Governments globally have eased or planned on easing the restrictions of the COVID -19 lockdown. It is expected that in the coming months people will limp back towards some kind of normalcy and probably get used to the new normal. We are not sure when the situation will turn around; however, its impact on humanity will last for decades to come.
At this critical juncture where organizations are trying to reduce losses and come out stronger, in this past week the Kaizen Institute reached out and conducted surveys, analyzed the data and developed a set of recommendations or improvement strategies, which are clubbed under three pillars:
1. KAIZEN™ in Crisis Management
2. KAIZEN™ in Organization Strategy
3. KAIZEN™ in Operations
In the previous blogs published in May, 2020, we elaborated on the first pillar i.e. KAIZEN™ in Crisis Management.
In this episode, we will focus more on the second pillar i.e. KAIZEN™ in Organization Strategy. As now we are preparing for new normal, it is the best time to frame new strategies, which takes into cognizance the new realities. This period offers an opportunity to scan the environment and change ones paradigms to deal and probably even emerge stronger post-crisis..
The crisis poses different sets of challenges but also provides the opportunity to implement new KAIZEN™ Initiatives to tackle the challenges.
The pillar KAIZEN™ that focuses on Organization Strategy is comprised of five Important initiatives which are as follows;
1. Develop digital dashboards for remote working
2. Improve Project Management in working from home
3. Improve Daily KAIZEN™ in working from home
4. Increase employees’ skills/ competency
5. Review Business Strategy to respond to the changes in the environment
Develop digital dashboards for remote working
We cannot drive a car by looking in the rear-view mirror, so is the case in business. One has to look forward and use the dashboard that offers real-time data to steer and navigate. Talking of dashboard and measurement, selection of key metrics to monitor is very important and it will obviously vary for a different organization and process.
Metrics help us ask the "right questions", but what is the right question?? It is about identifying the changes that we need to make in our business processes "right now"; to increase revenues, maximize profitability or reduce risk. In this COVID environment; cash flow related metrics are more important than the conventional metrics of profitability.
As per the fundamental principle of KAIZEN™, dashboards enhance transparency & communication and help in answering all the questions quickly to ensure collaboration among teams and timely decisions making. Digital dashboard with good data visualizations servers this purpose very well.
Improve Project Management in working from home
The Law of project management says “A project is behind schedule and over its budget the day it is started”. In the post CoVID environment when one starts adopting remote working and if projects are not managed well in a remote setting, the manifestation of the above-stated law will surely get magnified. So what does one do? We need to improve project management while working for home/ remote. This can be done by setting the required project team structures, KPI’s and processes in advance, investing in the right digital technologies which promote collaboration and digital management of work. Last but not the least, we have to stimulate and strengthen the work culture even more harder, while working remotely. In a remote working environment, passive team members are blockage and thus one has to be innovative when it comes to collaboration, communication, and engagement.
Improve Daily KAIZEN™ in working from home
Doctors and health officials are advising for improving our immune system. If our immunity is good, we can fight even if we get infected. The same is true for organizations. Organizations can develop immunity by engaging in standard work and daily kaizen, which is one of the four pillars of KAIZEN™ Change Model. In remote working, daily KAIZEN™ becomes even more important. See-Solve-Sustain-Improve model of daily KAIZEN™ needs to be revitalized with the digital dashboard (to improve see), to set the processes for communication and decision-making authority; both within teams and between teams (to remain focussed on the solution), making visual/ digital standards (for sustaining) and being proactive for driving improvements.
Increase employees’ skills/ competency
Even before COVID-19 hit, many companies were exploring digital technologies. With processes being highly people dependent the need was evident. However, often costs and resistance to digital adoption were the dead weights. The major reason for resistance from employees to new digital solutions is largely due to a lack of competence. COVID has given these organizations an opportunity to go for digitalization and build competency in the employees rapidly. The best example is the state-owned educational institutes, where most of the faculty members were not competent to run on-line classes. However, due to this CoVID situation, faculty have been pushed to conduct online sessions for students. They have learned on the go and under crisis. However to help improve preparedness, organizations and all types of institutes may adopt three-prong strategies; (1) Rapid skill development program for existing faculty, (2) Assessing their competency on regular basis as a part of performance evaluation and (3) Making on-line teaching skills part of selection criteria of fresh faculty.
Similarly, there is a lot of labor displacement in in many organizations and TWI (Training Within Industry), a powerful module within the KAIZEN™ Model, can be of great help to develop new skills rapidly. It will be a continuation of the rapid skill development initiative under KAIZEN™ in Crisis Management
Review Business Strategy to respond to the changes in the environment
Last but not the least, the most important question post lockdown is “are our existing business strategy is still valid?”
Do we have orders/ requirement for existing products/services?
For example, fine dining or even sit-down restaurant has to now focus on takeaway options and new packaging and logistics for home delivery will drive significant changes in the fine dine segment. The concept of the virtual party is already emerging!
We have ordered, but do we have the raw material
For many organizations either material is stuck at the port or some other supply chain partner is unable to supply. This may be a temporary phenomenon however, it may have a lasting impact which will force organizations to rethink its supply chain strategies including sourcing, warehousing and logistics.
We have ordered, we have raw material but we don’t have trained manpower
We will be requiring manpower to run the operations/ plant as well as to maintain the plant. Defects in products, rejections, and machine breakdowns are likely to increase under this scenario, as old hands may be missing and new hands are not skilled enough. Kaizen Institute can help organizations in both these aspects. We have time tested modules to address these issues of rapid skill assessment and development.
In nutshell, CoVID is offering all of us an opportunity to challenge our paradigm and our traditional strategies. It is time to rethink and redesign our future
About Kaizen Institute
Kaizen Institute is the original and premier provider of KAIZEN™ services of Change Management, Business Excellence, Operational Excellence, and Lean.
We support companies of all sizes in all market segments, providing them with a sustainable, competitive advantage. Our Vision is Improving the world with Everyone, Everywhere, Every Day – The KAIZEN™ Way. “KAIZEN™ means Change for the better.”
Kaizen Institute is a global organization that provides consulting and training services to companies represented in Europe, the Americas, Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, and Africa. We are currently operating in 60+ Countries for 35 years.
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