In my last blog, Targets, I covered the situation of hitting time targets in a services environment. I thought I was onto something but wasn’t sure just what……..
Just to recap, people are targeted on delivering work within a certain time frame e.g. reply to a customer letter within X number of days. There was an understanding that this “drives the wrong behaviours” but no clarity on what to do. Here is what I have come to.
What I did was look at the current measure andsplit time into value and non-value as shown.
Then I looked at the two time components and put together two principles:
1.The time an item is waiting in a queue should not be the handler’s problem; it’s a management problem. The idea of pushing people to “work harder” because of variation in demand doesn’t work and alternative solutions are required.
2.The time that a handler is working on an item should not be driven by a time target but should be against a quality target. We want our people to do a great job as quality drives down rework, defects and costs.
Now the tricky bit, how to translate these principles into actual measures. What I looked for were rules for defining the measures and came to these from Vanguard
The measure should help in understanding and improving performance – capability measures rather than targets
The measure must relate to purpose – measure what is important to the customer
The measure must be integrated with work – the measures must be in the hands of the people who do the work
Looking at these and my principles I came-up with two measures:
Lead Time – The time from receipt to when work starts. Leadership and not handlers own this. They are responsible for improving Lead Times by changing the system not “cracking the whip”
Right First Time – This is not a time measure but a quality measure. For each step in the process, the “Must-do” & “Optional” requirements are defined. These are the items that ensure the work is done correctly without defects being created. It is as simple as a check-list to ensure work is done as required.
The approachextends across the whole life-cycle.This splits the process into value and non-value adding steps. It focuses the right people on doing the right things – leadership to reduce Lead Time by reducing waste in the process – handlers to improve Quality by defining, doingand measuring what is required.
Sound good? I am already getting challenges and resistance. Would appreciate comment on the logic and how I could make the proposal even better…..