For this assignment, you will choose a company with which you are familiar. You are encouraged to choose a company for which you currently work or have worked, but you may choose some other firm if you believe it will be a compelling analysis. You may choose one area of the company, such as a manufacturing plant or product design, to focus on if you can make a strong case. Your recommendations should have the following features.
Assume that you have recently been hired as the director of continuous improvement of a company. You are an outside hire with limited history of the firm and personal capital at the firm, and you are responsible for lean production, total quality management (TQM), six sigma, and best practice implementation. Lean production means doing more with less, such as less inventory, fewer workers, or less space. A recent trade in quality management is lean six sigma (also known as lean sigma) that integrates six sigma and lean production. The capacity for which you were hired has existed for three years with a direct line of report to the vice-president of operations and dotted line of report to the head of information technology (IT), the chief information officer (CIO), and the director of internal controls and audit. You are the second person to fill in this position. You have a team of internal consultants; half of your team has six sigma black belt or equivalent capabilities with the remainder having a solid understanding of operations and IT. You also have a budget for two external vendor resources. You have taken six months to familiarize yourself with the organization and its people, mission, goals, strategy, and structure. In this time, you have also evaluated current operations. At the end of this period, you are assigned to deliver a report identifying the three most promising avenues for achieving best practices within the company. You have already been told that the company suffers from both aging and complex information systems and that your recommendation must include a major upgrade of those systems. The executive officers anticipate major investments in IT over the next several years. Your best practice implementations, coupled with new technology, must be measurable in terms of speed, quality, productivity, and efficiency or other key performance indicators that you identify in your report.
- Repeatable: If you “fix” three things in a manufacturing plant, you should be able to tackle the “next” three in iteration.
- Scalable: If they work in one plant, they should work in all of them.
- Replicable: Your process for improvement should be repeatable in different, disparate parts of the organization.
- Strategic Overview: (1 page)
Provide a brief description of the following elements:
- The company, including its products or services
- Marketing strategy: target market segments, value proposition, market position, and source of competitive differentiation
- Organizational structure
- Any other relevant facts
- Analysis of the Supply Chain: (4 pages)
Analyze the supply chain for your identified company by explaining the following key elements of the supply chain:
- Identify key inputs, including less tangible assets, such as human resources and information. How are these key inputs sourced, reconfigured into a product or service, and delivered to your customers?
- Identify the key processes that add value, and evaluate the supply chain performance relative to the competition. What are the key inputs for each process? How are these inputs processed or configured into the final offering for your customers?
- What is the value added at each step?
- What is the role of information technology and e-commerce in serving your customers?
- What are the key performance measures for evaluating your supply chain?
- Research online sources to explain how the performance on these measures compares to that of your competitors?
- Plan to Improve Operating Processes: (3 pages)
Create a plan for improving the performance of three specific operating processes in your company. Your plan should address the following:
- Identify three elements of the supply chain that you recommend as targets for improvement.
- State the performance improvement opportunity for each element, and indicate how it will improve process speed, quality, efficiency, and productivity.
- Explain what specific action or change you recommend for each supply chain element selected.
- Explanation of the Results of Performance Improvements Regarding Product or Service: (2 pages)
Explain the following:
- How will your product or service be improved as a result of these changes to the supply chain activities?
- How are you altering the specific features or attributes of your product or service?
- Why are these specific changes important to your customers?
- How do these changes enhance the value proposition and competitive position of your company?
- What lasting capabilities and improvement are you introducing into your company through these changes?
- How will you measure the scope and impact of your improvements? What are your key performance indicators?
- Assessment of the Impact on Human Resources: (1–2 pages)
Detail how your plan impacts your company’s HR and human capital strategy by explaining how the organization’s structure supports the new process configuration you are recommending. Your response should address the following questions:
- Are the roles and responsibilities in your organization properly defined and aligned to enable these changes? Who will perform these new/modified process activities, and what changes to their jobs do you anticipate?
- Is decision-making authority assigned so that the process changes you propose can be implemented and properly managed under the current structure? Who will own the process and the results? Based on the current structure, will they have the authority to make changes as necessary?
- Are the individuals with the right skills in place to implement these changes? If not, how will you attract the talent necessary to implement your changes? How will you retrain the existing employee base? How will you handle attrition? How will you reduce the risk of impacted protected classes?
- Changes: Explain changes to the compensation and incentives at your company that are necessary to reinforce your recommendations and increase efforts for continuous improvement throughout the organization. Explain how your plan motivates employees, customers, and suppliers better.