How do you create flow in business processes?
Virupa breaks the Response Time Spiral
September 02, 2014: category QRM | Virupa Visual Solutions experienced significant growth in the last twenty years. However, this was taking up increasingly more energy. The root cause were the business processes, which had been compartmentalized. This resulted in increasingly more work in progress, backlogs and rush orders to 'fight fires'. In QRM jargon this is called the Response Time Spiral. To break this, Virupa disbanded the office departments and replaced them with Quick Response Office Cells or QROC's.
Reinventing Organizations: free and agile like a soccer team
June 23, 2014: category Lead & Change |Do workers need targets and bosses, or can they manage themselves? Can a company be organized like a swarm of birds, that freely can move in any direction? Such an organization would behave like a soccer team. The players sense what is needed, and with their collective intelligence they steer the company in the right direction. Frederic Laloux thinks this is possible. In his book Reinventing Organizations he studied 12 organizations that rely to a large extent on self-management!
Operator in the role of Sherlock Holmes at Danone
April 22, 2014: category TPM |By monitoring the Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) during each production shift, it is precisely known when problems occurred. Yet, as Nutricia (Danone) in the Netherlands discovered, the current reporting methods are not adequate enough to determine the root cause of all problems. Therefore, the operators were recently trained to capture as much information as possible in the case of any significant disturbance. They even secure evidence as if they were detectives!
The durable Lean transformation of Océ
Januari 8, 2014: category Lean |Lean can be implemented in a technical way. Guus Cox, operations manager at Océ, compares this with using a bulldozer to push the waste out of the factory. This gives fast but temporary results, because the behavior of the people did not change. It is far better to encourage the employees, to remove the waste bit by bit themselves. This requires a lot of management attention, but the end result is much better: a real Lean transformation, in which all people jointly solve problems every day.
Scania's organizational structure for continuous improvement
May 29, 2013: category Lean | To stay ahead of the competition, Scania Zwolle Production raised its productivity with about 6% every year in the past period. Scania achieved this by constantly striving for the ideal process, in which all components flow seamlessly together to form complete trucks. The epitome of lean manufacturing! To that end, having self-managed teams turned out to be not enough. The workforce also needs resources and structure. Therefore Scania carried through two organizational changes.
Fast and cost-efficient customer-specific production with QRM
March 01, 2013: category QRM | Quick Response Manufacturing (QRM): The faster your production chain, the better! To that end, you should transform your entire supply chain, by creating loosely connected Quick Response Cells, each handling groups of similar tasks. This will make it much easier to produce-to-order, with short delivery times. It will also save you money because of a reduced overhead in the form of unnecessary handling and stock keeping. Which companies are successfull with QRM?
Adding maximum value during product development, with rapid cycles of launch and see
January 7, 2013: categorie Lean | Lean companies improve themselves by successive logistic experiments. Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup, states that startup companies should apply a similar approach. They should continuously improve their business plan by repeatedly releasing minimal viable products. What is called go and see in lean – always visit the place where the real work is done – is replaced by launch and see: Try to determine as fast as possible which product features your customers like.
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On this page, summaries are shown of the articles that were published during the last months. Earlier publications can be found in our news archive. On this website you will find dozens of business cases, articles, and book reviews. These can also be unlocked by using this search tool.
Overview main site sections
On this site you will find information about the possibilities and limitations of the most important process management methods, see our mission. All continuous improvement approaches described here were originally developed in the US or in Japan, be it from different perspectives. Namely logistics for Lean, TOC and QRM, quality for Six Sigma and productivity for TPM. On this site each approach is characterized by one phrase, like 'the value adding organization' for Lean, and 'the perfect organization' for Six Sigma, see the overview below. After entering one of these site-sections, articles in the same section can be found using a yellow sub-menu on the upper-left of each page.
Our mission: Inspiring businesses with in-depth real-life cases
1. Providing information about business improvement, to stimulate knowledge transfer.
Business-improvement.eu and its Dutch sister website procesverbeteren.nl both provide completely independent1 and unbiased information about áll methods to improve the efficiency, quality and flexibility of production and business processes. Focus is on business-cases, of which most were also published in specialist journals about logistics, quality and maintenance. The idea is to transfer knowledge about best practises from one company to another, and also to transfer knowledge between different industry sectors, e.g. from manufacturing to hospitals.
Each company struggles with the same question: How can I provide – at lowest possible costs and with an acceptable delivery time – products or services that add maximum value for my customers? All methods on this site, Lean, Six Sigma, TPM etc, address this problem. Although it is often thought that implementations of these methods can be copied form one company to another (like a template), this is definitely not a good idea. The reason for this: Take for example the application of TPM within Unilever. Their approach evolved during the years to a company-specific improvement method, tailored to their specific needs, also including aspects of other methods like Lean and Six Sigma. Therefore the idea is not to copy approaches on this site, but to see these as suggestions, which might work in your own organization.
In conclusion: this site helps to generate ideas, e.g. about which method to start with when you are new to continuous improvement. Companies further on their way are served with suggestions about how to mix different methods, to compose an organization improvement system tailored best to their needs.
2. Acting as an intermediary
When an organization needs help to implement a certain improvement approach, they might contact one of the consultancy firms listed with their banners in the margin of each article. (a list of these sponsors with some background information provided by them can also be found via the sub-menu of each site section)
Since these consultancy firms sponsor one or more site-sections chosen by themselves, a fit between the approach described in an article and the knowledge of the consultancy firms listed in the margin of that article is likely. However, as said before, this is a completely independent1 site. So, we cannot garantuee in any way the quality of the services provided by the listed consultancies, nor do we make any judgement about which firm would suit your company best. In time, more interactive functionalionality and many more case descriptions will be added to this site, as was done earlier on the Dutch sister site procesverbeteren.nl.