Simple, simple, simple…that’s the way to think about creating and implementing an effective accountability structure. If the structure is too onerous and administratively complicated, it’ll never gain traction and will lose support within two weeks; however, if this structure is done correctly, it will be a total game changer for your MRO business.
Make this investment and build sustained accountability from the first-level shop floor employee to the most-senior leader in the organization.
Here’s what a starter accountability system might look like for a typical MRO work cell:
1. At the start of each morning shift, every employee assigned to a specific cell gathers around a 4’ X 6’ accountability board located in the middle of the shop floor or where the work happens.
2. The communication board includes a collection of elements that describe “What Success Looks Like” for that work cell. These elements should include the following:
Delivery Performance includes the key metrics of the team, such as Open Order Backlog and Orders Past Due. I recommend a maximum of three delivery measures be tracked to retain high-level team focus. Make sure the measures you choose are the most meaningful and impactful metrics for that specific team.
Quality Performance (internal and external) defect tracking. I also recommend including a relevant quality message that highlights a tip or reminder that causes employees to keep quality at the forefront of their minds.
Productivity Performance includes direct hours per unit completed. The type and maturity of your business system and processes determine if you have data readily available. If you don’t have available data, then I strongly suggest that you identify and track this information, because it will be critical in determining the effectiveness of your direct workforce and other essential data points. Other Productivity examples might include the number of pieces requiring rework or the time and frequency of machine turnovers.
3. For any accountability system to be complete, it must include established targets to variance actual performance against. Each of the three measures covered above (Delivery, Quality, and Productivity) will only prove effective when meaningful targets are established, discussed daily with the full work team, and used to drive incremental improvements. Incorporate both targets and actuals into the communication board for each measure. While weekly and monthly targets are typical to see, it’s best to have specific daily targets to indicate if performance is ahead or behind the plan. If the team is behind the plan, there is presumably time remaining to adjust and get performance back on track by the end of the current week.
Think creatively on how you will implement and communicate this strategy; fit the strategy to your team’s style and personality and be consistent in your approach. Remember, the key to seeing substantial improvement in your MRO business is behavior related. Change behaviors over time and see the entire landscape of performance improve beyond your imagination.
4. One additional element critical to include on your daily accountability board is a simple RAIL (Rolling Action Item List). Specific tasks to be accomplished, such as an action to get Deliveries back on plan for the week, would be annotated on the RAIL along with a single owner (by name) and a due date for the action to be completed (no longer than 24 hours).
5. Make the board elements as visual as possible, not just a set of boring data points that will garner a “deer in the headlights’ reaction” for sure. This is an excellent opportunity to connect the message and performance with your team, so use it to your full advantage.
6. Logistically, it’s vital to engage your team with this accountability meeting each morning, at the start of each work shift, or before any work begins. Discuss the previous day’s performance against the previous day’s plan, and what the plan and expectation are for the day. Everyone hearing, seeing, and feeling the same message will build powerful momentum and shift behaviors toward achieving winning outcomes.
7. Once you have established this accountability process for one team and have worked through the kinks, replicate this across every team and every office function. The power of this process is simply unbelievable! Stay committed and don’t give in to naysayers who paint every new change with doom and gloom. Find early adopters and leverage them to help roll out your plan in a positive way.
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