Minimising problems before they exist
Design manager at Actilum, 2017. I led a team of two designers to undertake a project that aimed to reduce production line errors and order shipment delays while factoring in internal reorganisation and growing demand.
The project’s motivation stemmed from a pressing issue within the company’s production process, which resulted in delayed order shipments, lost revenue, and declining customer satisfaction. Additionally, there was an increased demand for tailored products, and internal reorganisation increased the complexities of the production process.
We encountered some challenges due to the intricate nature of the production process, with each product being tailored to the clients’ unique specifications. The need to balance the workload in different teams, including the sales team, production team, directors, and clients, amplified the difficulties.
Throughout the project, we made several key discoveries that enabled us to identify the underlying causes of the production line errors and delays:
- One significant revelation was that employees were using inadequate tools that made their work challenging, leading them to devise workarounds to complete their tasks.
- Moreover, the lack of integration between different areas resulted in duplicated work, leading to wasted time.
- Additionally, without clear instructions on product manufacturing, employees developed their unique processes.
To overcome those obstacles, we adopted a strategy based on agile methodologies that involved continuous testing and refining of the solution as we progressed.
This approach allowed us to build the solution incrementally based on real-time feedback, rather than striving for perfection from the onset. It provided us with greater flexibility to refine and improve the solution as required.
One critical value that I brought to the project was my ability to handle multiple sources of information and understand their real value in meeting the employees’ needs.
By demonstrating empathy towards different levels of the organisation, I was able to view things from their perspective, identify their pain points, and comprehend how they worked.
As a result, employees regarded me as someone who genuinely wanted to improve the work environment and make things better.
The project concluded with the successful implementation of an omnichannel order management system that integrated MS Office with Kanban Tool and the internal ERP, resulting in streamlined production order tracking and organisation through the establishment of a unified model for data transfer.
This led to reduced delays and early detection of potential errors, eliminating the need for emergency meetings or calls.
With access to all necessary information, directors, sales team, production team, and clients worked efficiently and effectively.
The project’s outcome was an optimised production process that increased revenue and customer satisfaction.
By adopting an agile approach, we were better equipped to adapt and refine the solution as we progressed, ensuring that it met the end-users’ actual needs and aligned with the organisation’s goals.