Sometimes to go forward you need to go backwards. I was reminded of this this week.
A company I am working with have been working hard to improve a process that essentially involves 2 people doing non value added work. The immediate aim being to free one of the people so they can help elsewhere in the plant.
After several months of trying to get a new piece of equipment to run as they needed the project leader candidly admitted that things were worse than before. There had been no reduction in labor needed, in fact there had also been a increase in rejects. We had introduced more waste into the system.
Why is this worth blogging about; because to admit fault takes bravery and also admitting fault is not something that is traditionally respected in the workplace. This company is starting to change. Some of its older more traditional behaviors are being lost as more constructive ones take their place.
Previously the new machine would have been accepted as the way forward, now that is not a realistic option. So to move forward some steps back are being taken. The process is being bench marked using the original machine. Next the new machine will be bench marked and the differences identified. Then we will go to the gemba, watch the process and think about the options.
The lesson to me here is sometimes it is not best to launch straight into activity as attractive as it may appear but to plan first. A3 problem solving sheets and methodology are there for a reason, sometimes we need a reminder.