Last week I visited Haldex Concentric in Birmingham who manufacture pumps for commercial vehicle engines. They are shortlisted for an award at the Midlands Excellence Awards, to be announced this week.

They have instigated a continuous improvement approach to improving their productivity using both Six Sigma and Lean approaches. This allows them to clearly demonstrate their improvement in productivity over time. Their approach to reporting business performance demonstrates both simplicity and effectiveness.What I found especially interesting was their approach to demonstrating these performance metrics to staff. Their factory is divided into a number of manufacturing cells, each of which has an identical “Visual Management” board alongside it. On the board printed graphs of the performance of the cell are displayed which are then updated on a weekly basis.

The simplicity and effectiveness of the approach is based on:

  • Each “Visual Management” board being identical
  • Each “Visual Management” board displays the same performance graphs/tables
  • These tables are all displayed in the same position on the board
  • The “Visual Management” board approach was developed by a team of direct and staff workers rather than management
  • The graphs represent a number of key measures which have remained consistent over time
  • The same targets are set across the factory
  • Staff are encouraged to record production figures on an hourly basis, but are not disciplined if they fail to do so
  • Comparative reporting is used to encourage members of a cell to identify and deliver performance improvements
  • Actions for cell members and colleagues are recorded and reviewed regularly to ensure continued improvement
  • Everything is paper based, which is well suited to the nature of the factory environment
  • This consistent approach allows any member of staff to quickly review the performance of their cell, or any other cell in the factory

An interesting observation I made was that the only notice board which had relatively little information on it was the Trade Union notice board. A testament to the management style within the organisation.

Key points that we can all consider from this:

  • Are your performance measures easily accessible to all staff?
  • Is the method of communication relevant to the environment that staff work in?
  • Do staff understand performance measures and how they can influence them?
  • Are performance targets relevant and achievable?
  • How easy is it for staff to compare the performance of different areas?
  • Are consistent measures used and retained in order to develop a long term trend of performance levels?
  • Are improvement actions visible to all and tracked in a non-confrontational way?
  • Do you keep ‘snapshots’ of performance and the process used over time to allow demonstration of the level and nature of change?
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One thought on “Making performance improvement real

  • 24th January 2010 at 09:30

    +++ STOP PRESS +++

    Haldex Concentric were winners of the Special Award for Lean Efficiency at the Midlands Excellence Awards 2010

    +++ STOP PRESS +++


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