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Turn strategy into action

Many manufacturers invest significant resources in the development of a strategic plan but fail at execution and employee engagement.


June 30, 2011
by Richard Kunst

Many manufacturers invest significant resources in the development of a strategic plan but fail at execution and employee engagement. Here are some tools that will help you win on both counts.

• The five-year forward view. Our proprietary STEP diagnostic helps a company map its journey based on data (KPIs) and the kind of enablers needed to meet the numbers. A great by-product of this tool is the ability to define attributes behind definitions, and it quickly breaks big goals into mini accomplishments that are easily measured.

• This year’s plan. The X-Matrix does so much and it’s all on a single piece of paper. It helps you align projects to strategic initiatives and to see your resource load, it contains a mini plan and ultimately aligns everything to your KPIs to ensure the intended results are delivered.

• This month. A3 methodology seems to be getting a lot of attention within the lean community. It’s a one-page summary of the project’s status or problem solving. This does not mitigate the need for more robust tools, but it does help the reviewer see all of your work. An effective A3 should live for a maximum of one month before being refreshed.

• What are you doing for me today? Lean practitioners love the power of daily reports. This is one of the best ROI lean tools, where productivity improvements of 30% are typical without the deployment of other tools. Why? People like communication and they like to know their targets for the day.

• Leader standard work (LSW). Many organizations shun this tool and rely on people to be responsible and complete tasks in a timely manner. Taking the time to develop cadence through LSW improves flow. This allows you to see tasks are being completed on time, or offer assistance as required.

• Visual standard work instructions. Now that we know what we want done, how do we do it?  Pictures explain from the very basic to the most complex and once mastered, they’re completed within minutes. An example: how to keep your meeting room clean and organized.

• Weekly de-brief. This tool forces people to reflect on the gift of time devoted to the company during the past week by communicating success and accomplishments.

Using all of these tools in unison aligns your people to strategic initiatives and makes the needles move on your enterprise excellence journey.

Richard Kunst is president and CEO of Kunst Solutions Corp., which publishes the “Lean Thoughts” e-newsletter. E-mail rkunst@kunstartofsolutions.com.