Several operating conditions presented initial barriers, including the process in question being shut down temporarily, which prevented Accenture from directly observing the workflows in question. In addition, key mill floor operators were unavailable, thereby limiting insights of the factors causing delays.
Accenture surmounted these barriers, however, by looking deeper into the organization and drawing on additional resources. Accenture helped form a rapid improvement project team that included client personnel from operations, maintenance, research and development and IT systems. As a result, the project team had the knowledge and resources to fully understand the process and map the workflow from start to finish.
Once the production flow was mapped into the Lean Six Sigma Value Stream format, project team members could easily see handoffs, time delays, rework loops and opportunities to improve the process. A brainstorming activity resulted in 19 ideas to reduce cycle time along with a future-state process.
Team members compared the 19 suggested projects in terms of expected benefits versus required effort. Targeting the most promising, they selected 12 projects, four of which were determined to be “quick wins.”