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How to Optimize Your Daily Management System

By: Ben Baldwin

February 1, 2023

How to Optimize Your Daily Management System

While a Daily Management System is a powerful lean tool, companies can still struggle to keep up with their goals and build the right culture. In many cases, people are unsure of their responsibilities and tasks, their strategy does not include widespread standardization, or they lack a specified and well-thought-out plan.

However, establishing and optimizing your DMS can be a straightforward process that yields tremendous insight and fast-acting results. You just need the right tools, methods, and know-how.

What is the Purpose of a Daily Management System

First, it should be pointed out that a daily management system is not a piece of technology.

While there is software that helps companies fulfill their daily management goals, a DMS is first and foremost a lean strategy used to increase operational performance.

Like any lean strategy, the main purpose of a daily management system is to increase value for the customer through periodic (often daily) continuous improvement efforts. However, an optimized daily management system also transforms the company culture so that lean methodologies become intuitive and automatic.

So how does this work?

If you would like to mitigate waste in your facility, several lean methodologies can help you do this, such as standardization, Gemba walks, and JiT (Just in Time) to name a few. And while each of these methods help achieve the goal of reducing waste, you need to accurately track your progress and properly manage how your objectives will be executed.

Here is where the Daily Management System comes in.

Companies use a DMS to center their lean methods under one comprehensive strategy. Goals, methodologies, and performance metrics are shared with the entire workforce, enabling all personnel to pursue the company's objectives and receive the proper guidance to achieve the specified goals.

CMP Advanced Mechanical Solutions shows how companies can optimize their DMS with a proven strategy. By using a comprehensive plan surrounding 5 key principles of daily management and their widespread use of VKS work instruction software, CMP was awarded provincial recognition in the field of innovative manufacturing.

How to Optimize Your Daily Management System

The 3 Questions of Daily Management

The first step to optimizing your DMS is to create and maintain a firm direction. For this reason, it is useful to periodically ask yourself the following 3 questions. Each focuses on measuring and enacting improvements so your management strategy always moves forward.

1. Are we succeeding or failing?

With any strategic action plan, you always need an established goal.

What is it you would like to achieve? Once this goal has been set, you’ll need to periodically assess if you are achieving or failing that goal.

For instance, imagine you build ready-to-assemble desks and other office furniture. You create high-quality products for your customers but there have been a growing number of defects. Thankfully, they’ve been caught before going out to your customers

With a DMS in place, you need a method to consistently track all quality defects and ascertain whether the amount of defects is above or below your specific goal. Once this has been accomplished, you can move on to making improvements that reflect the reality of your position next to your goals.

pro tip

Pro Tip: When tracking defects, determining their causes, and creating action plans, use a Pareto chart to determine which defects are causing the most harm. Then use root cause analysis to find the source of the issue.

2. What’s your DMS action plan?

Now with an accurate view of your current benchmarks next to your goals, you’ll determine an action plan to make improvements. However, creating an action plan is only half the battle. You also need to plan how the workforce and other elements will be used to accomplish it.

For instance, to reduce the number of defects in your office furniture operation, you could decide to focus on increasing standardization. This way, all workers will have a specific best practice that they can follow. But how will you create the best practices and ensure that operators follow the proper procedures?

To accomplish this goal, you can

DMS action plan

  • Gather in-depth data from your workforce
  • Establish a set of best practices
  • Provide regular training and coaching for the new and improved operations
  • Commit to a digital transformation goal
  • Deploy work instruction software to visually control the process
  • Regularly perform process confirmation by performing audits and Gemba walks.

3. Are we maintaining past improvements?

Within a manufacturing environment, everything is connected. For this reason, it's a good idea to think about how new improvements will affect past improvements. Often, we can get so caught up in making incremental improvements that we lose sight of the bigger picture and/or the intended direction, resulting in past improvements being neglected.

So how do we ensure that our improvements always move the operation forward? There are a few methods and strategies.

  1. Use production software that enables you to track key metrics.
  2. Create specific KPIs that easily and visually display your progress over time.
  3. Review past improvements to ensure that they are not negatively affected by newer changes.
  4. Engage with workers and team members with regular Gemba walks and opportunities for employee feedback.

Once your action plans have been implemented and you have an accurate means of tracking your progress, it's time to return to the first question and see if you’ve moved closer to your intended goal.

The 5 Key Principle of an Optimized Daily Management System (DMS)

While the 3 questions are a great starting point to establish the flow of a DMS, there are 5 key principles of daily management that elevate the system and strategy.

DMS action plan

DMS Principle #1: Standardization

Since a DMS is a company-wide initiative, responsible leaders need to ensure that all actions and processes are standardized. Otherwise, the results, action plans, and components of your daily management system will become unbalanced.

For instance, on a particularly motivated Monday morning, you decide to perform a Gemba walk to review how operators are assembling industrial vacuum pumps. You mark down key information and make notes for future improvements.

However, your colleague Rory performs an inspection on Tuesday afternoon with a different set of workers. While the make and model of the industrial vacuum pump is the same, the afternoon shift is not performing the same process, leading Rory to collect different data and come up with other methods for improvement.

Plus without a standardized process for assembling the vacuum pumps, there can’t be a standardized inspection, leading to more errors and slower improvement results. For this reason, always pursue a standardized process in every department so that you can gather consistent data and enact worthwhile improvements.

Read More: Did you know that Republic Manufacturing, a world-class producer of industrial blowers and vacuum pumps, uses VKS as a key part of their quality inspection process? They were able to decrease their inspection times by 75%.

DMS Principle #2: Gap Management & Analysis

Gap management within manufacturing refers to the gap between current performance and a desired goal. As we saw with the 3 questions of daily management, understanding your goals and your current progress is crucial to moving forward and maintaining your direction.

A good method of gathering data for gap management and analysis is by using Gemba walks. Supervisors, leaders, and manufacturing operators “go to the real place” and see the work being done firsthand. This practice enables them to use a structured inspection process that focuses solely on learning about the operation, flagging non-conformances, and identifying areas for improvement to get the most out of your gap management and analysis.

pro tip

Pro Tip: Your workers are a wealth of knowledge. Use VKS smart forms to engage with your employees and gain a keen perspective straight from your shop floor.

DMS Principle #3: Disciplined Management Culture

While technology can help optimize your operation, an intelligent DMS requires a smart and disciplined management culture. If the culture is not properly disciplined, there can be negative consequences.

For example, if your managers and supervisors are already strapped for time with their daily responsibilities, there is a decreased likelihood that they will be able to properly manage and perform the key functions of the daily management system. On top of that, if your teams don’t understand their specific functions and responsibilities, then they will not be able to fulfill the various roles and components of the daily management system.

To safeguard against these scenarios, there are five key strategies you can use as key principles of your daily management system.

  1. Roles and responsibilities need to be clear: Ensure that all parties involved understand the goals of the DMS along with their responsibilities and functions.
  2. Provide coaching and leadership: Offer training and support to anyone in need so that no one falls through the cracks. Detailed digital work instructions that guide workers through every process are a great way to ensure employees know what to do and how to do it at every moment.
  3. Monitor Employee Performance: Track how many employees are needed to achieve the intended goal while also monitoring how the work is distributed in reality.
  4. Get everyone involved: Many hands make light work. The more people that can be added to the plan, the easier it will be for members to participate and achieve the goal.
  5. Conduct regular meetings: Participating in regular meetings to discuss action plans, recent changes, and progress is an invaluable way to get everyone on the same page.

This smart culture will help you prioritize specific functions and ensure you’re not spreading your resources too thin or failing to keep up with the requirements of the DMS.

DMS Principle #4: Visual Management

When implementing creating an advanced management strategy, visual tools are a key principle of daily management. It empowers you to easily standardize your processes, gather accurate data, quickly understand your progress, and most importantly, gain an optimized level of control.

Visual management works so well because the human brain processes visual information up to 60,000 times faster than text communication. This is exactly why pie charts and bar graphs are the preferred mediums to gauge varying metrics.

Visual management

To enact visual management across an operation, three essential practices should be put in place.

  1. Visual instructions enable operators to precisely see their tasks and responsibilities without needing to decipher any complicated text. This level of visual process control leads to workers assimilating knowledge faster while decreasing the risk of errors or misunderstandings.
  2. Visual inspections give users a detailed understanding of what they are looking for with every inspection. Adding to this, inspection data can be visually captured as well with pictures and videos directly through the work instruction software.
  3. Visual KPIs and metrics enable workers of all levels to quickly review the current benchmark, providing transparency and fast company-wide communication. There’s a reason pie charts and bar graphs are the preferred mediums to gauge varying metrics.

DMS Principle #5: Continuous Improvement

As it is implied in the name, your DMS strategy is meant to be executed daily. With a highly dynamic strategy that will experience varying levels of evolution over time, it is useful to look at each action and goal as a larger part of a continuous improvement plan.

Under continuous improvement or Kaizen, 5 key principles will elevate your DMS.

  1. Know what brings value to your customers: Improvements should always be made with the customer in mind. They are the ones who ultimately fuel your business so improving the operation with their desires in mind is crucial.
  2. Establish flow: Work to progressively remove waste that steals time and money from your business. If the workflow is sporadic or uneven, then improvements will also be less consistent.
  3. Go to Gemba: Make sure you see the operation for yourself and gather real feedback. Effective change can’t be made unless you gain insight directly from the operation itself.
  4. Empower your people: Any improvement plan you have will be enacted by the people on the shop floor. For this reason, you must give your employees the right tools and knowledge to enact the continuous improvement plan.
  5. Success and failure transparent: Continuous improvement is about consistently moving forward as a team. It is beneficial to share successes and failures so that all team members understand where the organization is next to its current goals.

With these principles in mind, consistently look for new opportunities to maintain growth in the future. Remember that even if you are succeeding in your goal, there is always room for improvement and more advanced objectives.

Daily Management System Success Story

CMP Advanced Mechanical Solutions, a long-time user of VKS digital work instructions, recently received a prestigious manufacturing award (Prix Performance Quebec) for their innovative daily management system. By focusing on the five principles of a DMS above, CMP was able to build an impressive strategy that enabled them to increase standardization, accurately gather data, change their company culture, and share key knowledge with their workforce.

Gemba guidebook

One item that greatly impressed the PPQ jury was CMP’s widespread use of VKS across each pillar of their DMS. Every process on the shop floor, including quality inspections and Gemba walks, was created and performed using VKS. This widespread use of our work instruction platform enabled CMP to achieve an advanced level of standardization where inspections and processes were performed and reviewed using the same system, further helping to centralize how data is gathered.

Data that was collected during a Gemba walk was automatically sent to CMP’s BI software (Tableau) using our advanced integrations and API capabilities.

The raw data was then transformed into a series of dynamic KPIs with 2 key areas of focus:

  1. Departmental and employee performance: Using custom-built KPIs, CMP created comprehensive reports that they were able to share with employees, greatly aiding their goal of inspiring and directing their workforce to continue pushing for excellence.

  2. Gemba walk performance: CMP tracked the number of audits performed each week, where they were performed, and who performed them to ensure that every process and department was represented in the data.

DMS success CMP

Every week, leaders and managers reviewed the collected data and developed improvement plans that would be carried out the next week. Again, the results of each week and the improvement plans were shared with the workforce, further motivating employees to find continuous improvement opportunities that would bring value to the customer and enhance company operations

As a winner of the prestigious award, CMP shows the manufacturing world the potential of a truly optimized and intelligent daily management system, motivating other companies to achieve the same high level of visual management and smart culture within their organization.

“One of the industry's big challenges is that while everyone is doing planned inspections and tours, not many are formalizing the process or capturing the right data. It's easy to simply go on a shop tour and ask “Is everything ok?”. But formalizing your plan from an EHS and quality standpoint leads to greater efficiency.”

Alain Prevost, Vice President of Continuous Improvement and Quality at CMP

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