Your Challenges
Failing to meet customer
requirements?
Prior to a project, organisational representatives meet potential customers and present their product and/or service offerings.

 

Through this process, customers who agree to buy the product/service have a perception of what capabilities they will receive and how they can benefit from them. However, as the project gets underway the selling organisation more often than not, runs into problems, and either they are unable to deliver on the initial promise or they have to make compromises in order to meet key project milestones and delivery dates. In any case, the result is a not-too-happy customer and some significant financial penalties.

 

Another key problem faced by many is not understanding what the customer wants in the first place. When people work in a particular field for a significant length of time, they tend to develop a good understanding of what the customer wants. Although this is true, the reality that is often forgotten is that the customer is always changing, whether that means different people being served, or the same customer having different desires. With an ever-changing world, and unstoppable stream of disruptive ideas and technologies, to stay on top of customer desires and priorities is an incredible task. Moreover, getting beyond their requirements/desires and offering them things that they themselves have not even thought about is even more challenging. But the organisations that manage to do so definitely reap the rewards.

Recommended Solution/s
  • Set-Based Design allows multiple options to be developed so that potential problems in a solution are identified early and problematic solutions can be ruled out
  • Better knowledge management empowers sales departments with a more graspable understanding of what can and cannot be done so that they can have richer discussions with customers and avoid over-promising
Your Challenges
Struggling with innovation?
New ideas, novel products, and more effective processes are all innovation.

 

When an organisation fails to embrace any or all of these it is heading for failure. The reason being, that someone else, some other group, or another organisation are going to realise and take advantage. With the risk-averse culture adopted by many organisations, it seldom makes sense to consider new unfamiliar ideas. Despite the realisation of the need to innovate, when the organisational structures and processes in place do not encourage innovation, it is very difficult to do so.

Recommended Solution/s
Establishing project control and managing risk whilst also supporting innovation is definitely possible. With the right guidance, processes can be developed to take care of each of these factors and can lead to incredible results. Set-based design is and outstanding strategies for improving innovation and ensuring innovative ideas are properly considered and managed to keep risk down.
Your Challenges
Suffering from late design
changes and rework?
When designing a product or service, ill-informed decisions can be costly.

 

In engineering design, two of the main causes for rework are starting to design a solutions without understanding customer desires and objectives and the opposite, defining a detailed specification too early. Each of these can lead to major project problems and result in late design changes, increased project costs, and the redundancy (scrapping) of much effort.

Recommended Solution/s
It is important to make decisions based on sound objective knowledge in order to prevent these problems. One way to do so is to define the knowledge required to support key decisions throughout a process. Simple visual knowledge representations can also be defined to support decisions. A structured approach can help to combine a wealth of data and information into easily understood knowledge representations. These knowledge representations can be used over and over again to support project decisions and also empower new team members.
Your Challenges
Poor profit margins?
The automotive industry is in constant awe of Toyota due to various reasons, including its sustained high profit levels.

 

Although, many critics put this down to the weak Yen, none argue against the fact that Toyota is a well-run, lean and efficient company that lives the Kaizen principle (continuous improvement). For a long while, Toyota’s success was associated with its super-efficient production methods and processes. This led many organisations to focus on lean and efficient manufacturing processes, but also masked their outstanding design and product development approach.

Recommended Solution/s
In order to yield high profit margins, an organisation must be lean and efficient through and through. That does not mean that staff should be fired, or funding should be squeezed, but rather the organisation must focus and keep re-focusing on value and perpetually strive to eliminate waste. Lean product development is a remarkable approach to achieving the right balance in engineering design.
Your Challenges
Processes aren’t fast enough?
Slow dysfunctional processes lead to discontent customers, an unhappy board of directors, stressed employees, duplicated work, bottlenecks, missed deadlines, poor productivity and increased costs.

 

One of the problems we often find is that many local processes are being operated by different groups within the same organisation. These processes can be unstructured, slow, expensive, and out-dated (not really fit for purpose!). Furthermore, when one group doesn’t understand the processes of another, it is difficult to work together. This tends to be one of the common causes for groups working in silos with a lack of trust between them. The lack of trust inhibits constructive open communication and various further problems ensue.

Another key issue that many organisations face is too much emphasis on productivity. Although process outputs are the things that customers pay for and company groups are measured on, the process itself is just as important, and we would say more! Many companies that we have worked with have pushed their processes to their limits. This leads to processes becoming very sensitive and can actually lead to ‘process burnout’. thought about is even more challenging. But the organisations that manage to do so definitely reap the rewards.

Recommended Solution/s
Forward thinking organisation leaders must focus on both efficiency and productivity to ensure their processes are really successful. Processes must be carefully architected with the support of experts who are well-aware of the essential principles upon which the processes should be based. Process architects who have worked in different sectors are well-aware that each sector or environmental context has its own principles which need to be considered as well as general process definition and improvement principles. Manufacturing, engineering design, healthcare, food and beverages, and finance all have their own principles, and even within the respective areas there are key differences.

 

Across any organisation standardised processes must be operated. Exceptional performance will be achieved by streamlining processes, improving connections between processes, and enhancing the trust and communication between different groups. Standardised are much easier to manage and measure. Better measurement of process efficiency and productivity will help to instil the Kaizen principle and transform processes into evolving organisms that keep learning and responding to change.

Your Challenges
Need senior management support

for change?

Intelligent concerned company employees/leaders know when there’s a major problem with the status quo.

 

Sometimes, there is no imminent danger, but due to their foresightedness they are able to see or sense it coming. Being aware that something bad is approaching is of little use unless you are willing to act. But why act when you have little hope that the seniors in your organisation are going to do anything about it?

The above scenario is all too common, and the results can be quite catastrophic. The good news is that there are ways to address these problems and gain management support for change. Some important points to consider are:

 

  1. Is there a strong enough reason for your organisation to change?
     
  2. Do you have sufficient evidence to support your organisation to consider change?
     
  3. Have you documented your view of the current situation and your proposed solutions in the best way?
     
  4. If someone else proposes your idea, will it be better received?

Recommended Solution/s
The key to healthy change management and gaining management support is understanding. Without listening to different stakeholders, including both middle and senior managers, you cannot gain a holistic understanding of the situation. It is important to differentiate your perceptions of what others think and feel from what they really do think and fell. A lot of the time it is vital to involve a consultant whose knowledge, experience and external point of view will help to guide the change. It is also important to understand a number of additional factors, including:

 

  1. Why don’t we have a change positive culture?
     
  2. Why did the current situation develop?
     
  3. Why have/haven’t previous change proposals been successful?
     
  4. Why have/haven’t previous change initiatives been successful?
     
  5. Why do I fear resistance and why would senior management resist change?
     
  6. Why would change proposals be accepted?