Go To GEMBA! Those who do the job are the Experts!
Over the years, we've been fortunate enough to meet those focused on 'a change to organisational performance' across markets, sectors and continents, from Systems Thinking Experts (The Puritans and those who throw any number of tools under the ST banner) to Lean Experts and those who specialise on process or strategy.
The team met at SSD have a rich history in the Public sector. SSD have been exposed to many of the same principles and tools popular across markets over the last few decades. Often from within Local Authorities introducing private sector methods, they offer a different perspective from those with a background purely in manufacturing and / or banking & finance.
Having grown up 'On the shop-floor', we fundamentally believe that those who do the job are the experts, regardless of the organisational theme or sector. Unfortunately in today's fast-paced world, our greatest challenge is often to hear other voices than our own, especially any voice drowned out by the shouts of financial outcome requirements.
To that end and to add value for all, we at Duxinaroe are happy to share blog entries from others, who are the experts in what they do, because they are the ones doing it. This week, Dave Gaster from SSD offers us a few thoughts on listening to 'voices' ... including the voice of 'Assets' be they machinery & cap-ex equipment, or from his experience - Tarmac, and unfortunately of acute interest for those in the south of the UK in recent weeks, flood defences.
Over to Dave.
Purpose and learning points: Lean and Systems Thinking (L&ST) has focussed on the three voices of Customer, Process and People very effectively since identified by Brian Joiner. But experience shows that the management of massive assets needs to be able to listen to that voice as well. This is compounded by some of the wrongness from ‘modern management’ where the most senior leadership has no intuitive/technical knowledge of their span of control.
The fourth voice ‘The Voice of the Asset’ is derived from assembling great and meaningful information, integrating it in such a way as to be useful for every aspect to maintain and improve the asset, with a view to minimalising or avoiding catastrophic events, such as highways failures, flooding or oil platform explosions.
The voice of the Asset becomes increasingly obvious as the conflicts of maintaining aging, complex assets are investigated. For instance considering highways in the UK and much of the developed world, highways are built then modified over time. Many highways were built more than eighty years ago, when heavy lorries weighed five tons and traffic volumes were far less. Weights have increased to over 40 tonnes and volumes often greatly exceed capacity.
While the traffic demands are ever-increasing; the resources available are ever-decreasing, the results? A backlog of repairs worth £11B with customers in despair with new onslaughts due to global warming leading to: Hotter, Colder, Wetter and Windier conditions in the UK than designed for, all exacerbating assets that could literally totally fall apart.
The majority of highways are physically sound, although sometimes not looking very attractive, the distinction between not good looking and falling apart being something that most motorists and pedestrians cannot discern without some help. Less than 5% of these highways need a different form of management, so as to avoid rapid failure with catastrophic impacts to customers.
There is a tendency to treat pothole repairs in the same fashion, seeking only to fill the apparent problem, with hundreds of potential failure modes, why assume one fix fixes all? Engineers, Technicians and Inspectors need to be able to diagnose the causes to avoid repetitive repairs that fail to be effective. The voice of the highway is there to be heard, if only an enquiring mind is applied.
Lastly, if the root causes of potholes can be considered, then the ways that highways are: Designed, Constructed and Changed would be more appropriate and better managed.
NOTE Visualising Transformation (VT) is a way of working that maximises the information to all people within the system, so as to be useful for their purposes. Enabling people to see what is happening and have knowledge as to how to use that information is at the heart of Lean and Systems Thinking.
VT acknowledges that everything is connected, no one idea is unique or independent of others, this is one of many planned ‘blogs’ to be released over the next couple of years. We would love to hear your thoughts, or to deal with requests via firstname.lastname@example.org
I find that Dave provides us an interesting perspective. The capacity for the brain to deal with information, especially 2nd hand information, across shifts, in factories, in offices, across departments, each often promoting their own, yet conflicting KPI's, while full of dedicated people with their own view of what 'Good' looks like, requires a deeper understanding in Leaders about the capacity for people to communicate complex issues. This, in particular includes a deeper understanding of the benefits / application of visual management. Thanks Dave, we look forward to sharing your thoughts again in the future.
Please feel free to share any thoughts you have on this subject below.