Lean & Operational Excellence

Daily Management

Sadly, many organizations think that by setting annual goals (i.e. increase sales by 35%), the folks on the front lines of an organization will magically just know how their roles support those goals, and what actions they should be taking every day. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Enter Daily Management. Daily management is a continuous improvement process that ensures that work is done right, at the right time, in order to support business success according to the company’s strategic objectives (KPI’s (make this a link to KPI page)).

Daily management allows people at all levels of the organization to clearly see whether the performance is good or bad at any given time (hourly, daily, etc.). Any deviations from the target condition are readily apparent, which allows everyone involved in the process equally responsible for taking the necessary actions to quickly correct the problem and restore the expected level of performance. Think of it like the dashboard in your car – it provides constant monitoring of the operation of the vehicle, and instant notification if anything goes awry (low fuel light, for instance).

Here at New England Lean, we’re fans of the Daily Huddle. For each area, a team should meet at the same time every day, while standing, for no more than 10-15 minutes to discuss:

  • Achieved output
  • % to the goal
  • Any issues that prevented reaching the goal
  • Resource plans
  • Any upcoming abnormalities (a customer visit, a raw material shortage, etc.) that need to be planned for

During the meetings it is important for the leader to ask the right questions, such as:

  • “Did we do the right thing, in the right quantity and at the right time?”
  • “Did our results meet the expected ones?”
  • “Did we deviate from the plan? If so, why?”
  • “What kind of help will you need in order to meet our goals?”

What gets put on Daily Huddle Boards is entirely up to the area/organization, as different companies and different industries value different things. However, a good starting point would include:

  • Area KPI’s (Cost, Quality, Delivery, for example)
  • Staffing level
  • Skills matrix (i.e. cross-training)
  • Safety Cross
  • Continuous Improvement/Kaizen items

Although it may seem counter-intuitive, when setting up a Daily Huddle Board, it isn’t necessary to Standardize across the entire organization. While the framework and intent should be the same, it’s important to allow each area/team the freedom to develop what works best for them, as this will help to drive ownership. Again, the idea is to empower the employees – not drive a standard solution down their throats.