Service Operation Improvement Case Studies

Save Waste (Time/Resource); Create Loyal Customers

Case Study 1 - End-to-End Process Documentation

Situation
My client, a premier metal processing plant, and preferred foundry for Mid-west America, operates just-in-time purchasing and production for its aluminum production business. The value of raw materials (scrap metal, aluminum) is very volatile, with market prices fluctuating hourly. My client recently implemented a management information system (MIS) to enable visibility of inventory to ensure all material can be accounted for at all times. I was engaged to document a technical operations manual for the system, however it became apparent during my initial client consultation that staff at all levels in the business lacked a common understanding of the system which impacted accurate financial tracking and accountability of inventory.

What was really needed was a picture of the system as it related to the business that all personnel could use – not only the operators who “pushed the buttons" but executive management of the parent company and all levels of personnel in between.

Solution
I created visual and text based documentation to aid company-wide understanding of the firm’s functional plant processes mapped to upstream and downstream information flows - from an operational and management perspective. Flow-charts, single-page overviews and detailed “how to use the system” instructions also provided learning material (training) for “hands on” operators.


Client Benefits:

  • Improved financial tracking and accountability of inventory - fewer data errors
  • Reduced waste (time, resource) / smoother operation - fewer missed steps
  • Improved operations – reminders for critical tasks / management alerts
  • Improved parent-subsidiary relations – visibility/understanding of key operations
  • Training manual to get new operators up to speed and cross train existing staff

In my usual style, I delivered a visually-rich innovative template for documenting 7 key processes and 20 procedures for three levels of understanding: Management, Supervisory, and Operator. The final deliverable included high-level management summary; process flow charts, key benefits and features to aid understanding; and a comprehensive level-3 operator user guide comprised of text, and screen shots, all supplemented with visual graphics to highlight key information points and areas for management control. The project was completed using observation of company processes, consultation with the sponsor and other members of staff, review and updating of existing documentation.

My client was so impressed, flow-charts were shared with group-executive management and the operation manual was being used for staff training even before final issue was released.

 

 

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Creative Ideas Marketing LLC, updated Nov 2016