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:

 Solution Type  To deal with
 1. Raise Condition standards  Poor asset condition/fitness for purpose
 2.  Enhance Work routines  Gaps in best practice, knowledge or skill levels
 3. Improve Process control  Incomplete control of process precision
 4. Apply Low cost automation  The need for manual intervention
 5. Procure New Assets or Systems  Legacy assets, capacity constraints or advances in technology

To successfully implement any of the above solution types, an organisation needs to be adept at all three of the following:

A. Identify and target problems/opportunities
B. Understand cause and effect and introduce improvements
C. Implement improved approach and develop competencies to lock in the gains

Think of A to C as links in a process. Each impacts on the quality of results achieved from improvement of both day to day operation (solution types 1 to 3) or project delivery (solution types 4 to 5).

The weakest link across the A to C process constrains the other two resulting in inertia.
Even though academic texts most often focus on "B" with concepts such as Root Cause Analysis or solution design, this inertia is most commonly due to weaknesses in A and/or C.

In particular, if targets are not well defined as part of "A", insufficient attention is paid to refining improvement ideas through practical application which is part of C. That makes it difficult to achieve the desired outcome of a improved approach that is easy to do right, difficult to do wrong and simple to learn.

Read our second blogpost on this topic to find out more about how to overcome this inertia.

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