Managing in Silos (book excerpt)

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ccochran

Hello, all:

For a number of months, I've been working on a book that addresses various management principles through the use of fiction. Hopefully it will be published by Paton Press next year, but here's another chapter in advance: Managing in Silos. Hopefully it's entertaining and of some value. I would enjoy hearing your feedback on it.

Craig
 

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Brizilla

Quite Involved in Discussions
I found it entertaining and informitive. Like many I can see the miscommunications and lack of data that flows between departments. I can also see the lack of incentive value of pitting one department against another and I've seen it a lot. One of the problems I see is dept. supervisors being too "territorial" about their turf. This is especially obvious of those supervisors who have comfortably run their departments for 15 or 20 years.
It can be really hard to get buyin with the "old guard." :applause:
 
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ccochran

Brizilla,

Thank you kindly. You can see from the depth of characterizations (or lack thereof) why my fiction has not been snatched up by publishers. At any rate, we've all experienced these exact issues, no matter how basic they would seem. Thanks again for taking a look at it.

Bring on the rain,
Craig
 
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Pudge 72

Good excerpt!!!

I do have a question that has nagged at me for a while though.

In the midst of alleviating these problems, whether you are undertaking a Lean initiative, or Six sigma, it always seems that in the end the employee gets screwed.
My company has the same philosophy about OT and cross-training etc. that you mention. We have eliminated a lot of Overtime and saved a lot of money.
Unfortunately, now, there are a lot of people that were making 42K a year who are now making 35K and now have to work a second job. So, yes, it's great that we are not wasting the money, but kind of sucks for the people.
I think that it is a shame that we do not place the same requirements that we as quality professionals try and employ in a production atmosphere into areas such as sales and new product development. When you eliminate that much of a man or womans salary / pay - do you really think that they are satisfied with the "improvement" and elimination of waste - no, they have to work more to make what they were. If I save more, we need to SELL more at a higher profit margin so that the people don't have to kill themselves to survive and enjoy a decent lifestyle.
People say that money does not motivate - LIE. You show me someone who can pay their bills, spend a little time with the kids and enjoy some of the simple pleasures of life and I will show you a generally productive worker.
To conclude - I don't disagree at all with any of your philosophy, in today's' culture though, we need to get back to the family atmosphere of business, caring, and comradarie and put the onus of responsibility on those who can make the business profitable and successful for everyone and not just beat on those on the shop floor.
 
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Craig H.

Craig,

Great article, but some of it was enjoyable and some made me sick to my stomach, having worked in some of the same situations. One thing that I might add is that where there is more than one shift, competition between them for "the numbers" can cause the same types of problems.

Where'd I put the Rolaids?

Bring the rain, please!

Craig H.
 
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gszekely

Hello Craig
We can met the situation described in the above excerpt, day by day, in most of organizations.
However, my opinion is that restructuring the organizations based on process rather than departments itself it's not a cure.
What we usually do, paralell to this restructuring and forget to mention, is that together with the restructuring we make corrections in the process to fix the problems which were the root couse before.
I do not see any reason, why an organization based on departments should not work as efficient as any other organization. Why just by restructuring the team work should be more efficient ? In my opinion if an organization based on departments is not efficient is usually due to the fact that there is missing somebody "Maestring the process" as in my picture below or is there, but his competence is not adequatly defined, having influence on planning, QA, Hr and other departments. , This people is going to be appointed later while the restructuring is taking place.
At least in my opinion, the most of the companies don't define in the right way the main and secondary(support) proceses, and sometimes the production department is the support process for HR, QA, and other functions.
If all the above is defined in the right way, then the problem is with the "leader" as there are too few with the right skills, competencies, leadership skills. In this case as well, just restructuring will not help, only on short term.
One other sign of success of restructuring could be that during this period everybody will look at the results, procees more frequently, with more attention, and giving more help in solving problems. Sometimes, things which were unimaginable earlier, proposed by midle or shop floor management, just get acceptable during restructuring, becouse an external consultant says.
Please do not interpret my words in a wrong manner, is just an opinion, subjective as everybody else's.
On the other side, could you please elaborate, what you mean by organizing everything by process, and why logistics is a separate one.
How you will allocate the resources, and how will you avoid the problems met earlier, as more flexible allocation if you will have more than one group, and more than one leader coordinating the daily work ?
Why al, these didn't work ? Was just the organizational structure a problem ?
Why that boss didn't know what is he paing for, and the cost are not aligned with the results ?
How will this be prevented in the future ?
Let's go trough a company transformation, and start by an organizational change.
Let say that the company has molding, painting, assembly, decoration, tool maintenance, quality, HR, accounting, purchassing, logistics, project engineering, production engineering departments.
How would it looks like after restructuring ? Do you just allocate the support functions like logistics, purchassing, tool maintenance, quality to manufacturing(operations) manager, giving by this him a wider competence, or you start creating as called value strams, by projects, allocating all the resources to these VS ?
Wes has mentioned in a different thread on Lean manufacturing, that implementation goes well if you have made a good FMEA, why not do it now, on your restructuring process. I would love to assist.
I will go trough the excerpt at home again, and make some notes, and post it, if you agree in continuing the discussion.
Sorry, just as usual, some kind of shop floor voice, gone trough several organization restructuring, but meeting the same problems after a while after each one, so the problems being not solved.
BR
György
 
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ccochran

Pudge,

I agree. Production functions have been squeezed almost dry. When I was in manufacturing, it was all about labor cost. Everybody chanted it like a mantra. The reality was that this was only a small fraction of the costs. There was all kinds of money tied up in support functions that did very little value add. So, the bottom line is that I'm with you, man. I didn't intend the piece to be an attack on production and manufacturing, but I can see how it might appear that way after a fashion.

Craig,

Hey, buddy. Hope all is well down in Sandersville. I heard J.M. Huber sold off their kaolin operations. Is that right? Thanks for your feedback. You think you had to take some Rolaids reading it? Imagine how many I took writing it. Thank goodness I was a little more naive when I was living it. So, what's it going to take to make it rain? At least you're a little closer to the Atlantic...

György,

Thanks for your well-drawn thoughts. You are a probing and critical thinker, and I must admit being forced to rethink some of my positions on this. My problem with traditional departments are three fold: 1) They can encourage a lot of duplicated effort, 2) they can encourage competition for resources, and 3) they can make sharing of feedback and communication harder. All these things can be remedied without restructuring into a process orientation, but it can help. It's hard to elaborate further, as it's been a long day, but I've attached an older article of mine on process orientation that provides my thinking on the subject. I don't pretend to be the expert on these things, of course. Hope all is well Hungary. That's a place I'd like to visit.

Warm regards,
Craig
 

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Craig H.

Craig,

Hey, buddy. Hope all is well down in Sandersville. I heard J.M. Huber sold off their kaolin operations. Is that right? Thanks for your feedback. You think you had to take some Rolaids reading it? Imagine how many I took writing it. Thank goodness I was a little more naive when I was living it. So, what's it going to take to make it rain? At least you're a little closer to the Atlantic...

The J.M. Huber rumor has been swirling for a couple of months now. I still have several contacts there from when I worked for Anglo-American - ECC (Huber was spun off of that company during the Imerys/Huber buyout). None of my contacts have said anything about a sale being completed, but it is a big open secret that they are for sale. I think that part of the reason why the rumor of a sale has been so rampant is because of the sale of Englehard's kaolin operations to BASF, which has been a done deal for a while.

This used to be a boring business...

As far as rain goes, I have tried watering the lawn, washing the car, and planning a picnic. Didn't work. A big front will start out west, spawning floods and tornados, only to break up as it hits I 75. The recent rain from the gulf split just before it hit Washington county, with half going east and half west. We got only a trace. It won't be long until the ducks move away...

Hunters around here are saying to heck with acorns and food plots. They find a wet spot to hunt over, knowing that their quarry has to find water to drink.

Anyhow, excellent article! Take care!

Craig H.
 

Ajit Basrur

Leader
Admin
Hello, all:

For a number of months, I've been working on a book that addresses various management principles through the use of fiction. Hopefully it will be published by Paton Press next year, but here's another chapter in advance: Managing in Silos. Hopefully it's entertaining and of some value. I would enjoy hearing your feedback on it.

Craig

Great article Craig :applause:

This topic sounds so simple yet so difficult to implement. Apart from the ones that you mentioned, some organizations have multi cultural people. Thus if a differennt nationality comes as a department head, he might absorb / prefer many employees close to his culture.

This is another reason of silo slowly being built into an organization as they find comfort within their departments.

Some of the reasons that you have mentioned to break silos are very good esp. focus on KPIs and not individual competition. I totally agree and feel that no department should be like a "black box".
 
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ccochran

QualityAlways,

I had never considered that angle related to silos, but you're exactly right. Culture and nationality can become a wedge quicker than you can say "boo." Thanks for taking a look at the article, and thanks for your gracious feedback.

I've put this book on hold, and started working on something called ISO 9001 in Plain English. Maybe you could help me create a version called ISO 9001 in Plain Chinese...

Have a good weekend,
Craig
 
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