Saturday, 21 July 2012

Pause

Drawing in the Customers and their investment needs, then Suppliers is like the first steps of a Sipoc Map. (Suppliers, Inputs, Processes, Outputs and Customers)

But now we pause to consider our purpose before we map.
Why purpose? Well without it we will collect lots of data and become swamped by it, sucked into the enticing comfort zone of data collection. Alternatively if we understand the process and meet the people that are involved then we can always go back if our purpose changes.

Remind ourselves which investment needs are the most important? Which are your competitors better than you at achieving? What will make your customers buy more at lower cost to you, more repeat business and tell their friends and colleagues to buy? Where can you gain a sustainable competitive advantage?

When you have that purpose, that lens through which to look, it's time to go and look at the processes. Go to where it happens: the coalface, the Gemba. Meet the people, understand what they do, what works well and what doesn't. Remember to look with your customers' investments, that lens as you see.

What would those customers think of this if they saw it?
What if a TV company came to visit, a regulator?

Above all understand it. Collect the data that is relevant , especially who is involved, as well as process times, cycle times, queuing times and whatever else seems relevant to your purpose. Capture it on paper because it is more flexible than a screen. Time to digitze it later if you want to do so.
Make sure if you are a member of a team that at least one of you knows the whole stream from supplier to key investment need. If you piecemeal it you'll miss something! Look and listen for those opportunities to improve.

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