I toured a client’s manufacturing facility last week. I had not seen it since about six months ago. Part of the facility looked neat, organized and seemed to have very good flow. There was a bit more inventory around than in the past, but not enough to worry about, I thought.
Then we moved into the other part of their operation. It was messy, dirty, and inventory was piled wherever there was space. The total output was about the same as six months ago, yet overtime had become excessive and on-time shipments had decreased.
Six months before, this area had been neat, clean, efficient and effective. Now it was a mess. What happened? Could it be that they got comfortable and took their eye off the ball? I’ll find out, as they’ve retained me to discover what went wrong.
The second law of thermodynamics says that if systems aren’t improving, they will decline toward chaos. One of the clear requirements of any process improvement program is continuation. It is called continuous improvement for a reason. If you take your eye off the ball, conditions will deteriorate. It’s a basic law of nature.
© 2011 – Rick Pay – All Rights Reserved