If your business encounters same issues again and again then it is waste of time, resources and causes a lot of frustration. Business operational problems arise at worst times, so need instant resolution. Decreased profit, noncompliance problems, employee morale issues, etc. are some concerns that need on-time action to secure the long-term future of your company.
Trying to resolve operational issue on your own prior seeking professional help needs you to follow the given steps.
Detect the issue
Issues can arise as temporary holdups, fruitless efforts, and disruption in the production line. Your first step is to get aware about the existence of an issue and consider it to be an opportunity to enhance.
Define existing situation?
To understand the issue, it is crucial to find the source and contributing factors. Answer the following questions –
- Who must be informed?
- What are the parts, products, or processes involved?
- When did the issue occur?
- Where did the hitch occur?
- Why did it happen, were there any changes made recently?
- How occasionally does this issue happen?
Take temporary measures on spot?
At the outset of operational problem never look for ideal solution but first extinguish the fire. For example, if you find that resources are missing to complete an order then to countermeasure borrow materials from other team or transfer worker to another order.
Search for the main cause
It is necessary to pull the weeds from the roots or they will grow back. Similarly, analyze the fundamental causes of the problems. Issues can be categorized into –
Simple to normal issues
These can be repaired using ‘Five Whys’ approach. Ask ‘Why’ five times to pursue the issue to its main source.
Issue – Customers are unsatisfied because products shipped don’t meet specifications.
- Why are bad products shipped?
-Because manufacturing department created products to specifications different from what sales person and customer agreed on.
- Why did manufacturing build products with different specifications than sales?
-Because sales person expedite work by calling manufacturing head directly from shop floor. An error occurred in communication and writing of specifications.
- Why does sales rep call manufacturing head directly rather than following established procedures?
-Because ‘start work’ needs approval from the sales director and that delays the manufacturing process.
- Why does form include sales director approval?
-Because sales director has to constantly give sales updates to the CEO.
In just four ‘Whys’ the non-essential signature authority was identified to be the main cause of process breakdown.
Systematic analysis of complex issues is conducted with an Ishikawa diagram. It helps to thoroughly evaluate a production process including labor, machine, methods, materials, and physical environment.
After identifying root cause locate the best solution. Have a backup plan if first solution does not work.