Thursday, March 31, 2016

Helping Son Prospect for Gold by Rosemary Bergeron

My son works for a service company and we’ve been talking about the gold (problems) that exists in every organization.  Here is a recent topic we covered.

Do you have any other thoughts on how to encourage employees to follow set procedures like the example you gave me of doing weekly checks to make sure processes were followed?

Hi, Don,
Doing weekly checks to make sure processes are followed is a countermeasure to a problem.    Lean orgs start with the problem.  They take the time to assemble the people closest to the work to understand the root cause and to test the countermeasures before calling them solutions.  I’ve made some inferences based on your question about not following procedures, and built an example to illustrate:  

PROBLEM STATEMENT: From January through March, there were 20 instances of unsuccessful service tickets requiring a second service ticket (re-do), resulting in 60 non-billable hours, 10 unhappy customers, and the potential for loss of confidence in our company.    (Note:  a quantified problem with the negative impact to the organization)

CHAIN OF CAUSALITY: Why were there 20 instances of unsuccessful service tickets?  
Because the techs worked on the wrong things.
Why did the techs work on the wrong things?
Because the techs made incorrect assumptions about the problem.
Why did the techs make incorrect assumptions about the problem?
Because the service ticket did not contain the problem specifics.
Why didn't the service tickets contain the problem specifics?
Because the service tickets were not fully completed.
Why weren't the service tickets fully completed?
ROOT CAUSE:  Because we have no system for reinforcing service ticket completion.

HYPOTHESIS:  IF the service ticket is fully completed, THEN the right problem will be solved the first time and a re-do will not be needed

EXPERIMENT:  From May through July, we will fully complete service tickets.  We will track the number of re-dos needed and assign a reason for the re-do.  From Jan-Mar, 20 re-dos were needed due to incomplete information.   From May-July we expect less than 3 re-dos due to incorrect information.   

COUNTERMEASURES to support the experiment. 

1. Create Quick Reference Card on Service Ticket completion.  Bob by April 1
2. Refresh techs on what is expected on service tickets. Nancy by April 8
3.Leader Standard Work to check 5 service tickets per week and follow up with either coaching on gaps or reinforcement of good practices as needed. Jane starting April 8.
4.  Visual Management posted on the daily meeting board to track any re-dos and their causes.  Don by April 30

 August 1st:  All of the countermeasures were completed.  From May through July there were 4 re-dos needed. Of the 4 re-dos, only 1 was related to an incomplete service ticket.   Experiment was successful. We will sustain the good conditions by adding permanent leader standard work for the service manager to check 1 service ticket per week for completeness as measured against the QRC.   We will track re-dos in the weekly accountability forum to ensure so that we can respond to any abnormality.                  

Note that leader standard work to check is included in the 3 month experiment and again as a sustaining measure going forward.  LSW takes discipline on the part of leaders. It is easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of the day.  Leaders must block time on their calendars to actually do the checks. 
Keep looking for that gold!

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