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CI Dilemma: ‘Maintaining Excellence’

When a company with a global reputation for excellence begins to miss deliveries, blame quickly turns to a lack of investment in new equipment – but the real reason may be a question of process..?

This month, Ed Presley, Associate Director, offers up some sound advice on how to ‘Maintain Excellence’ in our regular feature in Manufacturing Management’s ‘CI Dilemma & Solution’.



In my experience, every operations manager the board has ever met will ask for investment in machinery at least once, and the stock response will be a firm ‘No’. This can be disheartening, but it doesn’t always mean that your case for investment is not valid.In today’s manufacturing environment, it is very rare for machines to simply fail. It is normally more to do with the way they are maintained and operated. To my mind, this problem is much more likely to be about a change in your practices that gradually over time have affected your overall performance.

Instead of focussing on the equipment, we would start by looking at the critical need for the investment; are you looking to gain a competitive advantage or simply get back to your original performance standard?  We would look at the historic results in quality and delivery; ideally as OEE and compare the trends over time.  If you can return to and exceed the results of the past, then you have a very convincing case for new machinery for the purpose of growth; not just to maintain the status-quo.  It may however prove that the board were right and there is no need for investment.

The greatest challenge is always to look at the bigger picture and to make the link between results and practices.  A solid investment in your people and their practices will more often than not achieve the desired outcomes.  You have stated the staff are highly skilled, engaged and willing to embrace change which is a superb starting point to change practices.  We believe that embedding exceptional practices, is more about changing an organisation’s mindset over their tools (80% behaviours: 20% tools). Self-discipline and ownership are key attributes for everyone to enable a sustainable process.

You can read Ed’s CI Solution in this month’s issue of the magazine on the link below:

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