“So, what is the goal?” I asked. “What is the expected output?”
Marianna smiled, looked down at the paper in front of her. “Strategically improve current workflow resulting in improved success on projects in support of long-term company goals.”
I nodded. “Sounds great. But, I don’t know what that means.”
Marianna looked puzzled. “Well, that is what I expect from the manager in this role,” she replied.
“I know that’s what you expect, but I am still confused.” I stopped. “It is noble to improve workflow, but I don’t know what you expect to see. How are you going to evaluate effectiveness? What do you expect this person to do?”
“Well, we have work-cells that pass work along the line. Sometimes there are delays where things stack up. Sometimes, there are quality problems that are discovered at the end of the line, where we have to scrap a whole day’s production because of a small adjustment up the line. Sometimes, we run out of raw materials, so production stops. Sometimes, our work flow gets interrupted by a priority order that gets inserted at the last minute.”
“Okay, now we are getting somewhere. You want the person in this role to chart out the workflow, identify problems related to workflow delays, interim quality inspections, raw material min-max levels and expedited orders. The accountability (work output) will be a one-page work flow chart showing work-cell to work-cell production hand-offs, identifying where delays occur, when interim quality inspections are performed, quantities of raw material inventory related to production, and contingency processes for expedited work orders.”
Marianna nodded her head in agreement.
“Then, why didn’t you say so in the first place?” I smiled.