Reactive Improvement and Effective Daily Management

In December, Ross Kennedy published a book entitled Understanding, Measuring, and Improving Daily Management: How to Use Effective Daily Management to Drive Significant Process Improvement . This book explains the critical parts of a continuous improvement strategy to achieve operational excellence and where reactive improvement through effective daily management fits in.

During a recent conversation with Ross, I asked him: “What is reactive improvement and why aren’t more companies embracing it?” Here is his complete answer:

To achieve operational excellence, organizations need a continuous-improvement strategy that includes reactive improvement to ensure you have effective daily management, stable production, or work plan to minimize fire-fighting caused by unplanned changes and proactive Improvement to take you to your improvement vision of world-class performance. Unfortunately, many organizations get so focused on proactive improvement through capital projects or operational excellence initiatives such as Lean, Six Sigma, or Total Productive Maintenance (TPM), that they lose sight of the importance of reactive improvement and having a stable production or work plan.

Reactive improvement develops the capability and discipline within the organization to be able to rapidly recover from an event or incident that stops you from achieving your expected or target performance for the day, shift, or hour and most importantly, your ability to capture the learning and initiate corrective actions so that the event or incident will not re-occur anywhere across the organization.

As such, reactive improvement focuses on improving daily management through your daily review meetings, your information centers supporting the daily review meetings, and your problem-solving root cause analysis capability at all levels, especially at the frontline.There are seven key elements of reactive improvement that must work in concert for effective daily management: 

  1. A supportive organization structure to support development of your frontline people so they have ownership and accountability for the performance of their area of responsibility. 
  2. Effective frontline leaders to ensure everyone else in the leadership structure are not working down a level. 
  3. Appropriate measures with expected targets that are linked to the site’s key success factors for operations to ensure goal alignment and are relevant for the focused areas. 
  4. Structured daily review meetings to identify opportunities (problems/incidents) and monitor progress of their solution so they don’t happen again. 
  5. Visual information centers that visually display daily and trending performance along with monitoring of actions to address problems/issues raised.
  6. Frontline problem-solving root cause analysis capability across the site. 
  7. Rapid sharing of learning capability across shifts, departments and the organization. 
What do think of Ross's overview of reactive improvement? Do you practice this technique in your company?