While at a client recently, we began the process of a manufacturing process remediation. The driving factor behind our involvement was a poorly implemented software solution that was not able to diversify between the unique process requirements of each of the client’s manufacturing facilities.
The implementation failed due to several crucial a few factors. First, the decisions regarding the software solution were made in a vacuum by a few people who thought they had the best interests of the business at heart. The problem was, they really didn’t have an understanding or perspective on what the real issues and challenges were for each of the facilities. They never asked the vital questions about the business processes at the other locations, but assumed certain “facts” without gaining affirmation or dispute of the assumptions. What is it that motivates people not to go beyond what they think they know and look at the real truth behind a negative situation? Is it human nature is to trust what people tell us unless proven otherwise? Is it laziness?
What I found after visiting each of the sites and spending time asking each of the end users what they did and what would make their life easier was that each site’s perception of the other locations were completely opposite of each location was really like. There were many times when I was told not to speak to a particular location since they either “don’t do it the way we do, don’t do as many transactions or have a business model that is different”. In fact, in almost every case they were wrong.
There were other times I was told not to bother speaking with a facility staff because the perception was that the business processes were exactly the same as their location when, in fact, it was opposite.
This string of miscomprehensions and miscommunication between facilities contributed not only to the failure of the software solution, but out a serious drag on the overall productivity of the company, within all of its facilities.
The lesson here is clear – like a good news reporter – always validate your facts and get secondary sources. Open communication based on direct conversation with the managers in each of your facilities is vital to the success of your business. Even if the information you are acting on comes from the CEO, always validate the information with the person or department to which it relates. Your bottom line will benefit from your due diligence.