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Displaying and Managing Delivery Performance Indicators in a Factory

    As explained in a previous article on Quality Performance Indicators, Chinese factories suffer from a severe lack of communication.

    Go in a workshop and ask a line leader when a given order is to be shipped, and he might need to go to the office to get that information. Very often, people prioritize orders without knowing the full implications of their decisions.

    How to ensure people know the timing targets and do their best to respect them? There are two steps.

    Displaying delivery performance indicators

    Obviously you need to adapt this to your particular manufacturing facility, but here are a few examples:

    • At the team level, they need to know their daily production. For example, the daily production target of a group of 3 injection molded presses could be 1,700 good pieces.
    • The production manager needs to follow up on the average turnaround time from order placement to shipment, for each product category.
    • The warehouse supervisor needs to stay on top of the average turnaround time from ‘production packed’ to ‘production shipped’, in order to notice any special trends and fight them.

    Once you know what numbers matter to different people in your organization, show it to them. Post them on the walls, or show them on TV monitors. But keep in mind, these numbers are for your people – not for visiting customers or quality auditors.

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    Managing delivery performance indicators

    There is a lot of talk about “visual management” in factories, but what they often mean is “visuals”. Yet the most important word is arguably “management”.

    What does it mean?

    As Mark Graban explains, there is “visual management” if these 3 conditions are met:

    1. Indicators are on display and can be read easily by all;
    2. Those indicators show immediately (or close to immediately) if the current condition is on target or not;
    3. Someone acts quickly in case the current condition is not on target.

    What do you see in the factories you visit? When you look at a process, can you have a sense of whether they are on target or running late? Why is preventing them from setting up such a system?

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