Newsletter difficult to read? Click here for the on-line version, or copy the URL below in your browser:
www.business-improvement.eu/press/nov15.htm

Newsletter no.7
november 2015

One valuable mail, 1-2 times per year
Business-improvement.eu

Inspiring businesses with
in-depth real-life cases

A company as agile as a swarm of birds

Will giving a lot more freedom and responsibility to the employees lead to more enthusiasm, involvement and in the end more profit?

A small but steadily increasing number of companies say yes!

Some managers see organizations as machines, of which the cogs should turn as smoothly as possible. This picture isn’t entirely wrong, since many people like a feeling of flow. However, it can also lead to excesses such as time clocks, bureaucracy, and demotivated people that cannot do what they feel is good. Therefore it is a trend to give employees increasingly more responsibility. For example, in Lean, often only strategic targets are set.

When you continue on this course, you might raise the question: Do workers really need targets and bosses, or can they also manage themselves? Can a company be organized like a swarm of birds, that freely can move in any direction? Frederic Laloux thinks this is possible. In his book “Reinventing Organizations”, discussed in this newsletter, he studied 12 organizations that rely to a large extent on self-management. Top-down management, based on fear and control, was replaced by self-management based on trust and giving meaning. That way, employees can do what they feel is right for the society. According to Laloux this generates so much energy, that profit naturally follows.
'Democratic' organizations are however not chaotic. The self-managing teams are coached, and besides that the teams apply standard tools for, among others: (1) conflict resolution, (2) mediation, (3) giving feedback and (4) solution-driven meetings.

As an example of a company that is entirely based on the principle of self-organization, we discuss in this newsletter home care provider Buurtzorg (Dutch for home in the neighborhood).

Separate managers, intakers and planners, Buurtzorg doesn't need those anymore. Instead, small teams of nurses and other care takers, localized in the neighborhood of their customers, decide according to their own judgement what care matches best.
A lot of things that cause problems in traditional hierarchical organizations, seem to be solved effortless by those self-steering teams. However, this does not mean that there is no planning and management, these tasks are shifted to the teams.
To make the self-steering concept work, several tools to prevent chaos are put to their disposal. Every team is for example trained in conflict management, and meetings are done via solution driven interaction. And when a team has problems they can't solve themselves, they can call the help of a coach.

Besides the subject of self-organization, in this newsletter we discuss an entirely new approach to World Class Manufacturing (WCM) within multinational Unilever. This balanced program to apply Lean, TPM and Six Sigma simultaneously, was developed by professor emeritus Hajime Yamashima at Fiat.

Finally we present an article about the application of Quick Response Manufacturing, and an article about the use of value stream manufacturing, to find breakthrough opportunities..

Best regards, 
Dr Jaap van Ede, 
owner and editor-in-chief business-improvement.eu

Also via Twitter we can keep you informed about our newest articles and cases process improvement!

To view recenty published articles you might be asked to enter a username and password. If you don't have these, registrate for free. (no spam, unsubsription possible with one mouseclick) Did you forget your password? Read at the bottom of this newsletter what to do.
A1. New articles:   

1. Lead & Change: Unilever's new program for WCM
    Case: Unilever

2. Lead & Change: The self-steering teams of Buurtzorg
    Case: Buurtzorg (home care provider)

3. Lean: Value Stream Mapping as breakthrough strategy

4. QRM: Breaking the Response Time Spiral
    Case: Virupa (sign company)   Note: 2014 case study

5. Lead & Change: Free and agile like a soccer team
    Book: Reinventing Organizations

Summaries of these articles you will find below.
For more cases, see our case-menu.


A2. Summaries of these articles:

1. Lead & Change: Unilever's new program for WCM
    Case: Unilever

Prof. Hajime Yamashima visits Unilever
^ Prof. Hajime Yamashima visits Unilever

Companies with a lot of experience with process improvement often say that they apply World Class Manufacturing (WCM). TPM, Lean and Six Sigma are then applied simultaneously, with one method as foundation.

This add-on approach is however a bit unsatisfactory. It is like dealing with shortcomings in your 'house of improvement', by adding outbuildings! Unilever discovered a new WCM-program within Fiat, developed by professor emeritus Hajime Yamashima.

> more

2. Lead & Change: The self-steering teams of Buurtzorg
    Case: Buurtzorg (home care provider)

An enthousiastic self-steering team of Buurtzorg
^ An enthousiastic self-steering team

The Dutch home care provider Buurtzorg has no managers. Small local teams decide what care matches best with the wishes of their customers. Their CEO, Jos de Blok, criticizes the bureaucratic control of the Dutch home care. It aims to serve nine 'standard products' as cheap as possible, but the result is overconsumption.

Buurtzorg has a lot of Lean characteristics, but despite of that De Blok thinks that 'Lean is terrible'. How come?

> more
> Additions readers

3. Lean: Value Stream Mapping as breakthrough strategy

Truck assembly at Scania
^ Truck assembly at Scania

For real breakthroughs with Lean manufacturing you need a strategic vision, to which the improvement work can be directed. To that end, you need to make a so-called future state value stream map (FSVSM), for each family of products or services of your company.

During a workshop, organized by the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, professor Dirk van Goubergen expounded his recipe to make a good FSVSM.

> more

4. QRM: Breaking the Response Time Spiral
    Case: Virupa (sign company)   Note: 2014 case study

Visual Management in the QROC
^ Visual Management in the QROC

Virupa Visual Solutions experienced significant growth in the last twenty years. However, this was taking up increasingly more energy. The root cause were the business processes, which had become compartmentalized. This resulted in increasingly more work in progress, backlogs and rush orders to 'fight fires'. In QRM jargon this is called the Response Time Spiral.

To break it, Virupa disbanded their office departments and replaced them with Quick Response Office Cells or QROC's.

> more

5. Lead & Change: Free and agile like a soccer team
    Book: Reinventing Organizations

Frederic Laloux and his book Reinventing Organizations
^ Frederic Laloux and his book

Do workers need targets and bosses, or can they manage themselves? Can a company be organized like a swarm of birds, that freely can move in any direction?

Such an organization would behave like a soccer team. The players sense what is needed, and with their collective intelligence they steer the company in the right direction.

Frederic Laloux thinks this is possible. In his book Reinventing Organizations he studied 12 organizations that rely to a large extent on self-management!

> more
> Additions readers

B. Information registration & passwords
Did you forget your password and or username?

Use adjust registration data to have a new login combination sended to you by e-mail. More information on my business-improvement.eu.
Do you wish to stop receiving our newsletters?

This free newsletter is send to you 1 or 2 times each year, and we will completely respect your privacy. However, if you wish to cancel your subscription, click here

Did you receive this newsletter without being subscribed to it, or in multiple copies? If so, please notify us as soon as possible by e-mail
© Business-improvement,eu .2005-2015    [ home ]    [ Privacy & (Dis)claimer ]    [ E-mail ]