify the critical few areas of focus.  The organizations always have a strong eye on the safety and well-being of their stakeholders, but they also prioritize their needs for improvement. They may be experiencing a delivery problem that stems from poor equipment reliability. So while they may also need standardize work for the operators, they will elect to focus on getting the equipment to run effectively before taking on the next challenge.

Clear Metrics

Focusing on the critical few requires a look at the progress of those efforts and results as often as possible. It is important to find metrics that are clear to every level of the organization.   It is good to think of it as a currency everyone can understand and that will roll up from the shop floor to the financials.

In the equipment reliability example, it may simply be the number of downtime minutes for a piece of equipment.  Avoiding rations like % utilization or even OEE at the shop floor level is best for clarity.  What is the bottom line that everyone can embrace.  Something like, is the equipment running or not ?

Solid Execution

Everyone aspires to execute the plan effectively, but most organizations miss the critical step of defining in great detail what good execution looks like.  It is not as effective to say to the maintenance team,  “we want you to do whatever it takes to keep the equipment running.” Far more effective, is a specific plan for the operators and maintenance to work together to identify known problems with the equipment and possible preventive maintenance activities the operator can perform regularly. A detailed review of the preventative maintenance activities and tracking their completion rate falls in the category of solid execution.

Constant Follow-up

Real estate professionals often say the three most important factors for determining the desirability of a property are location, location, location.  It is true of leading an effective turnaround or transformation. The three most important factors leading to success are follow-up, follow-up, follow-up.  

It is important as the leader to follow-up with a scientific eye that thinks of the activities they are auditing as experiments. If they fail, not who failed, but why did it fail. If the preventative maintenance activity was not completed….why?

Help your organization focus on the critical few, create clear metrics, with plans for a solid execution, and above all follow-up, follow-up, follow-up!

Learn more in Patrick’s book, “52 Reflections for Operations,” now available through Amazon.com. He is also the founder of UTV Advisors, a business consulting firm based in Pittsburgh, PA.

Patrick Putorti

Patrick Putorti

Patrick Putorti

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