Starting individual continuous improvement groups does not necessarily lead to improvements for the customer or throughout the flow.
It can even take longer time to get the entire flow connected and synchronized in its enhancement efforts if there is only a small group of people involved first. To speed up the entire flow, especially in cases where the flow is of complex nature, SAM has developed the Customer Viewpoint Improvement Group (CVIG) concept. This concept takes one or more specific customers’ perspectives and traces them back into the flow to solve the underlying problems. Higher management then has the task of fitting together the efforts of the various improvement groups. The CVIG concept therefore focuses on:
- Securing the customer focus and flow perspective
- Reflecting and train principles
- Encouraging handling of deviations in daily work
- Supporting the local groups
- Encouraging spreading good examples through the flow
A workplace or so-called Practice Ground is chosen directly where problems arise and need to be solved. Real issues experienced by the current group affecting their work are the starting point for the improvement work. Affected employees participate and support functions are withdrawn when needed to solve problems. Furthermore, no predefined solution methods are used. The Practice Ground is an area for all involved functions to practice, learn and test new ways of working based on the Management-by-Means culture, or MBM.
People often have different views on what the reality is. Especially when roles in the Practice Ground group, the support functions and the leaders surrounding it, are far apart. The intention of the Practice Ground concept is to confront everyone with the way it really is. This is always done by taking the customer viewpoint and how the job is really performed as the starting point.
The Practice Ground is supported by first line managers which are focusing on training the principles together with SAM consultants. This means changing present behavior step by step and reflect on the present ‘production system’. SAM interacts directly with the Practice Ground group but also coaches the manager before and after meetings.
The focus for second line managers and higher up management is to train principles, provide encouragement and be prepared to respond and reflect on the needs coming from the Practice Ground. The CVIG is an addition to the vertical, parallel involvement of managers in the local line organization.
New relationships and habits for the various roles in the CVIG and its Practice Grounds are continuously tested and consolidated. This allows new production and business systems to emerge. Through continuous improvement, both the leaders’ behaviors and the established structure can develop to a higher level.
Only through the participation of leaders in all stages up to the top management can true real-time and cross-functional collaboration be created. Hereby SAM supports companies to build up an internal capability in the form of leaders and coaches who possess the ability to train employees and leaders in various areas, ranging from understanding principles through simulation games (Principlay), deviation management, visualization training and/or improvement session training (Simprovements).
Over the years, several methods and tools have been developed to help spread how improvement and deviation management works. Contact us if you want to learn more about them.