Kaizen is defined as the Japanese philosophy of continuous improvement. As a company Estes strives to follow the kaizen mindset instead of just working on “fixes.” Continuous improvement serves as one of the four pillars of our company philosophy, and Estes is constantly looking for ways to improve all facets of the business. To ensure this continuous improvement mindset goes beyond a philosophy statement, we have set up measurement standards in the form of daily layered accountability (DLA) to track progress and highlight areas of improvement. DLA is a systematic way of daily monitoring the status of departments or projects based on various metrics.
DLA Spelled Out
Daily – Review meetings are held every day, either at start of shift or end of shift. All employees are expected to attend and participate.
Layered – Each department DLA board is layered under another with departmental metrics supporting the overall business strategy of the company. Each set of metrics is rolled up to the next layer of business metrics.
Accountability – The public nature of these boards helps hold individual team members and company departments accountable to the rest of the company and to clients.
Fundamentally, DLA is about helping the company grow and improve, and every area of the company has measurable metrics to help achieve this. Metrics include –
- Generated leads for the sales department
- Turnaround time for the estimating department
- Design deadlines for the product development department
- On-time delivery for the scheduling department
- Efficiency for the operations management department
- Number of customer returns for the quality department
DLA must start from the top down. Executive metrics should be clearly defined and established as these metrics determine the metrics of the next layer down. Each layer of metrics should aim to support top-level metrics. The layered aspect of DLA also provides employees with resources to help resolve issues. Departmental problems can be posted on the next board up so management and responsible personnel can address problem areas and make quick corrections as needed.
DLA goes beyond just numbers and percentages. Every member of the team, from the company president to a machine operator, is involved in DLA meetings as each and every department member plays a role in successfully achieving DLA metric goals. DLA metric goals are defined and reviewed. If metrics are consistently met then no further action is required. However, metric misses prompt further review with individual corrective action items being assigned to department team members. These team members are then responsible for understanding and completing assigned action items. This accountability encourages initiative and thoroughness on the part of our team members. It also provides more visibility on problems with root cause analysis where all team members work towards developing and applying solutions.
When properly implemented, a DLA management strategy will profit the company and its customers. Some of the benefits include:
- Improved on-time delivery – When department schedules are being monitored on a daily basis, you have immediate and constant visibility of due dates and can respond proactively to issues that arise. This ensures customer’s due dates are met and helps the company save time while reducing the cost of expedite charges or late fees.
- Quality control – When quality metrics are monitored daily, the company can immediately identify issues and take corrective action measures. This ensures customers are receiving high-quality parts.
- Enhanced workplace culture – DLA has the ability to completely transform working culture providing opportunities to celebrate small wins. Regular meetings where all employees are present helps increase workplace communication, and team collaboration provides a sense of unity. In addition to this, employees have a sense of ownership and take pride in completing metric goals.
- Efficient production – Monitoring DLA metrics such as effective efficiency and overall equipment effectiveness can help cut down on waste in labor and materials.
Estes: a trusted supplier and partner that strives for continuous improvement
Our expert team is driven to remain at the forefront of fabrication technology, a mindset that leads us to challenge and expand upon existing techniques. Through our continuous improvement efforts, we are able to offer our customers shorter lead times and lower prices without compromising on quality. Contact us to see how Estes Design and Manufacturing can help put our innovation and technology to work for you.