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How to unlock productivity improvement

12/01/2020

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When a business is not performing as efficiently as it could, it can be tough to work out where to make immediate changes for the biggest impact. Knowing which order to do all the important things is difficult.

We had a case where a client restructured four times within eighteen months. During that period, several individuals managed the operations on a temporary basis with varying levels of support. Each had their own view of how the operations structure should be and where CI fitted into it.

As a result, the business went from having no CI resource to having a dedicated CI team. The impact on resource to focus on CI was good, but did putting people in a role for focus on continuous improvement fix the site’s problems and guarantee results?

In a case like this one, what impact does restructuring have on the consistent execution of strategy? How does it impact the front-line management team who cannot develop their teams effectively without knowing how long they will be working with them until the next restructure?

Is changing a management structure to improve bandwidth and provide dedicated resources to CI really the path to achieving sustainable results?

The answer is both yes and no. Yes – because the operational structure is important and will have an impact on results. No – because focusing solely on one element of your business won’t create sustainable improvements.

We believe the key to unlocking productivity improvement is the OPEN process.

The OPEN process works on the basis that it is better to be effective in all areas rather than ineffective in some and world-class in others.

Why focus on building an exceptional organisational structure, but not set clear KPIs? Are well-structured weekly meetings effective if nobody is collecting data or following up on actions?

In our OPEN process, each element is scored by colour with effective being green, good practice being silver and best practice being gold. FMCG factories should aim to get every area green and then work towards turning them silver and gold.

But surely this brings us back to our original point about not knowing which order to do all the important things? If you have multiple areas that are in the red, which do you focus on first?

That’s why we’ve designed our FMCG Academy. It works by allowing you and your front-line teams to audit each area. By involving front-line teams, you get a true insight into which areas are ineffective. You might find that some of the results surprise you – areas you thought were under control might actually be areas that need attention.

Not only does the FMCG Academy give managers an insight into the views of the front-line teams, it also improves employee engagement and educates them around elements of continuous improvement. We believe that knowledge of operational excellence and world-class manufacturing shouldn’t be limited to the realm of the few. Our objective is to promote productivity improvement by sharing good and best practice with everyone involved in running a factory.

You can find out more about our FMCG Academy by signing up to access our free version. This will give you an insight into how it works and whether it is right for you.

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