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How to Build a Reliable  Delivery Process: Synchronized Execution

Supply Chain Management

Mark Woeppel - April 8, 2014

race track

The Production Manager Owns Execution

Often, the responsibility for execution is split up among functions or it’s not clear who is responsible for the entire process. There can be no question of who is responsible for execution. Having a single person accountable for the ensure order fulfillment process provides leadership for the entire execution team. The production manager is responsible for executing the plan. In effect, he is the “Race Boss” of the order fulfillment process. The scheduler creates a plan that can be done; the production manager gets it done.

Focus During Execution

Since the planning is centered on the constraint resource (the drum), the main focus of production is ensuring this resource actually accomplishes the plan. Flawless execution of the schedule at the constraint resource (the drum) sets up the flow for the rest of the team, creating a synchronous current of work. If that resource executes its schedule properly, the other resources can achieve their schedule with little management intervention.

Even with a carefully thought out plan, people don’t always follow directions precisely – you have to watch for compliance. A critical part of controlling execution and early identification of problems is accomplished by monitoring schedule conformance.

Act Early

We know that even the best plans don’t always survive reality. When things don’t work, you have to do something! It’s amazing how many people watch the numbers, notice that performance is not satisfactory, but never act to correct it! Measurement is not enough. You have to respond to the measurement.

We talked earlier about inserting buffers into your schedules. Managing these buffers assures that exceptions do not become emergencies. By tracking the buffer remaining, you can get a fix on the remaining time in the system to compensate for variation, giving you an opportunity to create early action. The buffer management process show you the almost-late orders, providing you with an early warning so you can act early.

Release on Time, Deliver on Time

Many people think that early release means early finish. The the contrary, early release means late finish! Work released into the system too early creates confusion and chaos by causing people to do work that is not needed now, delaying what is really needed. While your resources are happily “getting ahead” on some work, the capacity that’s needed for more urgent work is consumed forever, creating overloads on downstream resources and the scramble to finish on time – not to mention the confusion of trying to figure out which order out of 30 is supposed to be worked on now, deciding wrong, and then finding that vital order when it’s inevitably too late.

Orders released too late are – well, late!

My next blog post will focus on teamwork, the third part of the six parts of the system. Do you want to read ahead? Check out the full white paper titled “How to Build a Reliable Delivery Process” here.

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