Silo Mentality Getting You Down? Then “The Awareness Method” May Be Just What You Need!

Diane Karch, Lean Consultant, Recaro Aircraft Seating, Fort Worth, TX, USA

Keywords: Awareness, Silos, Value Stream

Industry: All

Level: Intermediate

ABSTRACT

Does your organization suffer from siloism? Experiencing communication breakdowns across functional areas/departments? Have you noticed your value stream is lacking efficient flow? Maybe even unhelpful functional metrics and/or KPIs that don’t show the true big picture. Well, you’re not alone.

Focus on function vs process (or value stream) is pretty common in traditional business models. Often, when companies consider shifting to a Value Stream orientation it feels like a daunting task. Because of this, many choose the status quo or other less than optimal options. Fortunately, there is a way to turn that seemingly unobtainable goal into smaller, manageable and achievable steps. That is where The Awareness Method comes in. Coined by Diane, the Awareness Method takes an organization on the journey of value stream transformation self-discovery.

In this session you will learn the 6 steps of The Awareness Method and the importance of self-discovery of the internal supplier/customer relationship in the value stream.

A critical part of The Awareness Method is making every member of the organization aware of their part in the value stream. This means, ensure individuals know what a value stream is and what their specific value stream entails. They need to know whether they are a supplier or a customer within their value stream and the roles and responsibilities accordingly.

When the flow of an organization is less than smooth, it is easy for the internal supplier/customer relationship and deliverable to get cloudy. Even more so in the transactional world. It is important to step back, and really look at what a process needs for inputs. Remember the expression, garbage in, garbage out? This is 100% true here. If a process does not have what it needs, when it needs it, it tends to fail or extra efforts are required to be successful.

Another important part of The Awareness Method is data collection. This helps to take out the he said/she said drama, additionally will highlight misconceptions and perception issues. It is a good practice to have checks and balances within the data collection and reporting.

It is important to collect meaningful data not just any data. Differentiating process metrics versus functional or business metrics play an important part in the method. Understanding that business metrics are a resultant of a process, in essence an indicator of health or failing health of the enterprise. So if leadership wants improvement in the business metrics, the adjustment must happen at the process level. With that said, it is critical to have meaningful measures throughout the process steps of the value stream. Meaningful measures can be identified and developed when following the method.

The Awareness Method is intended for an organization that is early on in their Lean Six Sigma deployment journey as more mature organization may have already progressed past this stage of awareness. There is a chance that more mature organizations could still benefit from the exercise.

Some of the tools used within the method are, SIPOC, Voice of the Customer, Process Mapping, Visual Management. 

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