If you’ve been doing business with Wiley Metal for any period of time, we hope you know that we are always looking at ways in which we can serve you better, help your business grow and add value. If you haven’t experienced this, call us out on it. We are in a constant search of improving the way we conduct business.
In our continuing efforts to serve our partner clients, we have recently hired a Continuous Improvement Manager, Scott Meyer. Among other responsibilities, Scott is being charged with keeping us on the path to continuous improvement using the 3 E’s of efficiency, effectiveness and execution.
Efficiency is more of a process than a goal. It is a moving target that changes with technology, each new client and to some degree, with every new employee. Rather than asking “Are we being as efficient as possible?” perhaps we should be asking “What are three ways we could be more efficient?” Some equate speed to efficiency but that’s not necessarily the case. It’s not a matter of getting from A-Z quickly, its a matter of the best way to get from A to B, then B to C and so on, without waste. If you can avoid wasting time, money and other resources while accomplishing a task, you are on track. Of course, it should go without saying that efficiency without quality is not efficient at all.
Effectiveness is how well a project was completed. In other words, was it successful? The difference between efficiency and effectiveness is that efficiency is more resource-based. Effectiveness is more results based.
Execution is the carrying out of a plan. It is one thing to create a plan and the steps it takes to reach a goal but if the plan is not executed properly, it will not succeed. Execution, in other words, is not the plan, it is the implementation of a plan.
The Challenges of Continuous Improvement
The challenges of continuous improvement are not unlike those of other business practices. They are often just words and not a philosophy. Efforts can backslide if they aren’t proactively pushed forward. One concrete way companies can help establish continuous improvement is through 5s.
With 5s, companies create a visual system designed to increase productivity, enhance safety and improve quality. Aspects of the 5s system include:
- Sorting – This involves making sure unnecessary tools are removed.
- Simplifying – Make sure everything has its place.
- Systematic Cleaning – Work areas are inspected and cleaned to determine if corrective actions need to be taken.
- Standardizing – This ensures the 5s system is maintained consistently throughout the shop floor.
- Sustaining – Sustaining is a backstop to reverting to old practices. It maintains gains and moves forward from there.
We started 2018 with an article about continuous improvement and how it can not only be brought to the metal fabrication industry but to just about any shop floor. It discussed the benefits of being proactive vs reactive when implementing strategies. As the year continues, we would expect this to be a recurring theme.
We welcome Scott Meyer and look forward to his impact as Continuous Improvement Manager at Wiley Metal Fabrication.