Facilitate Continuous Improvements

Question:

Part A: Required skills

The set of following competency skills are needed for this unit

  • Communication skills, interpret and propose opportunities and areas of improvement
  • Learning skills to guide and coach employees, importance of using a variety of methods to serve different styles of leadership
  • Use of innovation and lateral thinking skills to formulate better methods to achieve outcomes
  • Planning skills to form and examine systems and processes for continual improvement
  • Teamwork and leadership skills to earn confidence and trust of others the student is required to demonstrate his or her ability to apply the skills into your work. You can use below mentioned strategies to demonstrate your capability to use these skills.
  • Give response to case studies and framework
  • Give examples and samples of written reports
  • Direct response to direct questions
  • Give collection of evidence and third-party reports of workplace of your on-the-job performance to provide evidence of planning, coaching or mentoring, teamwork and innovations you have suggested
  • Participate in the presentations
  • To assess the knowledge of quality systems, respond to oral and written queries
  • Give examples of developed strategies to make sure that team members are motivated and supported to actively participate in the decision-making processes and to take responsibility and initiative
  • Give examples that can reflect the way customer service strategies can be communicated to all stakeholders
  • Give documentation which clearly defines team work performance

Part B: Case study

Read the case study, afterward answer the questions that follow.

Case study
Sally Evans got promoted as sales manager and is in-charge of 9 sales representatives and 2 accounts managers. Before being promoted, she was the accounts manager. Her work was well-appreciated by her manager. She was always dedicated and involved in her own devices, to ensure the best results

After becoming a manager, she immediately identified that her former manager did not use any kind of formal monitoring or performance measuring tool. Sally is an exceptionally systematic and organized person so her first step after becoming a manager was to prepare an excel sheet of individual person from her team to record the entry of their sales and their budgeted sales figures. Sally is quite professional, to motivate each employee and recognize their performance, she developed a transparent communication procedure by attaching each spreadsheet and linking it to the excel sheets of the team. The purpose behind this was to encourage a transparent and open communication amongst team members. It also facilitated each member in evaluating and comparing individual’s performance against other team members.

In later days, she discovered statements of debtor from the key clients. The accounts were 90 days in arrears, which was 60 days longer than the period of 30 days, set as per the company policy. She facilitates continuous improvements, hence took it as her duty to pay the outstanding debts. In future, such debts should be paid off within the timeframe without exceeding it.

  1. What risks Sally’s previous manager took by not setting up planning and monitoring mechanisms?
  2. Assess Sally’s approach for evaluating the performance of her team members. What is your suggestion on how Sally could do it in a different way?
  3. What would you suggest to Sally about communicating the modification she made with her team members, concerned stakeholders, and clients having accounts in arrears?
  4. Elucidate how sally illustrated her innovative and rational skills while designing better actions to facilitate continuous improvements in the performance.

Part C: Case study

Read the case study, afterward answer the questions that follow.

Case study
Jasper is a new manager at an outlet that is selling new cars and having follow- up service with customer support. As this industry involves competition, it is imperative for Jasper to grab every chance and to improve the performance of his team members in the services they render. The business is comprised of different areas that are discussed below:-

  • Sales of new car
  • Department of Finance
  • After-sales services (including customer support line)
  • Department of Service
  • Department of Purchase (including purchase of parts and materials such as oils, cleaning materials etc).

Jasper began to include a variety of actions in his planning process to handle it with the cooperation of his team members in order to recognize the areas where improvement is required. Such activities consist of surveys, follow- up services like calls, and analyzing sales data.

Improvements after those activities include :-

  • To provide better financing rates
  • Contacting more suppliers to purchase parts and materials
  • Introducing change in the approach of salespeople towards selling techniques
  • Introducing a unique service called 'collect and return service' for business people and business cars
  • Introducing a free shuttle bus to connect with the nearby shopping centre and pick-up facility for people who bring their own cars for service.

All the improvements should be well- communicated to the team and proper documentation for future planning. Jasper feels that there is a need of organized system for documenting the work performance and recording the information regularly to facilitate continuous improvements.

  1. Suggest what different strategies Jasper could use to examine growth in business operations and analyze in which area it can facilitate continuous improvements.
  2. Out of various improvements choose one and make a communicative strategy to intimate the team members about the improvements to be executed. Incorporate as much as possible suited options, which you find necessary. Use your creative thinking skills to come up with more motivating ways to make your team aware about the end result of the research.
  3. Briefly write about what you would include using the improvement, you have chosen in your Question 2.
    • business plan of the company.
    • operational plan of the team.
    • work plan of each team member.
  4. To facilitate continuous improvements in future, what monitoring systems should Jasper use?
    • Regular and proper documentation of work performance.
    • Proper report of successes, challenges, and opportunities.
    • Documentation of information that will contribute to facilitate continuous improvements.

All such performance variables should be included, which are evaluated in every system or process.

Part D: Required knowledge

  1. 1.1 Describe in your own words, what is a quality system and what role does it play to facilitate continuous improvements.
  2. 1.2 Choose a process or a model that can be followed by the team members to facilitate continuous improvements. Explain how you would make use of this process to increase the production, customer satisfaction and cost reduction.

  3. Make a research about any two continual improvements models or quality systems that are appropriate for your organization.
    • The quality system or models.
    • The reason why you chose each system or model.
    • To facilitate continuous improvements how can each model or system be used in your company.
  4. 3.1 Describe the principles of sustainability in your own words.
  5. 3.2 Give examples of two changes and explain what might have done by the organization to make sure that the change is in accordance with sustainability requirements.

  6. Choose three different knowledge management systems from this workbook. Explain how they can help an organization to facilitate continuous improvements.
  7. How can methodology of DMAIC (define, measure, analyze, improve and control) be utilized by the team to examine customer satisfaction? Explain.
  8. Undertake below-mentioned the project to plan the strategies and outlook, to facilitate continuous improvements in operational activities and outcomes. Make sure to carry out each following activities mentioned and support them with proper documents to justify your point.

Before project

  1. utilize a procedure with the team by motivating them to analyze the focused area to facilitate continuous improvements.
  2. To facilitate continuous improvements what initiative goals are you taking?
  3. Prepare a list of all the related stakeholders who are supposed to be well- informed about the continuous improvement actions. What would be the mode of communication for intimating each stakeholder?
  4. How will you coach and mentor to make sure that each team member is capable of carrying out and implement all that is required for the continuous improvement process?

During project

  1. What methods would you choose to observe the progress of organizational functioning, customer satisfaction and classify the area of improvement? Collect the outcomes of the continuous improvement actions by using these methodologies and justify as proof.
  2. While carrying out activities what are the two adjustments you have made to improve the initiatives? How you communicated these adjustments to the concerned stakeholders?

After project

  1. The results of your continuous improvements should be well-communicated to the related stakeholders and enclose a copy of this as proof.
  2. To facilitate continuous improvements regular cross-examining with the team members and analyze any other alternative for more improvements.
  3. To facilitate continuous improvements make a plan for future efforts required.

Part E: Present your portfolio
After completing the workbook’s practice tasks and assessment activities, you possess varied documents, reports and other relevant documents related to this competency.

Answers:

Assessment Activity 1
Part A: Theory Review and Application

  1. Strategies
    1. Active participation in decision-making: The team members will receive well recognition as well as respect for their performances and efforts. For example, if team members are given appreciation for their valuable contribution in attaining the target, then this can lead to good growth rate in organization.
    2. Presume the responsibility: Team members should be given responsibility of dealing and guiding other new employees. By this, team members can enrich their skills of handling such situations and they can showcase their capabilities as well.
    3. Take initiative: the team members should be invited to present their innovative ideas and opinions to facilitate continuous improvements. Team members should be given opportunity to distinguish and make a list of efficient and non-efficient employees as per their performances. They should be able to deliver equipments that got shortage for production process.
  2. Skills of Manager
    1. Analytical thinking skills: For effective decision making in the organization analytical thinking is necessary so that any problem or lack can be identified that may have occurred in the process. Usually managers handle and perform critical tasks, as others may not be capable enough to resolve such issues.
    2. Communication skill: Communication is an imperative part for building any relationship. To facilitate continuous improvements communication between top management and employees is must. By informing employees about the company's goal and give, correct feedback of the employees to the management (Reddy and Dr. S. Krishnaiah, 2012).
    3. Collaboration skills: it is the duty of the manager to have a good rapport with the team and bridge all the gaps among employees. It can ensure growth of the company and benefits can be achieved for them. To assure effective collaboration between employees and manager, the manager has to be fully and actively engaged with them (Machado and Diggines, 2012).
  3. Role of quality system
    In an organization if quality system is there, then a workplace can become a reasonable place to perform the job. The quality systems are effective to facilitate continuous improvements and bring more organizational effectiveness like sales, customer satisfaction etc. Along with that effective quality system, assess in monitoring the performance. It also helps in bringing consistency in performance that reduces the chance of errors in performing any task. To review and examine the functional activity, continuous improvement model is essential. Purpose behind it is to know beforehand error can be identified and corrective measures can be taken. To quote an example -Toyota uses TQM ( Total Quality Management) System by putting in order all the resources, people, internal controls and objectives.
  4. Need for sustainability and sustainability practice
    1. The sustainability is an inevitable part of any production process. With sustainability is there, then it reduces any kind of wastages which is future growth. For example, soft drink like Coca Cola wastes water in large amount then it might cause scarcity of water (Lazo-Flores, 2012).
    2. In a company, there should be formal practice to follow Sustainability process to ensure higher production, lesser usage of resources and facilitate continuous improvements. Sustainability practice should take place in product packing department (Servaes et al., 2012).
  5. Knowledge management system
    1. Knowledge Management System (KMS) is an effective process to reduce the cost incurred, continual improvement of products and services, enhancing every employee’s potential, growth, expansion and profitability of the company. It assess in dissemination of knowledge.(Matayong and Kamil Mahmood, 2013).
    2. Knowledge management system should be followed by the company like application, creation, sharing and structuring. Along with that search, collect and systemize the most suited and experienced employees for the task and their knowledge should be utilized fully. Team members should intimate the idea to project manager and that idea would be communicated to the top management by the project manager (Shibu, 2012).
  6. Improving customer service
    1. Team members’ meeting would be convened to discuss about their performances. Members will be divided as per the job to do as if some will be booking the customers’ order and providing details about the products, whereas other members will be delivering the products and on the other hand, some will be engaged in informing about the offers, benefits on specific products. (Lucas, 2012)
    2. To communicate the team members about the plans, a meeting or conference can be organized. In addition, each team leader will ensure about the planned improvements.

    3. Plan

      Activity

      Time

      Maximization of abilities

      Team members are asked to participate in coaching sessions in which they are informed about their own strengths and weaknesses.

      1 week

      Improvement in best practices

      A minimum standard will be fixed, like in a moth an employees need to earn at least 60 points for their performance

      4 weeks

      Acceleration of process

      Target of 100 points in a week will be set to boost high performance

      1 week

      Emphasis on strength

      The team members’ strength will be utilized to achieve higher production and they will be placed in front to ensure better customer service

      6 weeks

Part B: Case Study

  1. If any development takes place, employees should be well- informed. The company shall call all high skilled employees for a meeting, to make them aware about any change or step of the company and discuss their roles and responsibilities. In the later stage, employees who are performing at slower pace will be clearly told about the policy that if they continue to perform low until next month they will be fired as they are drawing higher benefits. To increase sales and income, diversification is a feasible option.
  2. To facilitate continuous improvement activities all the team members and managers should be engaged and all must take initiatives. All initiatives will be communicated to the stakeholders via circulating Official Document.

  3. Mentoring

    Description

    Contact Medium

    Group Mentoring

    Monthly meeting of mentors and team members

    Conference call

    Speed Mentoring

    One hour group meeting with the expert

    Face to face

    Virtual Mentoring

    Online conversation to answer all the queries of team members by the expert

    Online medium

    1. The sustainability practice should be employed in furniture production and procuring raw materials, so that it can help in reducing the cost and improve the Goodwill of the company in the market. That sustainability practice helps in having a competitive edge over others (Machado and Diggines, 2012).
    2. Collaboration and teamwork can be developed amongst employees with the help of the group where knowledge management system. Hence, employees will contribute more towards structures ways to enhance effectiveness of organization.

Assessment Activity 2

Part A: Theory Review and application

  1. Performance measurement – it is wise to assess whether the company is able to achieve the expected productivity or not. In order to attain the laid out performance level, employee may lose his or her efficiency, which can affect their productivity (Charan, 2012).
    Comparative study of past and present productivity – it will use in understanding the production level that is attained in the present year and is compared to the past year. If after comparing, the company realizes, it is less than last year’s production then it may disturb the company and its employees (Kelly, 2012).
  2. Highly efficient employees must be engaged instead of less productive employees in the production department. This adjustment will facilitate continuous improvements to get higher productivity with optimum utilization of resources. The decision of changes will be communicated in a meeting or by putting the information on the notice board.
  3. Strong and effective rapport can be developed with the employees by using strong and sound communication skills. This will facilitate continuous improvements, as the employees without questioning much, give their constructive contribution when it comes to performing with the changes introduced. The manager can easily get the work done by the employees as he shares a positive and sound relationship with them (Reddy and Dr. S. Krishnaiah, 2012).

Part B: Case Study

  1. Sally’s precursor never prepared any database or spreadsheet to track sales or budget figures. Also, the precursor did not opt any performance management system to measure the performance of the employees.
  2. Sally introduced the usage of monitoring tool like spreadsheet to monitor, team performance. It was specified that the recording of the sales and employees productivity shall be recorded differently.
  3. Sally called a formal meeting to intimate the team members about the changes and adjustments made by her. In addition, Sally also circulated an e-mail amongst stakeholders to inform them about the changes introduced, this helped the company in earning their faith.
  4. On being appointed as the Sales Manager of the company, the first thing she did was to study the previous manger’s performance. After studying his performance, she prepared the plan to organize the work by adopting various tools like monitoring tool and performance planning. Later, she also focused on clearing the debts of the company within the time.

Assessment Activity 3
Part A: Theory Review and Application

  1. Monthly meeting – monthly meeting will be convened by the management in order to enhance their efforts to facilitate continuous improvements. The focus of this meeting will be to assess the improvement in the employees’ performance. In this meeting management shall discuss, if there is any significant improvement in the performance of the employees or not.
    Placing status of monthly productivity level – this will enable employees in knowing the level of production done by them in a month. This method will assist them in improving their efficiency.
  2. With the help of record maintaining process, employees will receive proper and detailed information regarding gaps and required efforts in productivity and performance. This will facilitate continuous improvements amongst the employees.
  3. A proper and well-defined system will ensure achieving high performance with saving energy and improving the performance of employees in much better manner.
    1. Appraisal techniques like 360 degrees can be adapted to measure the work performance of the employees.
    2. Top management will receive the performance report.
    3. The performance information will be secured in the company’s database for future reference.
  4. It was clear that the major issue in the project was the less coordination, cooperation, and association amongst the employees. The team learned the way to develop a plan before actually starting to work on any project, followed by the performance review at regular intervals. One team will be having the team members of similar knowledge and skills. Proper planning and assessment of need and acquirement of resources is done as per the requirement of the project.

Part B: Case Study

  1. To measure the productivity and effectiveness of the employees, Jasper should have used the quality management system, so that it can be determined whether the employees are rendering the best and beneficial services to the clients or not. In addition, slightly low price should be offered to existing clients on the purchase of new cars. This will help them in holding strong on to their clients and being ensured that their clients will not go to any other car outlets. Offering gift coupons to clients, on each car service may also benefit Jasper.
  2. Contacting more suppliers to get parts and materials, will ensure timely availability of the required material on right time, which will help Jasper in providing timely and prompt service to its clients. The improvement strategy will be informed to the team members through meeting and conference. Meeting and conference will be an effective medium to address and inform the whole team at some point in time. A notice can be shared with every employee, which will inform about expected improvement and long-term benefits of the proposal.
    1. The suppliers’ name and cost of each supplier will be clearly laid in the business plan of the company.
    2. The process of usage and warehousing the parts and materials of cars will be outlined in the Operations Plan.
    3. A clear specification of role and time limit to complete the task will do in the Work Plan.
  3. Documentation of work performance should be done. Measurement of the work performance should be done on the regular basis and at regular intervals like in a month or so.
    Documentation of work performance should be done. Measurement of the work performance should be done on the regular basis and at regular intervals like in a month or so.
    Information and data must be recorded in the spreadsheet so that it can be used at any point of need.

Final Assessment

Part A: Necessary Skills
Quality Stock Enterprise, Sally Evans and Jasper case study were communicated very effectively. This assisted to comprehend the situation and the steps they took to facilitate continuous improvements to solve their issue. Quality Stock Enterprise formed a few new strategies like manufacturing offshore, product diversification, etc. Sally Evan worked on forming a structured plan like preparing spreadsheet, ensuring debtor of collection, etc. Jasper worked on improving the existing plan like sourcing more suppliers for higher benefit.

Where on one hand, there was an effective response in the quality system, which helps in attaining better knowledge to be used or applied in different circumstances. While on the other hand, flexible environment and liberty to express views were given to the team members. In addition to this, to boost customer service, each stakeholder was informed about the strategies and developments through an e-mail. To enhance performance of team, performance appraisal system was used and measurement technique was also engaged.

Part B : Necessary Knowledge

    1. Existence of a quality system is the dire need of processes and procedures of business. It is used to attain needs of the customers.
    2. To facilitate continuous improvements, the method of identification, planning, execution, and review. Experienced and skilled employees shall be engaged in carrying out this process.
  1. Agile model and Lean method are considered good options to adapt to facilitate continuous improvements. The plan can be executed in an appropriate way. While to understand the production process, a Lean method is successfully used.
    1. As per the Sustainability principle, it is believed that people and communities are framed of various systems including environment, social, and economic factors.
    2. Resources should be preserved, over or unnecessary use of resources like water or power should be avoided. In addition, the company must invest in green technology.
  2. To facilitate continuous improvements and make better decisions in right time, Groupware, Decision support system and Document Management system can be effectively used.
  3. To enhance quality and reduce rework or error in operation process, the DMAIC is very useful and helpful.
  4. Before Project
    1. Specific goals and plan to be set for team members.
    2. 30 percent of performance improvement will be ensured by the goals.
    3. An e-mail will be used to communicate with an investor, owner, banks, employees, and suppliers.
    4. Experienced and skilled trainer will be appointed for the purpose of mentoring and coaching
    5. During Project

    6. Techniques like Total Quality Management and Graphics Rating Scale will be used to measure the performance. A trainer on contract basis will be appointed to provide performance improvement details. To assess the efficiency and effectiveness of the employees their professional development will be regularly checked.
    7. It is ensured that new technology will be adopted and an experienced trainer will be hired. In annual general meeting, the stakeholders will be properly communicated.
    8. After Project

    9. Up to 80% goal is achieved by the employee. Up to 65% of wastage is reduced. Up to 70% of production is increased.
    10. Team spirit is increased, because of which team members have performed remarkably. This helps in creating harmony and organizing the employees in better way. This coordinate facilitate continuous improvements and reduces wastage as well during the production.
    11. Proposal

      Period of Time

      Increase in production quality

      2 months

      Training of employee

      1month

      Raw materials receiving

      15 days

      Team hiring

      1 month

      Objective accomplishment

      6 months

Part C: Portfolio

Planning

CEO, Manager

Employees hiring

HR Manager

Performance monitor

Trainer by performance appraisal

Reducing wastage

Follow sustainability principles

References
Charan, P. (2012). Supply chain performance issues in an automobile company: a SAPâ€ÂLAP analysis. Measuring Business Excellence, 16(1), pp.67-86.

Kelly, C. (2012). Measuring the Performance of Partnerships: Why, What, How, When?. Geography Compass, 6(3), pp.149-162.

Lazo-Flores, T. (2012). Grading Green: Strands of Sustainability Theory and Practice in Interior Design Courses. Sustainability: The Journal of Record, 5(5), pp.323-330.

Lucas, R. (2012). Customer service. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Machado, R. and Diggines, C. (2012). Customer service. Lansdowne, South Africa: Juta.

Matayong, S. and Kamil Mahmood, A. (2013). The review of approaches to knowledge management system studies. Journal of Knowledge Management, 17(3), pp.472-490.

Reddy, B. and Dr. S. Krishnaiah, D. (2012). Non Verbal Communication Cues: an Urgent Required Skill for Achieving Effective Communication. IJSR, 2(11), pp.212-213.

Servaes, J., Polk, E., Shi, S., Reilly, D. and Yakupitijage, T. (2012). Sustainability testing for development projects. Development in Practice, 22(1), pp.18-30.

Shibu, K. (2012). Knowledge Management and Information System: Strategies for Growing Organizations. Journal of Knowledge & Communication Management, 2(1), p.1





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