Katarina Hachmöller, Partner
Although the COVID-19 pandemic has caused disruptions across enterprises, some very positive developments have also emerged. People and companies have managed to change in a much faster manner than anyone would have expected. “The main idea has been to give heed to the current trends while respecting a handful of success criteria,” says Katarina Hachmöller, Partner at oConsulting. (It’s o for Operations). She mentions some of the trends that are important for companies to stay ahead in these challenging times.
Lean Leadership Goes Digital
The shift towards virtual meetings provides the opportunity for leadership to be more present. As involving team members from around the globe has become more normalized, shopfloor meetings hold the potential to be more effective. Visualization, especially in the context of displaying management performance, is still crucial. Transparency becomes even more important as people working remotely rarely see “reality”. Companies should not get caught up in a flurry to digitalize meaningless routines and reportings. That would be a wastage of digitalization potential. On the other hand, physical Gemba is still crucial–for building personal relationships and for observing what really goes on in the premise.
Upgrade of Training and Standard Work
While online training has become all the more popular, companies find it challenging to keep training as interactive as in offline modes. The training ought to keep individuals from being distracted by the multitudes of distracting elements in the 21st century. If these realities are successfully managed, trainings become easier to organize, and individual needs can be met more easily. Virtual training of SOPs (standard operating procedures) can be provided at any time— even directly at the production line. Including videos showing the “best and most efficient method to perform a task”, interactive exercises, and little quizzes make learning easy-to-understand, more effective, and fun.
However, it all comes down to finding the right balance between instructor-led sessions in meeting rooms or virtual classes and selfpaced individual e-learnings. Some content can be taught through interactive e-learning more effectively than in class. e-learning allows training at an individual pace and allows going into the subjectively relevant details where required. It brings a higher return on invested time to the live part of the training, which then can focus on transfer and application of learning.
Process validation can be fast and effective
It can take years to set up and validate new processes, especially when introducing a new product. However, observe the astonishing pace at with vaccines against COVID-19 were developed. Some outstanding companies succeeded in quickly developing safe processes for the manufacture of vaccines by using very new technologies. This has been very impressive as it is a classic example of rethinking assumptions in process validation.
To this end, although quality assurance may be regarded as the prime mover pertaining to provable process quality and flawless documentation, guidelines show that this is not enough. The key to rapid validation is indeed robust cross-departmental processes.
Functions such as development, quality control, and operations must work together to avoid errors systematically. With well-understood statistics and Lean tools, it becomes easier to implement the guidelines to ultimately bring great benefits to the company in terms of higher quality without additional manpower, avoidance of destruction costs, and quicker time to market with a better culture of cooperation.
So how can oConsulting help clients maintain their winning terms in these changing times?
Katarina Hachmöller answers, “At oConsulting, we are 100 percent committed to operations. We have extensive expertise in implementing improvement with focus in regulated environments, especially pharma and medical devices.”
In its consulting projects, oConsulting help clients make success last and spread throughout their organization by building on methods, primarily from the Lean Six Sigma toolbox, and strengthening the team’s required capabilities. oConsulting supports hands-on. “Our clients appreciate that we make their goals our goals. We appreciate our clients aiming at real improvements leading to sustainable results,” concludes Katarina.