Do you know the most effective tool for process improvement? The importance of unlocking value promptly and efficiently cannot be understated. But if your company wants to maximize their value opportunities, what tool is right for the job? You’ll need something pretty powerful to generate the culture of continuous improvement you’re hoping to achieve. As such, our article today looks at just what tool is the best for this situation. Ever heard of Work-out? If not, you soon will! Before we begin, let us tell you, Work-out is not a one-use cure-all solution. Nor should it be used alone. In fact, we believe the more process improvement tools you use, the better. But using them in conjunction with Work-out will bring many benefits.
We all know and understand the strength and value behind Lean Six Sigma. Similarly, additional intensive analysis strategies like Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) can bolster your work to create enormous value. Don’t underestimate DFSS, as it can work in virtually any setting, and is incredibly simple to use. Work-out, on the other hand, is quite often underestimated, and, as a result, rarely used. We think that should change. Work-out will not only complement but improve the effects of proven-to-be-effective Lean and Six Sigma tools. Start working with Work-out now to maximize your success!
Make Improvements that Last and Make Them Quickly
As far as systematic, structured improvement tools go, Work-out is one of the best. Work-out brings your team together, encouraging collaboration and teamwork, to develop improvements rapidly. Additionally, any improvements that result from Work-out will also be more stable than those that come from inferior methods. Furthermore, Work-out improvements usually take anywhere between ninety and one-hundred-and-twenty days. It’s important that you trust your team to get the job done properly. Without them, you aren’t likely to succeed.
We believe that your people are at the center of your organization. And it is these same people, who are working in the job on a daily basis, who will ensure Work-out is successful. Work-out is designed to engage and motivate your team so that they can get the job done. It encourages creative thinking from those working close to the processes requiring improvement. In our experience, those closest to the process will have the best ideas about where it can be improved.
How to Get Started Building Your Work-Out: Fulfilling Roles and Assigning Responsibilities
Your Work-out should begin with setting yourself a challenge. This should be highly specific and measurable, with a clear goal in mind. Be sure to link your goal to your business priorities. The key thing is to identify a cross-functional sample of participants for your Work-out project. You should ideally have this data already assembled before the event, as planning and prep-work can take up to six weeks. Moreover, implanting your Work-out will take even longer, at ninety days and over. Your preparatory work is extremely important here as the event itself should only last two or three days. All your efforts up till then will culminate in a grand payoff, but only if you’ve done it right. When it comes to planning your event, think of it in the following three stages:
- Designing your event and preparing your team.
- Conducting your event.
- Implementing your conclusive decisions.
Furthermore, it’s also important for you to be aware of the key players in the Work-out process. Many people take part in Work-out events. As such, you should have many different roles to help manage yours.
- Participants. Those who take part in the event (up to 100). Team members who are closely acquainted with the process in question.
- Sponsor. Your senior manager who works alongside the designer and agent to scope the Work-out.
- Agent. Reports to the sponsor and helps ensure consistency of metrics and usage between teams of participants.
- Driver. People who set out action plans for implementation, ensuring decisions correspond with agreed timelines.
- Designer. An expert assistant who works with the sponsor and agent to scope the project, and ensure adequate sample participants.
- Lead and additional facilitators. Lead facilitators introduce the issue and those involved, running the event according to the schedule. Additional facilitators will help run the event, providing support, and prompting team discussion.
- Decision-making panel. Made up of the sponsor and senior managers. They consider recommendations and give an immediate decision for approving implementation.
First Stage of Work-Out: Design and Prep-work
Remember, design and preparation can take a lot of time, so it’s best to give yourself plenty of time. Our recommended timeline should have you designing and preparing four to six weeks before your intended date. Work with your senior lead or sponsors to ensure adequate preparation. Additionally, make sure you select an adequate topic with a relevant challenge statement defining clear goals that identify value. Your priorities here should be to select your participants and organize the Work-out event while ensuring your players are competent in their roles. Once you’ve prepared your team, you can begin communicating with your participants.
Second Stage of Work-Out: Conducting Your Event
Think of your event as an orchestra. If used properly, everything will run smoothly, all the smaller pieces working in tandem. But if you haven’t tuned your strings section (or neglected to choose a sponsor), then your orchestra (or Work-out event) will suffer for it. The event should aim to capture all possible ideas that are relevant to your initial challenge statement. Following on, you then need to filter them through prioritization, selection, and careful presentation and documentation. You should aim to create an outcome you can manage. Choose several realistic, actionable plans, with clear goals, and leverage them against the challenge statement. Focus on the following:
- Finding opportunities and recognizing issues.
- Creating solutions.
- Deciding on how to implement your solution.
We find that team vs. team sessions can help generate the best results, creating sharper ideas in your participants. Facilitators should lead your teams to develop specific statements that outline problems, as well as generate solutions. Be sure to prioritize according to costs and benefits, as well as risks. You’ll soon be driving your teams toward compelling conclusions for your decision-making panel to discuss.
Third Stage of Work-Out: Put Your Improvement Decisions into Practice!
Now all you need to do is take your decisions and implement them into the process. You’ll need to work closely with your drivers and agent here, to avoid going off track. Be ready to provide support, while sponsors and you should keep panel members in the loop until the project’s end.