Daily Improvements Explained!

Daily Improvements Explained!

Okay folks, today just really want to dig into Improvements. As we’re sharing more of this stuff in our Improvements Playlist I’m getting some questions, some concerns, some doubts so I want to cover all that in this short explanation of how we can have a team of several people, all free to fix what bugs them and make changes in the shop on-the-spot, and how we make those changes stick.

The main idea at Floodway here is Quality. Some businesses might have different values and different priorities but here it’s all about the best quality for our clients. And the way we can provide that at a lower cost is by continuously working to improve the process. So not just the quality of the print, but our clients value a well-crafted email that answers all their questions and they received the reply quickly. Standards and perfection can be built into every process and when we do that the quality goes up, the cost of defects and rework go down, people are happier at their jobs, and customers are stoked.

But… “What if I have a team of 20 people? How do I get them to agree? This seems great in theory but not in practice.”

The answer is simple. If you have values and principles as a company, you can use them to build a framework for ideas. Now I love to say that every great idea started with only a good idea, but there are so many bad ideas too! So here’s how we do it – four things. Safety, quality, simplicity, and speed. And this is a hierarchy. So what that means is your improvement must consider safety first. Danger doesn’t take a day off. It doesn’t matter how much it would increase the quality, or the simplicity, or the speed. If it reduces the safety, that’s a no.

And that’s the same for the rest of those points. But not every point is applicable to every improvement of course. But it makes it simple to decide on the worthiness of your idea, and it makes it super easy to communicate between people and articulate why you might think an idea is great or not great.

So we are always looking for ways to make things safer, increase quality, make the process simpler, or faster. But we can never improve a process in a way that makes it faster if it reduces quality or any of the other factors.

And notice cost is not even on this list. For example if a more expensive ink increases quality, then switching to that ink is an improvement. Cost is not factored. There’s a lotta reasons for that but mainly it’s just that there are a lot of ways to cut costs in your business before looking at your suppliers or materials.

Remember that this is not a theory, continuous improvement is a proven manufacturing style. So just because we’re a smaller shop than you, or a bigger shop than you doesn’t mean that this doesn’t work in practice at another company – huge companies is where this all started. So it’s pretty easy to get people to agree. Because here, if you think speeding up the process at the cost of quality for the customer is a good idea, then maybe you’re not a good fit here. Simple as that. We’re not all clones of each other, but we can agree on hierarchy of values. Safety, quality, simplicity, speed.

So let’s finish this up, how do we make it stick? If you have an improvement has increased the quality for example, without reducing the safety, then the next step is to make a quick video on your phone explaining the waste before, and showing the improvement, and then posting it in our Whatsapp Improvements chat. We go over the new improvements every day at our meeting, so every person in the company sees and is inspired by the new idea, is trained on how it works, understands the new process, and we all have an opportunity to discuss it a bit and ask questions if there are any.

We’re a team of four, which means we’re getting at least four videos a day into the chat and not really having any problems making new processes stick. Improvements are happening all the time, and the momentum is crazy. This literally can’t happen if every change needs to be approved by the boss. If the boss can put those values into a framework that the team can compare their ideas to, then you’ll be unstoppable. So that’s it, simple as that. Safety, quality, simplicity, and speed. That’s how we rate every change made to the process here.

So if you want to see real improvements from inside our company then you gotta subscribe, like the video, and check out our Improvements playlist. We’re adding new montages of the best ideas all the time. So please, take a look but most importantly ask some questions. Challenge these ideas, because that is how we all can grow!