Screen Printing - August/September 2017 - 11
standing the issue or knowing what to do about it - it's
simply getting started. The sprint approach provides a solid
architecture for getting the work done.
A sprint happens in three stages. First, you develop a plan
that outlines who is working on the project, what they hope
to accomplish, and what needs to be set up for the plan to
succeed. Then the team does the actual work. Finally, the
team gathers for a sprint retrospective called a "scrum."
Think of the scrum as the after-action meeting to discuss
what happened. Did you learn anything during the process?
Was the team missing some tools? Could they have used an
extra hand or some training?
Keep careful notes about this process so you can review
them and learn how your team can work more efficiently on
Staying on track
Don't ever let a sprint go on longer than four weeks; strive to
complete it in just two. I know it seems crazy, but shortening
the timeline puts pressure on getting things accomplished.
Once you get the hang of solving challenges this way, you will
be amazed to find that you can get more than one team working on different components of the action plan at the same
time. They'll be eliminating your biggest production headaches - issues that have probably plagued you for years.
TesT your ideas. Know ThaT noT
everyThing you Try will be 100 percenT
successful. You are going to hit
roadblocks, and that's okaY.
Just fail quickly, and regroup.
Initially, just form your team and give them instructions
on what to do. You're only concerned about the results; they
are in charge of the process and how things develop. It's
called true delegation, and it's something a lot of owners and
production managers struggle to do.
So let's say the priority you have decided to address is
how to push more jobs out daily. First, identify what you're
doing now that isn't working and is causing you to complete
fewer orders than you want. Backtrack it. Are the issues that
come up shopwide, or are they limited to a few work groups?
Test your ideas. Know that not everything you try will
be 100 percent successful. You are going to hit roadblocks,
and that's okay. Just fail quickly, and regroup. What did you
learn? Often, that failure will be a key step in making something better. Take the time to investigate. Bring in some big
guns from your supply chain if necessary.
taking the time
One barrier to success you will have is creating time for your
team to work on the project. The stance you have to take
is that this process has to happen, so everyone must block
off the appropriate amount of time on their daily schedules.
Discuss this with the team and find out if they can spend 30
minutes per day or longer. It may mean that someone needs
to fill in for each team member for a bit while they are working on the sprint project. Make sure you don't hamstring your
effort by not allowing the designated team members enough
time to complete the project in the two-week window.
Pay attention to how the team begins. If you feel that
a team starts off at a leisurely pace and then tries to cram
everything in when the deadline approaches, then next time
shorten the cycle from two weeks to one. I know it seems
counterintuitive, but additional pressure on the deadline will
prevent people from procrastinating until the last minute.
Know that things might also take longer than you expected if the project turns out to be bigger than what you planned
for initially. That's okay, too. Maybe you have an extremely
daunting task, such as redoing the layout of the shop floor
and repositioning older machines so that new equipment can
be installed. If your project won't easily fit into the two-week
cycle due to the amount of work involved, then don't be
afraid to "chunkify" and break it up into smaller sprints. One
huge sprint can become three smaller ones.
Keep the process moving and don't lengthen your sprints.
Just keep splitting them into two or more subcomponents.
Solve the thing that will enable the next steps to succeed, and
then address them. If you find that the reason you're completing too few orders in a day is that your changeovers are
too long, and part of the reason for that is that screens aren't
ready when jobs go to press, then solve that problem before
you look into what's happening on the press.
the importance of ScrumS
The scrums should be brief meetings after the project is over,
and they can be great learning experiences for your staff.
Bring in everyone from the leadership group, not just the
people from that specific team. Have everyone chime in and
discuss what went right and where the team took missteps.
You want to ferret out the challenges that must be avoided
in the next sprint. Understanding how to complete tasks, identify the resources that are available, and work the effort into
your already busy schedule will only happen once you actually
do it. You can talk about it all day, but until you get your hands
dirty, you just won't know. Solve what you can and move on.
I'm going to throw out a challenge to you and your shop: Get
started - today. Just do it. Follow the IDS approach, and adjust
and tweak the process as you go. Right now, certain problems
in your shop are probably hitting you in the face like a skillet. It
hurts, especially when there is a better way out there. It takes
work and pain to discover the solution and then implement it.
Think about how much better your shop will be a year or
so from now. Sometimes, that's all the motivation you need.