Last week we began the discussion on change agents and I’d like to keep the conversation going. As important as identifying change agents is, it is also important to understand what they bring to your organization. So here’s what they do and why it’s important to your change effort.
They provide education
This might seem simplistic but the most common reason for resistance is lack of knowledge. The staff hasn’t learned from leadership that a change is coming, so they are resistant. The staff doesn’t understand why the change is necessary, they don’t understand the timetable or their role in the change so they resist any changes large or small. The result is a failed change project due to resistance. By bringing a change agent into your project, you create the ability for an influential staff member to change organizational thinking and use that change effort to create successful projects.
They impart education and training
Change agents provide invaluable support and if they possess technical knowledge they impart this information during lunch breaks and off the clock. The give your staff a practical way to think about the change and can literally show them the benefits and ease of use associated with your change project.
Help organize and review programs
Even in a horizontal organization the staff and the leadership are going to think about operational goals very differently. Change agents help leadership by reviewing change programs and providing relevant feedback on the projects strengths and weaknesses, an invaluable tool in risk management.
When done correctly, change is a very powerful tool. Each and every organization possesses tools that make change projects easier, change agents are just one tool.
As Six Sigma is a quality management tool many professionals have a staunch opinion that Six Sigma is a reactionary tool thereby limiting its effectiveness. Thinking about this begs the question is it proactive or reactionary? To get to the bottom of this we have to think about what the terms mean for business.
Reactive change management is how your organization reacts to something outside of the organization, think of a client directive or an external public relations disaster. Reactive change is basically change that would not occur unless something prompted it. Proactive change management occurs when management initiates changes to achieve an organizational goal or objective. These are changes that happen to ensure a long term strategic goal is met. So which one does Six Sigma fall under?
The answer really is that it can be both; because it is a tool, it can be employed in either circumstance and management will ultimately determine how it is applied. Ideally Six Sigma would be used in preventative capacity, but it can and is used as a reactionary tool. When deciding which area to use Six Sigma, consider these questions:
1. Why is this change necessary?
2. Does this situation need a permanent or an immediate solution?
3. How much time can I devote to solving this challenge?
4. Do I have the resources necessary to allow for a testing and analysis phase?
So much of the success of Six Sigma depends on how it is understood and implemented; asking these four questions can determine if Six Sigma is the right solution for your organization.
Supply Chain is a big part of any operational strategy and yet it is arguably the most mismanaged area within companies. I was contacted by Michael Koplov of Software Advice and he shared with me a very good and balanced article on supply chain management. The article provides realistic solutions to the most common supply chain issues: supplier incentives, handling high risk suppliers, supplier visibility and communication and supplier expectations. Please check it out below!
Many modern supply chains are managed by software systems that automate processes and assist with the management of complex transactions. What they don’t do, however, is replace the need to develop critical relationships between buyers and suppliers.
Ariba’s Justin Fogarty moderated a conference call in June revolving around this question from the Strategic Sourcing & Procurement LinkedIn group: “True or False: Do penalties improve supplier performance?”
The main thing to take away from this call was that operations professionals need to put an emphasis back on improving these relationships. Find more takeaways at the article below:
Read the full article at: http://www.softwareadvice.com/articles/scm/back-to-the-basics-for-supplier-management-1070811/
Six Sigma speaks frequently of eliminating non- value activities and in the last post, I talked about how you can define value in your organization. For this post I want to continue the value discussion and talk about how you define a non-value activity and what the most common types are. Simply put non-value activities are activities that don’t provide anything for the customer and don’t provide your organization with a competitive advantage. The best way to think of it is as all flash and no substance. When looking around your organization’s processes or staff, you should be concentrating on why things are done; you want to know what the processes are adding and what kind of blockages they are creating.
The 8 Most Common Types of Non- Value Added Activities
2. Excessive Inventory Taskings/Poorly Structured Inventory Processes
4. Processing Procedures
5. Transportation Procedures
6. Idle Time
7. Unfocused moves
8. Staff Shuffling
If you can recognize any of these activities within your organization, it’s probably worth it to have a look at where and why the activity is occurring.
In Six Sigma and change methodology there is a lot of emphasis on creating and sustaining value. This seems straight forward until you try to implement value and then you find yourself asking “What is value”? It seems like such a simple question, but different organizations define value in different way. For LSS and SS projects I like to use DMADV as the easiest way to define value.
Define: Ensure your team defines the project and customer demands.
Measure: Create value by measuring and assessing the current organizational situation. The assessment creates a consensus within your organization about what is important and how it should be measured.
Analyze: Pros vs. Cons. This seems like a no brainer, but in business everything seems to become more complicated. This step is in my opinion one of the most important value steps.
Design: Design a new draft plan that incorporates the findings of the first 3 steps.
Verify: Arguably one of the most important business concepts ever; verify the design and determine whether it is the appropriate design to meet your goals.
I know that this is simplistic, but it is just to get you started on your Six Sigma journey. You are not going to be able to take this outline and start a project but when you are talking to your belt, you will understand the information being presented to you.