Maintaining the gains from operations improvements is challenging, but not insurmountable. It all starts at the beginning of your improvement project before you have made any changes. The following steps are a guide to make your improvements stick!
- Before and After Measurements
- Pick one key performance metric that resonates with the process personnel.
- Establish your baseline performance before making improvements or changing anything.
- Track the performance over time for this one metric with a control chart or a run chart to show the before, during, and after improvement stages for the process.
- Operational Definitions
- Document what was changed or improved
- Document the steps taken for the corrective actions that drove the improvement
- Update or develop work instructions that clearly describe how to do the impacted process activities correctly and consistently.
- Make sure that the work instructions, or procedures, are U-SMART (Useful, Specific, Measureable, Not Ambiguous, Repeatable, and Terse and to the point).
- Control Plan
- Name the owner of the process.
- Identify where and who will measure your key performance metric.
- Determine the frequency of measurements and updating of the tracking mechanism (control chart or run chart).
- If something goes wrong name the corrective action takers.
- Make a list of corrective action steps based upon the corrective actions that have already been implemented to resolve the past performance issues.
- Keep all measurements, work instructions, process procedures, and corrective action steps visible for all process personnel to have ready access.
You can now run your process and maintain the gains from your improvements. The Control Strategy that Works starts and ends with the measurement system. We know where we are before we make changes and then validate the gains after implementation of corrective actions. Keep on measuring to maintain those gains!
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