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Inclusive Improvements

Updated: Jan 12, 2020

In the spirits of sharing, what better than an inclusive topic. Making an improvement can involve a lot of different variables. We're talking about time frames, inventory, staffing, training, etc. And that’s before you start looking into the impact on other departments.

With this in mind, we have to take a big-picture approach to our improvements.

Each time we would make an improvement, whether it be an SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) update or a full process change, we would be up against the wall on time and commenced it with a tunnel vision approach that only saw how it impacted our department. As a result, our grand improvements caused turmoil in other departments as the other departments had to make bend-over-backwards adjustments in order to adapt to our “brilliant” improvements. This in turn caused other departments to take longer to complete their given tasks which, in the circle of life, caused our department’s work to take longer. The chain reaction was painful and definitely not an improvement.

Let’s take another approach when making an improvement. Let’s take a more inclusive approach. In this sense, we will intentionally take into consideration other areas of the business and how this could impact the team as a whole. Commence your normal improvement approach. This could be identifying the problem, brainstorming solutions, testing them, control/change as needed. We won’t just stop there. Categorize this as the first ring of the blast impact. The next ring of the blast radios (impact from your improvement - your starting position within your department) could be the closest or next department that could be impacted by your improvement. When you cross this next department ring ask the question, “How does this impact this area of the business?” This is also best when you include a SME (Subject Matter Expert) from that specific area of the business. Getting the right input is vital to limit the trap of tunnel vision decisions.

As you going further out in the rings of impact, you better understand how the improvement can impact other areas of the business. This inclusive decision making directly prevents wastes in your department as well as others that could be impacted.

What is the impact radius of your improvements? Are you looking past your current department’s scope? Share below in the comments section to benefit you as well as the Sigmasmith community. The impact is always greater than ourselves.

Thanks for reading.

Rick V.


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