The Assembly Line of Information Sharing is Broken – There is one main critical flaw in the way companies have been structured and managed over the past 100 years. What once worked for as a proven methodology to improve efficiencies in American assembly line environments is no longer a viable organizational structure in today’s constantly changing world.
The traditional top down leadership styles are creating two very important gaps in an enterprises ability to adapt:
- Information captured at the operator level (point of production) takes too long to get to the leadership that is both analyzing the data and making decisions based on that data.
- Decisions made at the top trickle down creating old and irrelevant intelligence for the operators.
The shift in organizational structure must move from assembly line mentality to that of a living organism. Let me explain.
When operators on a plant floor are faced with data that provides them insight into a specific asset failure, the optimal decision for action should be made by the individual closest to the action. However, in an assembly line organizational structure, the information travels through the chain of command up the food chain. The result is an operator with the ability to make a decision – but a structure that is not set up in a way that they can impact immediate change.
So the information travels down the conveyor belt to your analysts and managers that look at multiple options and arrive at the best possible solution that creates the lowest amount of impact on the production schedule and outstanding orders in the pipeline. Oftentimes we see the scenario where by the time a decision is delivered back down the assembly line the machine has already deteriorated into a fail state or a faulty part has been shipped and a costly recall needs to be initiated.
The Solution is Simple but not Easy – In an assembly line organization – leadership looks at each functional station as an independent part of the process that flows with a predictable rhythm and governance. The problem with this is that the further the information flows away from the operator – the less accurate and impactful it becomes.
When we describe the organizational shift to that of a living being our customers are able to understand the disconnect and can now begin taking the proper steps to support that structure. Think of your enterprise structure as a human body. The leadership is the head, the maintenance team are the legs, the production team are the arms, and the assembly line operators are the hands. When we touch a hot surface – immediately our head knows that something is not right – our arms are connected directly to the the hands so they know what’s up immediately – and if it’s a fire and we need to get the heck out of the building our legs are quick to take us away from danger. We don’t have to wait for each part of our body to analyze the fact that we just touched something hot. The head doesn’t have to check with the arms or legs to know if they should react and respond to the hand’s discovery. No – the body is completely connected. It is interdependent throughout.
The shift from disconnected and long feedback cycles to interdependent shared experiences is where we will focus our next post. Part 3 is the most difficult part of getting this process started…
Getting Teams Equipped to Share Everything Not Just Some Things.
If you have any questions or would like to engage with us to help your organization execute on the challenges of a massive change in structure give us call (404) 316-0082 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org