8 Ways Manufacturing Resource Planning Software Can Aid Process Improvement

Posted in General, Operations Improvement on August 1, 2013

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When it comes to process improvement, are you a manufacturer that’s all talk or do you practice what you preach? Most process improvement conversations have a huge oversight as they neglect discussing how to actually change a process, according to a recent article on the IndustryWeek website.

As the world changes rapidly due to technological advances, it is necessary for every business to look at what it can be instead of living with current mediocrity. Strong leadership, strategic planning and operational improvements are all critical. Tools such as manufacturing resource planning software can affect and ease process change, but management and leadership at a business are also very important.

It is important to constantly look for ways to drive more value into your offering or improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the business. An outside source is often best suited to help implement a change management process in an organization. After all, you’ll need to get the business out of its comfort zone, and that’s best accomplished when those leading the effort are not tied on a daily basis to the processes being changed.

The article shares eight steps to properly change a process:

  1. Understand the current process: What caused the process to become this way? It could be lazy analytics or poor process design. Changes could even be desired because of new technology or a new supplier.
  2. Know why you want to change: Usually, manufacturers want to change because of cost reduction or variable reduction. This may take cost deployment or a change agent.
  3. Articulate the change: Ensure clarity of the problem and the new process through documentation and sample testing.
  4. Get feedback: Your stakeholders need to provide input to the process and (hopefully) offer their support and buy-in.
  5. Double-check your measuring systems: Measure your process through manufacturing resource planning software to ensure you are obtaining reliable data.
  6. Train for change: Once a method of measurement is settled, well-documented and reviewed training should be completed for responsible operators.
  7. Categorize the before and after: Use manufacturing resource planning software to identify what the article calls a “clean line,” the point in time to categorize before the change and after the change. This is crucial to measuring the effectiveness of your changes.
  8. Measure, analyze, improve and control: Once implemented, measure your new process and analyze the results to determine if change was effective. Changes need to be maintained, improved and controlled.

Undertaking that proper change management to alter your flawed process takes technology tools, but good leadership is needed first.

Source: IndustryWeek, July 2013

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