The articles below explain how to overcome common barriers to improvement inertia and how industry leaders sustain the gains where others are not able to.

This is based on our work with well-known and award winning organisations.  There is much to learn from them.  If there are any topics you would like is to add, please get in touch.

For more detailed articles check out our DAK Academy website guide which contains links to videos, articles and downloads.

The Missing Link to Step Up Gains

What does it take to deliver step up gains
It is very easy for organisations to get locked into a cycle of reacting to failures even when the reason for the failures is self evident. Even in successful organisations, it can be easy to spend time chasing issues that are never fully resolved.

To understand why this issue is so common, take a look at the 5 types of improvement solution. These relate to:

Overcoming Inertia

This is the second article setting out how to deliver step up gains. If you haven't read the first one click here.

The most frequent reason for problem solving inertia is a lack of clarity about who is accountable for the fix to solve process.

Organisations that overcome this inertia well, put responsibility for the solution closest to the problem. That is they develop their front line team ability to achieve stable operation and support activities to ratchet up performance. Progress is measured by the teamwork development steps set out below.

Accelerating the Pace of Improvement

Our research into the improvement journeys of well known and award winning organisations highlights:

  1. The value of using practical projects as a vehicle for improvement training. In addition to the gains delivered from the improvement activity, this accelerates the acceptance of best practice concepts into the real world environment.
  2. The most effective improvement approach is team based as this supports the development of soft skill competencies such as leadership, collaboration and teamworking.

This approach is characterised by the creation of an aligned network of improvement leaders who support the improvement process as part of their normal routines. That includes:

Taming Technology

Research into how TPM countermeasures remove the causes of stoppages from over 500 line running years identifies 2 areas that contribute to 85% of the causes of breakdowns. These are... 

Ratcheting Up Performance

In Manufacturing, most instances of unplanned downtime are due to small stops. These are not the major breakdowns that are central to Reliability failure curve concepts. Unsurprisingly failure curves  don’t help when trying to resolve what is referred to in TPM as idling and minor stops.

Some organisations using TPM Focused Improvement tools, have been able to extend average time between intervention from the minutes experienced by many manufacturers to hours or more.

 How do they do that?

Getting better at what you do?

Every year we learn more about the work we do which helps us to do the job better. Harnessing that collective learning process is what drives performance improvement. At the same time, people move on, roles change and new recruits take time to get up to speed. That is why for every organisation, every day is a learning day and why the ability to develop people is a measure of management competence.

What does it take to guide this learning process so that every learning day helps the organisation to get better at what it needs to do to prosper and grow.

Workplace Learning as Part of the Routine

Workplace Learning involves the use of practical improvement projects to create a structured learning process leading to the development of job related skills and knowledge.

Correctly designed, these programmes also provide leaders with the opportunity for conversations with direct reports about business priorities and actions to improve performance. 

That is also a way for Leaders to hone coaching skills and create the conditions for learning and engagement.  


Creating the conditions for learning

The most effective form of learning for adults is through practical projects.  This is particularly relevant at the moment because research indicates that today, learning priorities for enterprises and individuals alike are the soft skills of communication and collaboration. Skills which can only be developed through social interaction.  So the creation of learning environment involves setting out practical improvement projects and providing the resources to support learning as part of that.  In fact as shown below, best practice involves putting the improvement agenda at the heart of the learning process and vice versa.   

Getting the Basics Right

Only around 1% of organisations achieve lasting success on their journey from reactive management to proactive industry leading capabilities. Although it may seem counter intuitive, the main difference between the 1% and the rest is ....

Lean Maintenance: Moving Beyond Breakdowns

The Operations Director was concerned. The company was making great strides in improving productivity, quality and cost performance yet to the director’s eyes, the Lean revolution had bypassed the maintenance function.

The Director recognised that Maintenance Engineering is a core, added value process without which, the business couldn't give customers the value they expect.

In addition to that, the maintenance function has a significant impact on the root causes of the classic 7 lean wastes as set out in the table below.