November 24, 2013

WV Model–Method of Improvement

Finally, submitted my PMA for Creating Business Excellence. It was a great experience writing the PMA. First time I ever did something just to learn and gather an understanding of the subject. Finding perfect resources to answer each question I had when writing the PMA gave a sense of satisfaction. Models such as Kaizen, Total quality management, learning diagrams, lean Culture and WV model of Improvement. WV model is a very interesting concept that is explained brilliantly by Shoji Shiba, WV Modelà Continuous improvement is based on 2 major ideas systematic (scientific) and iterative. Shoji Shiba modified Kawakita’s W model to create what Shiba calls WV model.

  • § Explains the concept of continuous improvement as a problem-solving concept. It is not a prescription for improvement, rather it helps management to remember the different stages in quality management and improvement.
  • § Depiction of the model is based on problem solving through swinging between thought and experience. EGàYou sense a problem, then collect data, chose an improvement activity and then collect data about what is wrong, plan a solution then collect data to be sure it works, and then standardize on the new solution.
  • § Not move from problem to solution, collection of data is imp, and WV model helps in reminding management of the proper process.
  • § ProcessàReally simple, Works on the cycle referred to as SCDA(Standard, do, check, Act). Following a process, if any result goes out of limits, the management must act and correct the process to get the right results.



November 18, 2013

Chickens and Organizations!

Writing about web page PIUSS

A great example was shared in class today about the curve of learning. There were some chickens kept on a farm. Everyday, these chickens were given food at a particular time. These chickens got used to getting the food around that time. One day the food was provided, but a barrier was kept between the chickens and these chickens had no way to reach the food. What would the chickens do during such a situation? They would obviously try to cross the barrier, which shows their stage of denial. They are still unwilling to accept the fact that there was a barrier in between them and the food. Once they understand that there is a barrier and that there is no way then can get to the food, they have reached the engagement stage. After that comes acceptance that the food is unattainable.

This example was then compared to a changing organization and how it comes across each stage. When changing, every person moves through this curve, , one can not accept anyone to go directly to the acceptance stage. Everyone goes at a different rate through the curve and an organization must move together. If the leader has reached the acceptance stage earlier in the process, it cannot be expected from the whole team to do the same. Leader must ensure each team member is advancing through the curve with him. If this is not the case then a change is very difficult to take place.


Chickens and Organizations!

Writing about web page PIUSS

A great example was shared in class today about the curve of learning. There were some chickens kept on a farm. Everyday, these chickens were given food at a particular time. These chickens got used to getting the food around that time. One day the food was provided, but a barrier was kept between the chickens and these chickens had no way to reach the food. What would the chickens do during such a situation? They would obviously try to cross the barrier, which shows their stage of denial. They are still unwilling to accept the fact that there was a barrier in between them and the food. Once they understand that there is a barrier and that there is no way then can get to the food, they have reached the engagement stage. After that comes acceptance that the food is unattainable.

This example was then compared to a changing organization and how it comes across each stage. When changing, every person moves through this curve, , one can not accept anyone to go directly to the acceptance stage. Everyone goes at a different rate through the curve and an organization must move together. If the leader has reached the acceptance stage earlier in the process, it cannot be expected from the whole team to do the same. Leader must ensure each team member is advancing through the curve with him. If this is not the case then a change is very difficult to take place.


Kaizen: Toyotas Model for Improvement

Dear readers, the past couple of days have been very busy. Fixing my schedule and finishing the PMA was one of my greatest worries. I can finally take a deep breath as I am almost done with the PMA. Looking back to the time when I started to work on my PMA, I had no idea whatsoever what I was doing. Selecting a topic to write was the toughest task for me as all of them were really interesting. It was really hard for me to chose the best one, and I chose the first one about continuous improvement as I thought that I would benefit from my research in the future.

Before I started my research I had no idea what Kaizen was and I can bet very few of you had heard it before starting your PMA. Kaizen, is a Japanese word that means continuous improvement. After World War 2, the Japanese were in terrible shape and had to start all over again. Kaizen became a part of their lives. Some of the models that were used by the Japanese have become increasingly popular in the West. A few major strategies that form the Kaizen umbrella includes Kamban (ensuring zero wastage), Just in Time Production, Total Quality Management, Zero Defects, Customer Orientation, Productivity improvement and New Product Development.

An organization that has been very successful in implementing Kaizen as part of their Continuous Improvement strategy is Toyota Motor Corporation. Mr Taizo Ishida, former president of Toyota used to frequently say “to defend your castle by yourself.” During the late 1950’s, the term ‘Kaizen’ started to become a major part of Toyota’s production system. Toyota developed a six step Kaizen Method that would ultimately result in improvement. An ideal situation of Kaizen is to seek to produce greater quantities of greater quality products with existing resources. Kaizen aims to encourage creativity, autonomy and freedom within an organization to try new methods to improve processes by reducing wastage and eliminating all unnecessary details. Kaizen does not follow the typical approach to solving a problem rather goes a little forward and aims to create newer standards of performance.

According to Kaizen, improvement is not an option rather it is a requirement. Managers at a Kaizen run organization must be trained to be leaders. Each manager must act as a role model for his subordinates, know how to train and instruct efficiently and have good knowledge of the work and responsibilities. Employees must be able to classify, organize, quantify and specify the details, which may be different for each case. Hence, employees must be trained in generating the data that is useful in improving the processes, in order to work on the area that actually needs improvement. Kaizen does not just mean to do things differently; rather the resulting change must be for the better.


October 26, 2013

Does the CEO know it all?

As I reflect upon the class discussion we had yesterday, as a leader one is not required to have a specialization in each and every field/subject. For instance, there are many departments in a organization that include HR Dept, sales, Accounting and Finance, production, warehousing, purchasing and procurement and marketing and the list can go on!

The CEO is not expected to have a specialization in each and every field, as this would take him years of work/learning. Neither is he expected to have the solution for every problem the managers of each department face. His team of managers would obviously come to him if they face a problem, but since he is not the expert in the field, he would not be able to give a solution. What is expected of the managers is to come to the CEO with a proposed solution as they would be the best judge of the problem they face. No one other than the person who faces the problem could come up with a perfect solution. CEO/leaders must have have the ability/skillset to quickly analyze the problem, review the solution proposed, also discuss if there are any alternative solutions. As a team then they must decide on the implementation plan of the solution, and the manager must then implement the task, and keep the leader updated on the result.

One problem that organizations also face is the managers working for themselves and not for the organization. Each manager thinks about himself, how he could progress within or outside the organization. When a manager starts to think about himself, then there he also has a fear of losing his job. When that fear is there, that means he would not teach his subordinate the tasks he as a manager is supposed to do, just so that his subordinate does not take his job. However this is a very wrong approach and a method to correct this approach is to NOT PROMOTE UNLESS THEY ARE READY! Only those managers who have been promoted early have a mindset of working for themselves not for the organization. They would want to see themselves progress, they forget the concept that they will only succeed/grow if the company grows. Rather they think about their own personal self, and this results in non-effective leaders.


October 25, 2013

Organizations Competing but also Cooperating

Today is the day when I finally get internet in my house! Yayyyyy! So I decided to post the blog that I actually wrote last night.

We had an interesting discussion today about the reasons for competing organizations to work together. Although the groups were talking about mergers and acquisitions of banks/organizations, I have decided to sum up what the main reasons are for organizations to cooperate as well as achieve mutual goals.

1. When working together, organizations mostly experience a win win situation as the resources are divided and so is the result or profit.

2. More resource availability.

3. Can lobby against the government to have their demands met, regarding export/import or taxation matters

4. Also lobby against government to regulate price mechanisms, eg Pharmaceutical industry often does this, as the government usually sets a minimum price for drugs that are highly expensive in order for them to be affordable to the general public.

5. It can allow organizations to compete ferociously but simultaneously provide consumers with variety of choice as well as good quality products. Example, is the in some areas restaurants may open and they may cooperate with each other to attract consumers to that area by providing them with different variety of choices. So that in case if people don’t find space in one restaurant, another restaurant that might have availability is in the same vicinity. Area gets popluar and so does the chain of restaurants.

One major drawback of cooperating is that it may create an oligopoly, that means a few leading organizations may make the decisions in the particular industry, create entry barriers for new companies to enter. In this way they get to charge higher prices and exploit the consumers. An example about this is the phone companies in Canada, i.e. Rogers, Fido, Telus and Bell. These are the major players in the communication industry, and they have been able to create such barriers that it is very hard for new companies to enter, as the licensing requirement for the industry is too expensive to obtain. When this happens the government must interfere and regulate the industry in order for better industry practices.


SPC–Useful or not

After (Tuesday's) presentation it was a pleasure to hear Mr Graemes thoughts regarding Statistical Process Control as a tool to identify common and special causes. What I understand is that the tool SPC is used to identify ‘noise’ in the variation. This ‘noise’ is observed by the management and is treated as a special cause. This ‘noise’ is represented by the graph varying so much that it goes above or beyond the control charts.

As per Mr Graeme if there is a point in the graph that is above the chart, management must investigate as to why this has occurred, and then fix it. This process is referred to as ‘Find and fix it’. In the case, where the point is below the chart, then the management must investigate as to what happened that caused it to be below the chart. Once the reason is known, the management must try to repeat the process that resulted in the point being below the chart. The term for this is ‘find and keep’.

Implementing and incorporating this tool properly would enable the management to identify possible reasons for causing the ‘noise’ and thus the management must work on improving the process to provide a solution for the causes of this ‘noise’.


October 22, 2013

ROWE–Productive or Unproductive

After the seminar yesterday, it can be said that I have understood how creativity is promoted in an organization that has a result oriented work environment. However, it was pointed out by one of my classmate, that ROWE does not always work in being productive. Best Buy is one company that can be used as an example here, as ROWE was not helpful in increasing productivity in that organization.

After giving it some thought, I came to the conclusion that ROWE is not something that can be incorporated within an organization in one day. It is a process of converting the organizations culture and work environment and cannot be done over night. Google is one example that works well with ROWE, and this is because the organization has been operating in that fashion over a long period of time. Google hires people who are self driven, intrinsically motivated, and who don’t have to be supervised.

In my opinion, if an organization wants to adopt ROWE, then the first step must be to teach the managers how to lead. I say this because leaders create change for the future, and the managers would only be able to bring about a change if they start to lead and plan for the furthest future. Then these leaders must start the change by giving their employees some autonomy and freedom and allow them to make their own decisions to a certain extent. Slowly and gradually there would come a time when the employees won’t need any kind of supervision and that would be the time when the organization is operating in a result oriented work environment. It is a gradual process and the leaders must have a clear and constant vision to achieve what they aim for.


ROWE–Productive or Unproductive

After the seminar yesterday, it can be said that I have understood how creativity is promoted in an organization that has a result oriented work environment. However, it was pointed out by one of my classmate, that ROWE does not always work in being productive. Best Buy is one company that can be used as an example here, as ROWE was not helpful in increasing productivity in that organization.

After giving it some thought, I came to the conclusion that ROWE is not something that can be incorporated within an organization in one day. It is a process of converting the organizations culture and work environment and cannot be done over night. Google is one example that works well with ROWE, and this is because the organization has been operating in that fashion over a long period of time. Google hires people who are self driven, intrinsically motivated, and who don’t have to be supervised.

In my opinion, if an organization wants to adopt ROWE, then the first step must be to teach the managers how to lead. I say this because leaders create change for the future, and the managers would only be able to bring about a change if they start to lead and plan for the furthest future. Then these leaders must start the change by giving their employees some autonomy and freedom and allow them to make their own decisions to a certain extent. Slowly and gradually there would come a time when the employees won’t need any kind of supervision and that would be the time when the organization is operating in a result oriented work environment. It is a gradual process and the leaders must have a clear and constant vision to achieve what they aim for.


October 13, 2013

Do Financial Incentives Work on Employee?

Hello readers, hope everyone had a good weekend!

In my opinion, the best way to improve is to encourage employees to take risks. The employees/managers must be given the autonomy and freedom to decide on their own what steps to take to improve the particular process they are involved in. The management must take final decision, but it is their duty to make it possible for the employee to implement what he thinks is the best method to improve the process. If the management does not appreciate the efforts of the employees and does not allow him to implement the change, change won’t be possible. An environment of trust must be developed within the organization, plus the management must be approachable.

But then a question comes to mind, why would an employee think about changing/improving the process. An important lesson learnt in class was that financial incentives do not work, for the motivation of employees. Intrinsic motivation is the way to go! The best way to keep employees motivated as well as productive is to make them think out of the box, and take risks. Employees/managers must list the problems they face and tell them to come up with solutions on their own time. This way they would be involved in the process of critical thinking which is beneficial for the company's growth as well as their own personal/professional development!


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