Time for a Change (Point) - Simple Team Leader Skills Part 1 (#10)
In my last blog "Neighbours, N.I.T.S and Team Leaders" I ended with the following statement:
"A final word on Change Points. In my opinion we can quickly give a Team Leader 3 simple skills, Change Point management being one of them. More on this next time."
Over the years I've spent a lot of time with Team Leaders, Group Leaders, Managers and Directors but I worry most for Team Leaders. The front line daily battle for flow is waged relentlessly by these hardy souls who occupy a lonely place in the organisation. "Them and Us" thinking is bad enough but Team Leaders belong to neither "Them or Us", making them orphans in a broken model.
I've also had my fair share of, ahem, lively discussions with Team Leaders but the following I know to be true from experience; showing your TLs how to do the 3 things below will yield immediate benefits without needing to resort to books or consultants.
(1) Understand what Change Points are and why they matter
(2) Understand and use the Pareto Principle
(3) Realise that you don't planto do Kaizen, you just do it
Of course, 3 things can't cover everything to do with People, Product and Process or engaging a team in Kaizen, but it's a start. Over the next 3 weeks I'll cover each of these in turn.
But first, an assumption - your TL wants to be here and wants to make things a little better. I'm also assuming that your TL role is, in a nutshell, to "Identify and deal with abnormalities and develop their team members". So, onto Change Points:
Change points were a Eureka moment for me. Think about this statement:
Most defects and accidents happen after something has changed
Let me elaborate, If you had the same trained people (Man/Woman) turning up every day, with good quality parts (Material) that arrived on time, manufacturing with the right machines/tools that didn't break (Machine) following strong Standardised Work (Method) with the right lighting and temperature (Environment)...you'd have less problems that you do currently, right?
So changes in the 4M1E above cause problems. The picture below shows the most common manufacturing change points
The trick is in showing Team Leaders how to (1) anticipate these (2) get support functions talking to them (3) use the 5 minute Team Brief/ Huddle to communicate change points (4) manage them simply (5) confirm that they're being controlled by walking the patch during the shift. I've done this many times with TLs, you can too.
The best way to deal with an accident or defect is to prevent it occurring; the fundamental difference between an "abnormality" and a "problem"
Happy New Year by the way, dead Italian economists next time...