Case: Digital Planning Board

The personal meeting with visual information is  unbeatable in establishing trust and mutual understanding of what is actually happening in a production flow. In this case SAM’s customer , a large distributor of equipment with billions of dollar turnover utilized a manual physical planning board to visualize customer orders for this particular reason. However, the staff utilizing were struggling . Sales staff and other functions did not have the possibility to attend all meetings, due to the nature of their work, leading to the meetings subsiding and the breakdown in communication between the organizational functions. It became more difficult to ensure the delivery of products to their customers, at the right quality and at the right time.

Methodology

In the meetings in front of the planning board the planners, the shop staff, inventory staff, sales support and sales staff gathered to establish a common view of the status. Issues and tasks were prioritized together and decisions were made based on customer needs and internal capacity. What orders had to be rushed? Had a customer change his/her mind? Was a part missing that was needed to complete the build?
However, some of the staff were often geographically dispersed and could not attend the meeting in person. Much time was spent on keeping the systems and boards updated. The question was raised how to simplify for all needed personnel to attend the planning meetings without losing the common view and the effect of visualization.
One idea that was brought forward was to digitalize the board to enable participation from somewhere else, but in such a way that the visualization methodology, but in such a way that the visualization methodology and the direct, tactile approach to moving orders and seeing changes in real time was not lost. .
SAM supported the team members to solve the problem by developing a digital version of the planning board, and supported the team utilizing the board by continuously developing and improving it on site. The tool that was created was based on well-known, established methods. Hence, it was embraced by all participants from the start.

 

Results

– A digital planning board:

  • based on existing processes and needs
  • allowing everyone, independent of geographical presence, to be involved
  • sustaining the direct, tactile planning approach
  • connected to the IT infrastructure to minimize administration

– Improved presence and involvement in the planning necessary for increased productivity with sustained precision and efficiency

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