Focus on the Right Stuff Part 3: Super Summaries

July 24, 2023

Written by: Paul Van Metre & David Vuyk

Focusing on the right stuff can become a challenge when you and your team are constantly inundated with new customer orders and changing customer requirements, all while trying to make progress on your most important company goals. Tidal waves of new information that pour into the business compound the problem further, especially when various team members need to spend time combing through that information to determine their next steps. The manufacturing environment is a busy place, to say the least. Things tend to move fast. So how do we use our time wisely to stay focused on the right stuff? 

As noted in our last blog, information transfer is a core component in being able to focus on the right stuff. Information can pour into the organization from several different points. Whether it’s a phone conversation or email with a client, a purchasing terms and conditions document associated with a PO, or even a client quality manual that gets updated every few months. Sorting through these different pieces of documentation and client correspondence to get at critical information can soak up a ton of time! That inefficiency of time is compounded further when other team members are forced to go on the same wild goose chase in search of the same key information.   

Because things move so fast in a manufacturing environment, it becomes all too easy to rush the process and miss key details. I’m talking about the kind of details that come back to bite you when overlooked. It can be easy to fool yourself into believing that moving fast creates efficiency. Often moving too quickly only adds to the chaos. Fortunately, chaos and suffering often drive improvement and progress.  

If you’ve suffered the consequences of missing crucial details in the past, you’ll understand the importance of changing your process to stay on top of things. Even small changes can lead to remarkable results! The best way to solve this particular issue is to use Super Summaries. Stop subjecting the entire team to the frustrating process of combing through several databases to get the information they need. Instead, define what information is of particular importance to the job and have someone summarize that data as part of the planning process. Doing so saves time and leads to a better outcome. Here’s how it works:

Step 1: Define which pieces of information are important:
Study the production process and determine which pieces of information are critical to job success. Categorize and document those requirements by each operation (planning, programming, production, QC, shipping, etc). Once you know which pieces of information are of utmost importance, you can create a template for your first super summery! 

Step 2: Delegate someone to find and summarize the data:
Systematize the process of creating super summaries as a standard part of the job planning process. Delegate who is going to be responsible to dig through all the information to extract the key data points that comprise the super summary. Likely a planner, project manager, or the person in charge of a given project. Doing so means that the data extraction process only needs to happen once, saving other team members from having to repeat that process several times over. Not only does this save time, but it increases the effectiveness of the team.   

Step 3: Make the super-summarized data available:
With the key data points extracted into the super summary, hold a planning meeting with the project team whereby key team members such as the planner, project manager, programmer, shop lead, and purchaser can review the requirements of the job together. Doing so will create alignment within the team but also bring to light any additional points of information that need to be added to the summary. With a robust summary of key information and a team that is aligned on the pertinent details, the job then can be executed on with a much higher probability of success.  

Establishing processes like this and using them to form consistent habits are the secret to enjoying lasting results. When you professionalize your business processes to keep both leadership and team members focused on the right stuff, you radically transform how work gets done. In the process, you decrease frustration and increase productivity. When the level of frustration is reduced, employee morale is increased. The results of a happy and productive team become obvious on the bottom line.  

How ProShop Can Help:
ProShop’s built-in capabilities allow for the effective and efficient summarization of critical non-standard job information. Task 020-030-012, built into ProShop’s QMS titled “Requirement Distillation Process (RDP),” guides the planner through the process of extracting the key pieces of information needed to achieve a successful result. These summarized project requirements can then be inserted at the various stages of the manufacturing process so that team members have easy access to only the necessary pieces of information as they need it. Does your shop struggle with focusing on the right stuff? Not sure how our ERP software can help? Get in touch with our sales team to learn more about how ProShop can increase the focus and effectiveness of your team!

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