How do you create flow in business processes?
Unilever's new and integrated program for World Class Manufacturing
October 19, 2015: category WorldClass | Companies with a lot of experience with process improvement often say that they apply World Class Manufacturing (WCM). TPM, Lean and Six Sigma are then applied simultaneously, with one method as foundation. This add-on approach is however a bit unsatisfactory. It is like dealing with shortcomings in your 'house of improvement', by adding outbuildings! Unilever discovered a new WCM-program within Fiat, developed by professor emeritus Hajime Yamashima.
The self-steering and care-driven teams of Buurtzorg
May 06, 2015: category Lead & Change | The Dutch home care provider Buurtzorg has no managers. Small local teams decide what care matches best with the wishes of their customers. Their CEO, Jos de Blok, criticizes the bureaucratic control of the Dutch home care. It has the aim to serve nine 'standard products' as cheap as possible, but the result is overconsumption. Buurtzorg has a lot of Lean characteristics, but despite of that De Blok thinks that 'Lean is terrible'. How come?
Value Stream Mapping as breakthrough strategy
January 12, 2015: category Lean |For real breakthroughs with Lean manufacturing you need a strategic vision, to which the improvement work can be directed. To that end, you need to make a so-called future state value stream map (FSVSM), for each family of products or services that your company delivers. During a workshop, organized by the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, professor Dirk van Goubergen expounded his recipe to make a good FSVSM.
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!
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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.