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Description automatically generatedAcross the world, the Manufacturing Companies are leveraging Industry 4.0 to become more efficient and to deliver more to the Customers. Indian Manufacturing Companies have a long way to go. I heard a Multi-National Company say that they are in Industry 2.0 or 2.5 in India while their Global operations are going strongly towards Industry 4.0. This is the status of many Indian Manufacturing Companies. 

 

To become receptive to Industry 4.0, Indian Manufacturing needs to lift their game in several areas. Majority of Indian Manufacturing seems to be stuck with traditional methods of working. Whether it is handling Quality or Maintenance or Industrial Engineering etc. 

 

Some of the Companies are finding the need to change and adapting better methods. But, still majority of the Companies are still in a very ‘Lazy State’. It is not just about the Staff and their knowledge. It is about the perspective of the Management itself. 

 

The Companies from Automotive Industry in India are in slightly better positioned as far as the Systems are concerned. But, even in this industry I observe that only about 25-30% of the Companies are having Good practices. 70% of Automotive and Auto Ancillary Companies  are still working inefficiently. 

 

In the next few Posts, I would like to discuss about a few areas in which the Indian Manufacturing Companies have to lift their game so that they can get ready for the Fourth Industrial Revolution!! 

 

Let us talk about Maintenance of Plant & Machineryin this Post. 

 

For ease of discussion, we will address two types of Situations. 

 

I.              Where the Traditional Machinery forms majority of the Machines in a company: Most of the Indian Manufacturing Companies have Traditional Machines with least amount of Automation. 

 

Current Status 

 

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Description automatically generatedThe Maintenance that happens in many of the Companies is only ‘Breakdown Maintenance’. The whole Maintenance team would be attending to Breakdowns. 

 

The Companies are dealing with:

 

-      Multiple Breakdowns of the same machinery.

-      Serious Production losses.

-      Preventive Maintenance not happening regularly. (Production does not release the machines for PM!) 

-      Companies replacing the Machines in frustration and when pushed by the Customer! 

-      The Spares required are not stocked in many companies. In some companies you have Costly spares that are rusting. You never have something what you want. 

 

Mindset of Maintenance Team in these companies: The Maintenance Team are busy chasing the Breakdowns. They are ready to burst if you just tap them on the shoulder!! They are frustrated with the Multiple Break downs. A good number of them are not ready to listen to any ‘Different approach’ as they are ‘suffering’. Their Bosses are ‘scared to touch’ them as the Basics may suffer!! The Bosses keep humoring the Maintenance team much less challenging them to get to new level!! 

 

 

Lift the Game

 

I suggest following steps to lift the Game in Maintenance of the Traditional Plant & Machinery.

 

01.  Strengthen the Maintenance team: If Breakdowns are too many and Maintenance team is under frustration, you can look at strengthening the Maintenance team by a) Training them b) Adding some Young Engineers to the team. Please do not fuss over this. You will more than recover your investment.

 

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Description automatically generatedDifferentiate: Even while having Break downs in a Factory, there will be at least 50% of your Machinery that is simply not having any Breaking down! These are ‘Zero Breakdown’ Machines. This may be due to your pattern of usage or may be these machines are built with generous Specs!! The Machines that have Zero Breakdowns have to be dealt differently. The approach has to be more Proactive to keep them as Zero Breakdown machines for a longer time. 

 

If you don’t differentiate, you would be waiting for them to Break down and only then you will do something! Does not sound alright. Isn’t it?

 

02.  Improving the machines: A proper Study of the Break down data for the last one year will help you understand why Breakdowns are happening and what you need to do to reduce them. The Corrective actions would involve things like a) Taking a few machines for major repairs b) Training users for handling the machines in a better manner c) Training the Maintenance team to reduce MTTR. 

 

The approach here should be that of a Project approach. The Worst 10 machines should get out of the ‘Worst’ List in 4 months’ time! You need to rev up your Engine to get out of a big Pot hole that you got yourself in to!! 

 

03.  A close up of a sign

Description automatically generatedLift the Perspective of your Team: You need to Train your Team and take them to companies where the Maintenance Practices are at the next level. This will help them to know about the next level of Maintenance Practices. Otherwise, they may not simply know the possibilities!! 

 

04.  Introduce Predictive Maintenance practices: Introduce Predictive Maintenance for machines that do not have Breakdowns. Many companies have belief that they should deal with the Break downs and then finally go on to the Better Maintenance Practices! It is not needed to wait! When you Train your team and take them to Bench Mark companies, the urge to get to the next level will start. 

 

05.  Have Targets for progress: Motivate the team and set targets for Reducing Breakdowns as well as expanding the Predictive Maintenance! Please ensure your team continuously visits companies that are doing better on Maintenance. Whether in India or outside!! Seeing is believing!!

 

II.            Where you are dealing with Automated Factories: Many Indian Companies have introduced Automated Machines. Some Companies have set up Plants that are predominantly automated. 

 

Current Status

 

The Companies that have some Automated Machines or one/two Totally Automated Plants deal with issues like this:

 

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Description automatically generatedIn many Cases, the Breakdowns are higher than the Manual machines! 

-      The Plant is not giving designed output. Sometimes the output is 60-70% of the Standard output! 

-      There are higher Quality Problems in these Automated machines.

-      The Maintenance practices recommended by the Manufacturer of the Machine / Plant are not followed as they are ‘too costly’. 

-      The Maintenance team is not fully conversant with the Machine/Plant. 

 

This status is not universal. There may be some Companies who are doing well in Automated Plants. But, a great majority of Indian Manufacturing is not in good shape.

 

Mindset of the Maintenance Team: The Maintenance team is still in awe of the Automated machine. They approach it in the traditional manner i.e Wait till it Breaks down and then attend to it. But, as this is an Automated machine with high output, the losses are higher! The Maintenance team finds out many short cuts with which they can manage the machine. Read it as ‘By passing most of the controls on the Automated machines’. 

 

We keep approaching the Modern Machine with Traditional Mindset. The mis match can not give good result! 

 

Lift the Game

 

01.  Train the Team / Introduce young blood: You need to train your team immediately in Modern Maintenance practices. It would be very useful to introduce Fresh Engineers in to the System and give them bigger role in the Modern Maintenance. They don’t have ‘Experience’. So the acceptance is much easier. 

 

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Description automatically generatedWork on the System:  In a highly Automated Environment the thin line between Maintenance Engineers and Production Engineers should be wiped out. Both skills are needed in the same Engineer. The Engineer should look at the machine as something that he has to maintain as per some Guidelines. Earlier he only had to ‘push’ the people in the less automated environment to get Production. Now, he has to deal with some disciplined way of maintaining the Machine. His attitude has to become more disciplined! 

 

03.  Use the Machine features: Most of the Automated Machines have a number of features that can be used to Maintain the machine. Collaborate with the Machine Manufacturer and use all these facilities. 

 

There can be a number of outputs in the PLC that you can use for a Visual Management of the Machine. 

 

The Predictive Maintenance can be introduced with a combination of Man and Machine. 

 

04.  Beats in the Shop: The Engineers should have a ‘Beat’ (Or Route)  just like a Sales person in the field. During this ‘Beat’ the Engineer should check various features of the Automated Plant and ensure things are working as they should. The work of the Engineers should comprise of several ‘Beats’. 

 

In a Traditional environment the work of the Engineer is predominantly dealing with the People. 

 

05.  Understand the Machine deeply: The Automation and the Automated Machine/Plant has to be understood deeply. How the machine works and what are the indications of the Machine asking for attention. 

 

A Lot of Data has to be collected and the patterns have to be understood. 

 

06.  A picture containing clothing

Description automatically generatedDigital Twins: When you understand your Machine / Plant, then you can take the help of the Industry 4.0 elements and take it to the next level of making a Digital Twin of the Machine. Then, you can predict failures and prevent them much more effectively. 

 

 

The approaches can differ from company to company. But, some of the fundamentals will remain same for everyone. 

 

We need to find a way to lift our game and graduate to Industry 4.0. 

 

Will your Company rediscover itself during this Industrial Revolution OR are you going to miss it out totally?

Published in People Productivity

There is a good buzz in the Indian Manufacturing Industry now about Digitalization and Industry 4.0. Every Managing Director would like to tell his/her colleagues at the Club about how they are implementing Digitalization in a big way and trying to implement Industry 4.0 and so on. 

 

I hear many Functional Managers also trying their hand at collecting more data from machines. They are not very clear what exactly they want to do with that data. But, they have started a Project anyway. 

 

This same companies are having modern Machine Tools that already collect a lot of data as a routine. Most of this data is not being used at all. 

 

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Description automatically generatedThe other day I heard about a Machine Shop Manager who is collecting data about vibration on the tool holder on the Machine tool and trying to decide when to change the Tool. This is a smart local application. This Will definitely help the Manager to avoid Quality losses due to blunt tools running for more than their life. 

 

But, these smart local applications are very few. 

 

Irrespective of what they already have, Managers and Managing Directors across the Industry are in mad rush to get a tag of ‘We are implementing Industry 4.0’. 

 

I see following problems in many of these companies rushing to ‘try Industry 4.0’.

 

01.  Many Indian Manufacturing Companies have not yet implemented the Basic Lean Practices in their Shop floors. 

02.  The Pull principle is not being used. There are many companies that are still having Batch Production on their shop floor. 

03.  The Layouts are still archaic that necessitate unnecessary movement of material.

04.  I have seen companies allowing excess Production as they do not want their workmen to be idle!! 

05.  There is no focus on the Skills of the Workmen. With the attrition problem on the Shop floor, this is a serious problem for the industry.

06.  I know many companies that have not solved some perennial Supply issues and resultantly produce according to what material is available and not what Customer wants! 

07.  Wherever the Companies have installed Automated Machines and invested in to Technology, I have seen that the Company is having more problems with the Higher Technology machines. The Quality losses are higher in these machines, they breakdown more and over a period of time many of the wonderful features of these machines are by passed and it is used worse than its’ less Automated cousin that is co-existing. 

 

This is not a complete list of problems. I am not saying there are no Companies that are not using Technology and Lean Principles. But, this is a very small percentage.

 

I see three issues from this situation:

 

a)     A close up of a sign

Description automatically generatedUnderstanding Lean approach: Majority of Indian Companies have still not understood and leveraged the Lean Principles. 

b)    People element:We have not understood how to address the ‘People’ element when we bring in higher Technology. We need to help the person involved to ‘Work differently’. 

c)     Short term approach: We are still looking at this year results and many of us are worried about this Quarter performance and this Month’s performance. We continue to remain ‘Short Termish’!

 

While this is the status, there are some companies that are waking up as the Market Competition is increasing and they can’t simply tolerate the HUGE inefficiencies on the shop floor. 

 

Every Company has to wake up!! If they are not woken up by the ‘Indian Competition’ then they will be woken up by the ‘International Competition’. 

 

The Other Side

 

While this is the status of majority of the Companies trying to implement Industry 4.0, the Companies offering ‘Industry 4.0 solutions’ are also in the same Boat! While there are some International Companies like Siemens and a few of Local Companies that have understood how to use Industry 4.0 elements to take their clients to the next level, majority of the Companies offering the ‘Expert services of Industry 4.0’ do not know what they are talking about! 

 

I have personal experience of talking to a few of these experts who have fancy websites calling out the World to implement Industry 4.0 with their help. Most of these Companies have not done anything in this area. Most of them do not know anything about Lean! 

 

So, we have a very dangerous combination of Companies who are not ready for Industry 4.0 but want to implement it anyway! On the other side we have a big contingent of Companies who do not know anything about Manufacturing offering Industry 4.0 solutions. A lot of money is getting wasted around!! 

 

 

 

How can we go forward?

 

It does not matter what the current status of the  Manufacturing Company is, if they have understood the need to improve their efficiencies and the power of Lean then we can progress. 

 

I would suggest that these companies take up a Re-Engineering of their Manufacturing that would involve the following:

 

-      Put Three Year Targets like:

 

o  Tripling People Productivity (Blue and White Collar Please)

o  Cutting Quality Losses by 75%.

o  Cutting Manufacturing Costs by 50%

o  Solving 100% of Customer related problems permanently

 

You can formulate a few more Goals that are relevant to your company.

 

-      Only a BIG target will wake up your Company and your team! You will achieve it! 

-      A person in a white room

Description automatically generatedFormulate a Full Time Task force which can be filled with Young Engineers straight from College. Bring in technical experts as needed. But, having a positive mindset is more important than the Technology. 

-      There should be representation from every Function in this Task force. 

-      Educate their Employees on Lean Principles starting with the Top. 

-      Recast their Value Stream Map on the basis of Lean principles. 

-      Resolve the perennial problems like Material Shortages, Bad Sub-Contractors who do not deliver on time and so on, Perennial Quality Problems that have become as permanent in the company as the owner himself/herself! 

-      Formulate several Projects that should be championed by the Task force with help from the regular Teams. 

-      On the way at the right time, we should start educating the employees on Industry 4.0 and the Technology that is available.

-      Visiting International companies to understand the Lean principles in action or Industry 4.0 in action is a very good idea. 

-      Implement Industry 4.0 elements as needed to achieve the Three year Goals. Finance Head should ensure that there is no Project that is being done just for the fancy of it. Every Project should pay back handsomely. 

 

When you are achieving some BIG targets in 3 years, that will allow you to spend a good amount of money to achieve it. The problem of how to finance the Industry 4.0 Projects will be addressed. 

 

So, you can turn your weakness of ‘Low Efficiency’ and ‘Not having implemented Lean’ in to something more positive as it would help you to spend good amount of money as you will get the payback relatively easier. 

 

So, when will you start off? 

 

Improve your Profits significantly and become a genuine implementer of Lean and Industry 4.0!! 

Published in People Productivity

In my interactions with about 100+ Companies as part of my Consultancy and Job experience, I have seen many problems related to Lack of Knowledge on the part of Employees in companies. Every company struggles with this problem. Some have identified that this is the problem. Some struggle the consequences without understanding the Root cause. Let us examine a few of them.

 

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Description automatically generatedCustomer facing teams not having the knowledge of Product and Company: Today, we are all losing the people in Sales, Service and Marketing teams quite often. New people keep coming in almost every month! But, my observation is that Companies do not have any tool for teaching these new people or some companies have very ineffective tools. Very few companies (may be 2%) have good systems for teaching them in a systematic manner. Result is that we have loose Cannons going to Customers and promising the sky, moon and the Galaxy whereas the company is here on earth! This is perhaps the most dangerous of all the problems related to knowledge. 

 

R&D Teams working with low / no knowledge of product: The R&D teams also are losing many people every month in most of the companies. Again when the new people come, companies do not teach them about their product or they say they don’t have time to teach them !! Result is that the R&D Engineers are designing the products / parts without understanding the Big picture. This creates more iterations at the best and companies lose big opportunities for optimization of their new products at the worst. 

 

Operators on the Shop floor  manufacturing the product without knowing the process: I am sure all of you are suffering with the problem of losing Operators on the Shop floor every month in a big number. Still, very few companies have good teaching methods for the new operators. Some companies have Training schools. But, use very ineffective processes to teach them about the Manufacturing Processes. Result is that the Company loses a lot of People Productivity as new people do not produce at standard rate for quite some time. The Company also loses in a big way in Quality. I have seen many companies who are living with this problem for years without addressing it !! They not only lose money, they lose customer confidence and they lose Top Line ! 

 

Manufacturing Team not exposed to Lean: Most of the Indian Companies have Manufacturing Teams who are not conversant with Lean Principles. This problem is there at senior levels as well as junior levels. This results in companies working in a very inefficient way. They use resources at least 2X than what is required. Many companies feel very happy if they can meet 100% of the Customer Schedule. They are not focusing on working efficiently and saving some big money. 

 

The same type of problems are there in Procurement where the teams do not have knowledge of Best Procurement practices, Engineering teams not conversant with Value Engineering principles, HR Teams not knowing about better Training practices, Stores teams not having knowledge of Kanban, Inventory Management.. the list can be long. 

 

Indian Companies are working with lot of inefficiency! We can improve our Bottom line and Top line  in a big way if only we can address this problem of Employee Knowledge in respective areas. 

 

Today we have Technology Solutions

 

Today there is enough technology available for companies to leverage and develop Learning Solutions for the employees. 

 

E-Learning: Using E-Learning, the Knowledge required can be taught to the employees in a systematic and uniform manner. The advantages of this technology are as follows:

 

a)     Make the learning interesting.

b)    Make it uniform for all employees.

c)     Test the knowledge and certify the employees.

d)    Repeat all this at no extra cost throughout the year and beyond.

 

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Description automatically generatedVirtual Reality: Using 3D and VR, one can teach about Product and Technology. The 3D Videos can help you to give a unique experience to the employees to look at the Products In a Virtual manner, look at them from all angles and understand the small details very well. This technology can be applied using the VR Goggles. This technology can be used in Product technology and it can also be used to convey an Induction program that will take a remote employee right in to the Factory using 360 Degree Video. There can be many more applications to this technology. Augmented Reality is another related technology that is available in this area. 

 

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Description automatically generatedGaming:Gaming has multiple approaches in Companies. Especially in Manufacturing. Using this, the knowledge can be conveyed in an innovative manner. Gaming can also be used to expose the Employees to different Business Problems in a fun or serious manner. Serious Gaming can be quite useful to companies to enhance Learning. 

 

 

How can you apply these Technologies?

 

Develop Solutions: A Company needs to get the Learning Solutions developed as a one-time affair. This is going to take some time for companies to do it. All the Knowledge that is needed for a company may not be available in a documented manner. The Knowledge has to be documented and it has to be used along with the Technology to develop innovative solutions. 

 

Proficiency Levels: The Proficiency levels have to be defined in a Company for Employees at various levels in each type of Knowledge. Product knowledge is needed for an R&D Engineer at the highest level. But, for a HR Executive this may be required at a much lower level. 

Learning Management: The Courses to convey the knowledge have to be made available to the employees for learning and certification. This data base has to be maintained using a Learning Management System.

 

Learning Centers: Learning Centers can be developed with a combination of Physical work benches and E-Learning Videos that help the employees to learn the process theoretically and then apply it on the work bench. One can aim at bringing the new employees to the required Productivity and Quality in the Learning Centers before allowing them to the Shop floors. 

 

Organizational push: While all this can be done, the Employees also have to take responsibility to learn. To ensure this, the Companies can think of making Learning and Certification of employees a mandatory affair. Unless the Employees are Certified, they may not be eligible for participating in the Annual Performance evaluation. This will ensure there is a Pull from Employees for the Learning and Certification. 

 

 

A Company can revolutionize learning and get tangible results with this approach. I believe Companies should take help from outside to do this. I personally would prefer People with good application knowledge than those who are expert IT People. In this area what is required is the innovative application ability. 

 

Are you ready to take your Learning to a new level ? 

 

What is Critical: To understand the Technology and applying it in a Model area is important to realize the power of this approach. 

Published in People Productivity

Ram is the Head – Sales & Marketing for the company and he is in the Weekly review with Manufacturing head. The other functional heads are also there in the meeting. Ram is struggling to get the commitment from Manufacturing head for the deliveries that need to happen in the next week. 

 

Individual Problems and Collective Suffering

 

The Problems of the Manufacturing Head seems to be unending. There are several Part shortages on a daily basis as the Customer demand is going up without notice. There are Quality problems in the New Products introduced and the Process is not yet stabilized for a big number of Products introduced in to the Manufacturing in the past 6 months. The Machines are having higher break down hours as the Preventive Maintenance is not happening regularly. The list is long. 

 

 

The Quality Head, Materials Head, Engineering Head spoke about their own problems. All the Problems sound genuine. No one seems to have a good solution with some time lines to implement. The Weekly meeting ended with a few arguments, blaming each other and without a proper solution to the problems on hand. 

 

This is a very common situation in many Manufacturing Companies that I have seen. These weekly meetings go on without end and normally gives the same output as explained above. 

 

What is the solution?

 

How to ensure a good team work happens in the company and the Customer is serviced much better?

 

I think the Root cause lies in the way the Manufacturing Companies are Operating. We seem to be pushing the Functional teams away from each other and this is resulting in lack of team work and lack of respect to the internal Customers and bad service to the external customers. 

 

There are five essentials to ensuring good Customer orientation in the company and promote Team work in the company.

01.  Stabilize the Routine: If the Routine is well defined and stable, the teams will have less flash points. The Routine in each function has to be defined in terms of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). This is a continuous journey for Indian Companies as the growth is higher in our companies and things keep changing on the ground every day. A Company should recognize this need and put effort on stabilizing the routine. 

 

02.  CFT Culture: The Cross functional Team culture has to be promoted in the Company. Some critical elements in the CFT Culture :

a.     Goal deployment: Goals that have to be achieved together have to be deployed to ALL the relevant team members across the functions. 

 

b.     Working methodology: The CFTs should have a strong Work ethic and methodology. The methodology should promote a systematic achievement of Goals.

c.     Peer assessment: The team members have to be assessed by the Peers in addition to the Bosses. Peer assessment is very powerful and a Group assessment technique has to be used for this purpose.  

d.     Internal Customer rating: The company can promote the culture of rating by Internal Customers for all the Internal suppliers. This way the Internal Suppliers will get periodic feedback from the Internal Customers and they will have to act upon it. 

e.     Process based teams: It would be good to seat the teams as per the Process. For example, the team that fulfills the orders of the Customers can sit together in one place. This team may consist of members from Sales, Purchase , Stores, Dispatch etc. This will ensure that the team understands each other and gets formed as a ‘real team’. 

03.  Functional orientation of Senior Leaders: The Senior Leaders are one of the main reasons why the Silos gets built up in the Companies. The attachment of the Senior Leaders to their teams and to their own Functional Points of view is a big issue. Functional point of view is important. But, the administrative point of view is a daily issue in any company without which the result will not happen. The role of the Senior leaders is to build Functional Competence in the Company. They should allow their team members to work along with the other Functional team members freely. The Senior Leaders should play a subtle role at the back ground to build the Functional excellence. The teams are more than capable of achieving the goals of the Company. If they play their teams too close to their chest, they would be doing a disservice to the company. 

 

The Leaders of the Company have to build this work culture in the Company. The Senior Leaders may need some help in this aspect. 

 

04.  Training as teams: If the Cross Functional Teams have to stick together and work together, they have to be treated as teams in every sense. They have to be trained in Leadership skills together as a team. While they may learn Functional skills individually, they have to be brought together as a team for teaching Leadership Skills. This would help in building them as a team. The Training should encourage talking about the working methodology of the team.

 

 

05.  Assessment and Rewards: The Cross Functional Teams should get assessed as Teams and a good part of the reward has to be given as a team. This would push the team members together. They earn as a team or lose as a team. 

 

A company has to learn the art of getting results from their teams. They can speed up their learning if they go about it in a systematic manner as explained.

 

END

 

 

Published in Leadership
Sunday, 10 March 2019 00:00

How good are you at Time management?

Whenever I hear the term ‘Time management’, it comes to my mind that we cannot Manage time. It keeps slipping away whether we do something or not. We can only Manage our work better. But, let us keep with this popular term for this article. 

 

Image result for time management

Time Management is a serious problem for almost ALL Managers in the Indian Industry. Some would have realized it and many others may not even realize that they are not using their time well. The Managers that I have come across come in to the following few categories. 

 

Firefighters: These are the Managers who are forever putting off some fire. You can find many of them in Automotive industry. These Managers come early and go late (if they go home). Their Children see them rarely as they go to company even on a Sunday as they can ‘work peacefully’ on a Sunday. Many of them have got addicted to it. They keep telling whoever can listen that they are working for 18 hours a day and so on. The Firefighters do not even worry about Time Management. They have given up long back and now they just go with the wind. In most of the cases, their companies also have given up that ‘some Managers have to be dedicated to the fire fighting’. There is no fight back at all.

 

Minimalists: These are the Managers who may be in Discrete Manufacturing Companies. These Minimalists do not believe in taking up too much agenda on to their plate. Whatever is put on their plate by their Bosses will be handled forever. They are in no hurry to finish anything. They do not see any need for Time Management as they do not want to ‘hurry’ anything. Their Companies also have come to believe that nothing should be ‘hurried’. Whenever I took up this issue with these Managers, I have seen that their Managing Director defends them !! The belief that they should not ‘hurry’ is quite deep !! 

 

Trouble Shooters: These are the guys who love the adrenalin rush. Whenever there is trouble, these people are called. They are handling an emergency forever! If one emergency is over, they look for the next one. They feel Time Management is not for their type of work. 

 

Boss Pleaser: This Manager will do only things that are asked by the Boss. He will never take up any agenda without Boss asking him to do. They will complete it as the Boss asks them to. They are not managing their Time. Their Boss may be managing it, if at all. 

 

Image result for timid

Timid Manager: These are pushed around by just about everyone in the company. They are the people who would be going around with an expression of ‘carrying the world’. Always hunched and always under strain. They just don’t have time to manage time! 

 

There may be a very small percentage of Managers who are trying to manage their time and push a particular agenda of their own. I find this type of Managers to be a very small minority in the Industry.

 

 

 

What are the effects of not managing your time wisely?

 

When there is no concept of managing your work and managing time, only the Urgent and Important gets done. If you look at the Time Matrix, the First quadrant is the one that you would give attention to. By default you would wait for everything to come to First Quadrant to attend to it. 

 

Image result for time matrix

 

 

So, there is no proactive approach. You would become thoroughly reactive. You would be acting in the last minute for everything. If you are still keeping your Customers happy, then you would be spending disproportionate resources to keep your Customers happy. While the Business would be growing, your profit will become lesser and lesser as you are becoming more and more inefficient. 

 

An organization can loose Top line opportunities / Bottom line in this situation. But, very often there will be no awareness of this and many Indian Companies are accepting that this is a ‘normal Business situation’. This is more worrying factor !! 

 

What can be done?

 

Bad Time Management and Bad Work Management Is a Symptom and this is not the root cause. The Root cause lies in the way the Business Is run. The way the employees manage their Work. 

 

01.  Work Management System: Create an environment of Employees taking responsibility and are made accountable. When every Employee takes responsibility for his/her work, then the environment would be amenable for better Work Management / Time Management. This can be achieved by introducing a Work Management System (WMS) where the Organizational Goals would be deployed to the entire organization in a systematic manner and reviews are done in a systematic manner. Every employee is expected to take responsibility for his/her KPIs and they are expected to take Corrective and Preventive actions when they don’t meet targets. 

 

Addressing this overall environment issue is very much essential to ensure your team is managing their work diligently. Without addressing this Root cause, you can not solve the problem.

 

02.  Promote Planning: Once the goals are clearly given to the employees, the Company needs to promote Planning in the company. There have to be Annual Planning for achieving the goals. There has to be Quarterly Planning to make Annual Plan a reality. The Quarterly plans have to be translated in to Monthly / Weekly plans. Each week every Manager has to spend some time to review his last week and plan for the next week on a daily basis. There may be something that comes to everyone without planning. There will be Quadrant 1 activity. ‘Urgent and Important’. But, as you keep up with your Planning, the Quadrant 1 will reduce and Quadrant 2 will increase. The Planning should help us keep the focus on ‘what needs to be done’. Initially our success may be small. But, an Organization has to persist to help their Managers to get a hold on the Work Management / Time Management. 

 

03.  Measure your Time usage: To improve something, you need to measure it. You can measure your Time usage with two Metrics:

 

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a.     Proportion of time that you are able to plan: If you are at the work for 8 hours, are you able to plan for full 8 hours? I would recommend that you should try to plan as much proportion of your time as possible. If you want to keep yourself open to helping your colleagues, you don’t want to plan for sometime, then don’t push yourself to achieve 100%. But, try to take control of 100% of your time. 

b.     Success rate in sticking to the plan: You may be able to plan for 100% of your time. But, you may not be able to work as per plan. When you just start off the improvement effort, your success rate would be small. But, you have to persist to ensure you improve your Success rate. 

 

Every Manager should review these two Metrics every week. Every Boss should spend some time with his Team reviewing this and helping them to take more control of their work. 

 

Indian Companies are losing a lot of opportunities to improve their top line and bottom line as their Managers do not have control of their work/time. 

 

The first step to regaining control is to put a ‘Work Management System’ in place. 

 

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Published in Leadership

In a Manufacturing Company, Problems are a day to day normal. Every Company would have Process problems, Product problems , People problems. The first two, Process and Product Problems are the ones we are addressing in this short Article.  

Living with the Problems

I have observed in companies that the same Process and Product Problems exist for a very long time. Various groups of Managers would have claimed victory over these problems and yet somehow the same problems exist forever. An Entrepreneur who would have been there for a long time in the organization would have seen that the problems are as old as him/her in the organization. 

I also notice that most of the Managers / Engineers are simply not equipped with the Problem solving abilities. I understand that the Engineers are not taught any Problem solving methodology in their Engineering course. They do not have any theoretical knowledge of the Problem solving. 

In Automotive Industry the Problem solving is better evolved. The Engineers / Managers in the Automotive Industry would have been taught some Problem Solving methodology. But, again my observation is that very small percentage of these Engineers / Managers would have learnt how to solve problems in a systematic manner. I would put this percentage at about 5%. 

It is very important that each of the Engineers in Manufacturing Companies, learn how to solve Problems. This is the most fundamental skill that is needed in this industry. Every Manufacturing Company should create Problem Solving Ninjas in their company. 

How do you create a group of Problem Solving Ninjas in your company?A few steps can be followed:

 

 

01.  Select a Problem Solving Methodology: There are several Problem Solving methodologies available. Eg. 8D, QC Story etc. A Company can formulate their own methodology borrowing good practices from all formal Methodologies that are available today. A Company should have a formal Problem Solving methodology and the process of it should be written down in detail. 

02.  Formulate an E-Learning Lesson to teach your Problem Solving Methodology: To teach the methodology in a uniform manner and to test the Trainees, an E-Learning lesson can be very useful. A E-Learning lesson has to be produced well. It requires experts to do this. It has to be used along with Physical Projects with Certified trainers within the company. When you start on this journey, you may use outside agency to train the Trainers. 

03.  Certify the Trainees: Define the Proficiency levels that are needed for Engineers / Managers in various functions. Train the Trainees in theory. Every Trainee should carry out a physical project in the correct methodology. The Physical Project has to be evaluated by experts from outside. This is essential to ensure the quality of the Problem solving Ninjas. On the basis of the Theoretical knowledge and Practical knowledge in terms of solving actual problems, the Trainees are certified. 

04.  Regular Problem solving:The Trainees should be allotted problems continuously and they should be guided to solve problems. Only this will ensure they learn the Problem solving deeply.  

05.  Problem solving app:It will be good to develop a ‘Problem Solving App’ that will have all the Problems in the company and that will allot the problems to various Problem Solvers continuously. This App should also monitor the stages of the Problem solving and follow up with the Trainees. 

06.  Keep improving the methodology regularly: Majority of the Problems in a Manufacturing Company are simple and do not need advanced tools. But, a small percentage of the problems would need Statistical tools like DOE, Regression Equations and so on. The Problem Solving methodology has to be continuously improved with these advanced tools. The Certification has to be upgraded for these additional tools. 

07.  Giving high importance to Problem solving: A Company should give high importance to the Problem solving and the importance should be reflected in the Performance Management System in a company. Employees who are ‘Problem Solving Ninjas’ should be rewarded. 

 

A Company that is able to solve the Product / Process Problems can progress very well in satisfying the customer needs. A Company that can keep upgrading its’ ability to satisfy the ever increasing demands of the Customer would obviously progress well in the Business. 

 

Develop Problem Solving Ninjas in your Company!! 

 

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Published in Quality