Out of the organizational performance improvement planning process come specific performance improvement interventions, tactics and techniques. Note that these interventions happen at five checkpoints. Upstream systems, inputs, process, outputs and downstream systems. Quality management efforts must be defined relative to these five checkpoints. In effect, transformation and continuous improvement efforts are commitments to a practice of managing all five-quality checkpoints. The management team then develops, through the performance improvement planning process, a balanced attack to improve total system performance, not just system sub-components. After interventions are made to the system, measure, assess and analyze organizational performance at the five checkpoints to determine whether the expected impact actually occurred. Based on these data, make an evaluation relative to the business strategy, the environment (both internal and external), the vision, the plan and the improvement actions themselves. Note that the process of evaluation is separate from the process of measurement. In addition, measurement supports improvement as its primary objective. The organizational system or unit of analysis being measured must be precisely defined in order to avoid confusion. A number of measurement and evaluation techniques may be used in this regard. If the organization has an effective, high-performance management process in the areas of planning, measurement and evaluation, control and improvement, it will achieve its vision of the future and its desired outcomes over the long term. An integrated approach to continuous improvement is essential to this achievement.
DSMC/ATI Performance Improvement Model Explained
The DSMC/ATI Performance Improvement Model, shown in the diagram is primarily a model for creating an improvement project. It has seven steps and begins with establishing a cultural environment and results in implementing a continuous cycle of improvement projects aimed at improving organizational performance.
Step 1 : Establish the Transformation Improvement Process Management and Cultural Environment
The transformation improvement process is a total organizational approach toward continuous improvement of products and services. It requires management to exercise the leadership to establish the conditions for the process to flourish. Management must create a new, more flexible environment and culture, which will encourage and accept change. The new culture is developed and operated so that all the people, working together, can use their talents to contribute to the organization’s objective of excellence. Management must accept the primary responsibility itself and understand the prolonged gestation period before the new systems become alive and productive.
Management is responsible for the following activities: (a) providing the vision for the organization, (b) demonstrating a long-term commitment to implement improvement, (c) actively involving all people in the improvement process, (d) using a disciplined approach to achieve continuous improvement, (e) ensuring that an adequate supporting structure is in place and (f) making all employees aware of the need for, and benefits of, continuous improvement and training them in the philosophy, practices, tools and techniques that support continuous improvement.
Step 2: Define the Mission
The mission of each element of an organization must reflect a perspective such that, when combined with other elements of the organization, it will provide the synergy that produces positive performance improvement. Identify the customer(s), their requirements, the processes and the products; develop measures of the output that reflect customer requirements; and review the preceding steps with the customer and adjust them as necessary. Define the organization’s mission with respect to those characteristics. In developing this mission, all members of the organization must know the purpose of their jobs, their customers(s) and their relation faction. Everyone has a customer (internal or external). One objective of the transformation effort for continuous improvement is to provide customers with services and products that consistently meet their needs and expectations. Everyone must know the customers’ requirements and must also make the suppliers aware of those and other relevant requirements.
Step 3: Set Performance Improvement Goals
Improved performance requires improvement goals. Both involve change. Steps 1 and 2 determine where the organization wants to go, how it is currently performing and what role each member will play in achieving improved organizational performance. Step 3 sets the goals for performance improvement. These goals must reflect an understanding of the organization’s process capabilities so that realistic goals can be set. The goals should first be set at the senior management level. They should reflect strategic choices about the critical processes, the success of which is essential to organizational survival. Middle and line management set both functional and process improvement goals to achieve the strategic goals set by senior management. This hierarchy of goals establishes an architecture that links improvement efforts across the boundaries of the functional organization. Within functional organizations, performance improvement teams provide cross-functional orientation, and the employees on those teams become involved in process issues. Thus, the entire organization is effectively inter-linked to form an ideal performance improvement culture.
Step 4 : Establish Improvement Projects and Action Plans
The initial direction and the initial goals set for the continuous improvement teams flow down from, and are determined by, top management. The steering group performs the following activities. (a) Develops the organizational transformation philosophy and vision; (b) focuses on critical processes; (c) resolves organizational and functional barriers; (d) provides resources, training and rewards and (e) establishes criteria for measuring processes and customer requirements.
Step 5: Implement Projects with Performance Tools and Methodologies
Improvement efforts follow a structured improvement methodology. This methodology requires the improvement team to define its customers and processes, develop and establish measures for all process components and assess conformance to customer needs. Analyzing the process will reveal various improvement opportunities, some of which will be more valuable or achievable than others. Opportunities are ranked by priority and improvements effected. The improvement methodology is a cyclic and infinite process. As one opportunity is pursued and improvements implemented, new opportunities are identified and prioritized. Appropriate performance tools are employed at various points in the process.
Step 6: Evaluate
Measurement is an essential element of the transformation and continuous improvement process. If focuses on the effectiveness of improvement efforts and identifies areas for future improvement efforts. A basic need in all improvement efforts is the ability to measure the value of the improvement in units that are pertinent and meaningful to the specific task. For example, one evaluation of the “before” and “after” levels of customer satisfaction following an improvement effort might include the number of customer complaints. The method of the performance improvement should also be evaluated. Most organizations have existing measures that may be used with little or no modification. No menu of measurements is applicable to all users. The key is to select measures that can be used by work units to manage and evaluate their products and services so that continuous process improvement may be undertaken.
Step 7: Review and Recycle
The continuous improvement process must be a permanent fixture in the organization. Approaches to positive transformation for continuous improvement that have limited lifetimes will become ineffective if left unattended. Review progress with respect to improvement efforts and modify or rejuvenate existing approaches for the next progression of methods. This constant evolution reinforces the idea that continuous improvement through organizational transformation and reengineering is not a “program” but rather is anew expectation for day-to-day behavior and a way of life for each member of the organization.