Leading Lean Project Assignment Sample

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Leading Lean Project

1. Introduction

In today’s day and age, the biggest challenge for businesses is to gain a competitive advantage in terms of cost and quality. The lean approach can help organisations in doing so by eliminating waste. This report is based on the case study of an organisation named Australian Engineering Works Private Limited (AEW). The company deals in manufacturing plastic moulding components for telecom industries. Being in the industry for more than 30 years, it has a great reputation in the market. Having a lucrative market, the new competitors start emerging out causing serious damages to the company. In this report, the problems faced by the company has been identified and discussed by making use of a fishbone diagram, and other techniques. In addition to this, the risk management plan will be formulated by making use of the PMBOK tool. The report concludes after suggesting the leadership style for the case study.

2. Problem Identification

Analysis of the case study from a broader viewpoint determines that cost and quality are two major areas where the company needs to think of. This section will determine issues by making use of seven tools, namely cause and effect analysis, check sheets, control charts, 5 why’s, 5S, Kaizen events, total quality management (Saraph, et.al, 2013).One assumption has been made while applying each tool and technique.

2.1.Cause and Effect Analysis

For the cause and effect analysis, fishbone diagram has been used to identify the factors increasing the cost of manufacturing for AEW.For this tool, an assumption is made which is that even the indirect factors contributing to the issue have been taken into consideration.Five different factors have been considered while identifying the issues contributing to the poor performance and reducing the profitability of the company and experienced employees are leaving the company and joining the new competitors (Conger, 2015). There are many issues that will be identified that would ultimately lead to the root causes. The parameters taken for the fishbone diagram are:-

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  • Person:This category is characterised by the issues related to the employees working in AEW. The experienced employees might be leaving the company due to low motivation and poor career growth. In addition to this, the lack of training could be one issue for the company and incompetent employees is the other.
  • Method:There are some factors associated with the methods used by the company affecting the processes of the company and reducing its profitability. These issues comprise a poor management structure and not following any lean management approach such as PMBOK, PRINCE2, OPM, and Lean Six Sigma. This has increased the manufacturing cost of the products and reducing the competitiveness of the company.
  • Machine:The issues associated with the machine are non-compliance with the iso 9001 2000 standards and poor and obsolete technology. These have affected the number of defective items and reduced the efficiency of the machine. This has also forced the company to charge a bit extra amount from the customer than the competing firms in the market. This has forced the customer to switch their supplier.
  • Material:Talking about the material, the transportation cost, poor quality of the raw material, and high price of the material force the company to place its product's price a bit higher than the competition. Hence, it is affecting the profitability of the company (Saraph, et.al, 2013).
  • Environment:Talking about the environmental factors, these comprise both internal and external factors, such as high competition, negotiating power of the suppliers, and lobbying.

Leading Lean Project

2.2.5 Why's

AEW can make use of 5 Why technique to uncover the root cause of the aforementioned problems. It is assumed that employees are demotivated and quality is declining.There is no need for the company to carry out any data segmentation or hypothesis testing or use any statistical tool to determine the root cause (Conger, 2015). AEW needs to develop the relationship between the root causes in order to prepare a comprehensive plan. The 5 Why’s in the following case are as follow:-

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  • Why has the profitability of the company reduced?

Ans: Because the major clients are switching to the increasing number of new companies in the market.

  • Why are the loyal customers switching to rival firms?

Ans: Because they are offering a better quality product at a reasonable price that is lower than the price of AEW

  • Why the cost of products are high?

Ans: Because of the high operating and manufacturing cost of the product. In order to sustain, the company has set a price higher than the rival firms.

  • Why are the operating and manufacturing cost higher?

Ans: Poor efficiency of the machine, low productivity of employees as experienced employees have resigned.

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  • Why is the efficiency of machine and processes poor and experienced employees resigning?

Ans: Machine is designed based on obsolete technology. Processes are having redundant sub-process that is consuming resources and increasing operating cost. Due to poor career growth, low motivation, and improper appraisal experienced employees are resigning.  

Hence, the root cause of the problem is redundant processes, obsolete processes, and technology used in manufacturing and low employee motivation and job satisfaction.

2.3.Check sheets

Since the fishbone diagram clearly highlighted that the defect in the products might be affecting the profitability of the company, it is important to keep a check on a number of defective items is produced.It is assumed that machines used by the company is delivering defective products affecting the bottom line of the company.A number of defective items in customer's order might force him to switch the supplier (Kendrick, 2015). Hence, the check sheet can provide useful data to the company about this problem. It will be helpful for GM of AEW to collect the real-time data. The GM can carry out qualitative and quantitative analysis.It is recommended to the company to make use check sheet only when the required data is observable. It is a simple way of representing the number of defects in the products. The‘define’ and ‘measure’ phase of the lean six Sigma DMAIC supports the use of check sheet. If the company is planning to implement DMAIC, then it should consider this strategy.  

Leading Lean Project

2.4.Control charts

Before using control charts, it is assumed that all the samples collected are uncorrelated i.e., they are selected randomly and are independent of each other.AEW needs to consider factors like the poor performance of machines and poor organisational structure. The output of the machine reduces with time and most of the equipment of the company are obsolete. This has increased the operating cost of the company and to cover that up, the company is charging high amount from the customers affecting the market share of the company in a lucrative market. A control chart can help in determining and monitoring the whole AEW manufacturing process variance over time. This way the company can improvise its processes and performance. Ultimately, this would result in lowering down the cost of the process.

Leading Lean Project

2.5.5S

AEW is in strong need of creating an organised, efficient, and safe workplace. For that purpose, the 5S method can be very effective for the company.It is assumed that data is collected from primary data collection method rigorously. The company is facing issues with workplace organisation, efficiency, and waste in the processes. By implementing the philosophy of 5S, a company can be able to control the cost and waste generation in the process by taking necessary steps for improving the production line (Singh, et.al, 2014). It helps in improving the visual aspects, thereby helping the workers to detect the faults in the process causing poor efficiency.

  • Pareto Analysis

The basic assumption in this case is that majority of the results of this situation is determined by making use of small amount of causes. By making use of Pareto Analysis tool, organisation can put its focus on issues with higher potential for improvisation. AEW knows where the actual problem is and why it is undergoing declining profitability.Hence, by making efforts for those issues, organisation can resolve up to 80% of its issues. In the Pareto analysis, the diagram of relative importance of issues can be made out and progress can also be measured simultaneously.

Leading Lean Project

2.7.Kaizen events

Since it is crystal clear from the 5 why’s that the root cause is redundant processes and obsolete technology, Kaizen event method can be very effective in the case of AEW. It is assumed that using this approach, company is considering positive attitude from management and employees in desire to implement change.Being an action-oriented approach, it can be used for rapid process improvement. The best part of this process is that it provides an opportunity of problem-solving to the team working on the AEW improvement plan. In addition to this, the 5S methodology is also compatible with it. The company can map the current process of manufacturing and moulding the telecom parts, by making use of the flowchart. Once this is done, it determines the redundant processes and eliminates them, thereby saving a lot of resources from getting wasted.

2.8.Total Quality management

AEW needs to get associated with the total quality program.It is assumed that the company will make use of the approach in short-term basis.This would help in creating a purpose for improving the products and service of the company. In addition to this, the approach emphasises on accepting the philosophy of leadership and establish the concept of teamwork. This can help in improving the employees' morale and motivation. It advocates the need for training in the organisation in order to update the workforce with new skills and carry out employee development (Conger, 2015).

Leading Lean Project

3. Risk Management Plan

One of the major aspects of management is risk analysis. In the previous section, major factors contributing to the poor competitive position of the company have been highlighted. This part of the report will determine the risks associated with the company. First of all, it is important to understand the literal meaning of risk management for better understanding. The process of risk management isthe process of determining, assessing, and monitoring the potential threats for the operations of the organisations and its profitability. In the following case of AEW, the risks have been classified in terms of organisational, technical, environmental, operation, and human resource. However, there are various category one can classify them. A risk management plan consists of organisational processes for determining the factors contributing to the root cause of the problems (Brioso,2015). If an organisation is able to control those factors, then it can control the threats. For this report, Project risk management strategies given by PMBOK have been considered. There are majorly seven processes given:-

Leading Lean Project

  • Plan Risk Management: In this stage, the risk categories are itemised and time and processes for risk assessment are determined along with the probability of reoccurrence of risk. For this stage of the risk management plan, project charter, stakeholder register of AEW, organisational procedures and assets, and environmental factors are considered. After a detailed analysis, a risk management plan is proposed (Howell& Koskela, 2012).
  • Identify Risks:This stage is all about creating the checklist of risk factors that in the case of AEW are Poor Management Structure staff resignation, lack of training, incompetent employee’s poor efficiency and obsoleting technology, lack of motivation, and much more. This is important here to pinpoint as the company needs to save its funds and resources that can help in gaining a competitive edge. The major inputs needed from AEW for this stage are resource management plan, quality management plan, cost management plan, schedule management plan, etc.
  • Performance quality management: Looking into the risk management plan provided below, the risks have been ranked based on their risk score which is the function of risk probability and risk impact, this stage characterises that column. The risk probability has been categorised as 0.25, 0.5, 0.75 based on their probability of occurrence. The risk impact is similarly categorised as 2.5, 5, and 7.5 for low, medium, and high impact, respectively. The major inputs of this stage are stakeholder register, risk register, assumption log, etc.
  • Perform quantitative management: This stage is associated with the calculation of the probability of meeting the schedule and cost. This stage requires empirical and mathematical knowledge to calculate the probability. The major inputs for this stage contain cost estimates, cost baselines, schedule baseline, milestone list, cost forecasts, duration estimates, and much more (Zwikael& Ahn, 2014).
  • Plan Risk Responses:This stage is important for the formulation of the action plan. In addition to this, this stage is responsible for proper monitoring as well. The major inputs for this stage consist of cost baseline, risk management plan, resource management plan, risk report, project schedule, resource calendar, risk report, stakeholder register, project team assignments, etc.
  • Implement Risk Responses:Using risks management plan, AEW can prepare the risk response plan. The major issue is declining profitability and employee turnover. These issues can be combated by the risk responses, such as performance appraisal and motivation by rewarding the efforts of the employee. For profitability, the company should cut down the manufacturing cost and remove the redundant processes from the supply chain. In addition to this, accepting transformational leadership style and lean six sigma strategies can be of great help for the company.
  • Monitor Risks: By analysing the work performance data provided in the report and risk report, the General Manager of AEW can ensure proper monitoring of the risk mitigation strategies adopted by the management. It is important for the company to keep a regular check on the risk rank as they might get changed with time and take necessary measure for the same by revising the risk response plan (Zwikael& Ahn, 2014).
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Identify Risk

Qualitative Risk Analysis

Risk Score

Risk Rank

Risk Strategy

Plan Risk Response

Monitor

Risk Category

Risk Event

Probability (P)

Impact (I)

 Px I

Response

Cost

(Euros)

Risk Owner

Status

   

Low

Medium

High

Low

Medium

High

             
   

0.25

0.5

0.75

2.5

5

7.5

           

Organisational

Poor Management Structure

 

x

     

x

3.75

2

Mitigate

Management Plan

0

GM

Work in Progress (WIP)

 

Staff Resignation

   

x

   

x

5.625

1

Mitigate

Improve Retention

0

GM

WIP

Human Resource

Lack of Training

   

x

   

x

5.625

1

Mitigate

Training

1000

HR Manager

WIP

 

Lack of Motivation

 

x

   

x

 

2.5

3

Mitigate

Reward Scheme

1000

HR Manager

WIP

 

Incompetent Employees

x

     

x

 

1.25

5

Mitigate

Training

1000

HR Manager

WIP

Technical

Poor efficiency and Obsoletion

 

x

   

x

 

2.5

3

Mitigate

New Machines

1000

GM

WIP

 

Non-Compliance with ISO 9001 2000

x

       

x

1.875

4

Mitigate

Benchmarking

0

GM

WIP

Environment

Lobbying

x

   

x

   

0.625

6

Accept

Do nothing

0

GM

WIP

 

High Negotiating Power of Suppliers

   

x

 

x

 

3.75

2

Mitigate

New Supplier

0

GM

WIP

 

High Competition

   

x

   

x

5.625

1

Mitigate

Competitive Plan

0

GM

WIP

Operations

Inflation in material cost

 

x

   

x

 

2.5

3

Mitigate

Substitute or Recycle

0

GM

WIP

 

Poor handling

x

   

x

   

0.625

6

Accept

Do nothing

 

GM

WIP

 

High Transportation Cost

 

x

   

x

 

3.75

2

Mitigate

Seek Local material

0

FM

WIP

                             

4. Suggested Leadership Style

From the case study analysis, it was identified that the company is facing two major challenges. The first is a loss of revenue due to an increase in competitors offering a lower price for the products to the telecom companies. The second is associated with poor employee loyalty and trust as even the experienced employees are joining the competitor firms. Hence, the company should work on its leadership style in order to enhance the employee retention rate and loyalty and gain a competitive edge in the market. It is recommended that an organisation should implement a Lean Six Sigma approach for better efficiency and quality at a low price. Thetransformational style of leadership is best suited for the following case of AEW. According to Muenjohn& Armstrong(2015), transformational leadership style can be the best option for building trust and improving the loyalty of the employees. In addition to this, leaders can be able to establish individual identification. Once the team and individual team member feels valued and trusted, they will stay loyal to the company. In addition to this, they will promote harmony within the team and organisation. Further, resource sharing is one of the aspects of such a valued team. All that is required from the management is to opt a leader that trusts the team member and their capabilities.

According to Muenjohn& Armstrong (2015), the transformational leader support the team members to carry out innovation. Such leaders prioritise trust and faith in the team members over any other aspect. Looking into the case of AEW, one of the factors for an experienced employee to join the competitors could be lack of trust and limited growth in the company. Experienced employees want their efforts to be valued and rewarded. Possibly, the company was lacking in performance evaluation of the team members and rewarding them. This has forced them to leave the company in search of career growth that they deserve. From this event, the senior management of AEW should learn that boosting the team morale and motivation are also important aspects of running a successful team. This can be done on a short-term and long-term basis. Transformational leadership style promotes a fair and transparent evaluation of performance.

Engelen, et.al, (2015) state that when a company is planning to implement six sigma initiative, the most crucial aspect of planning is zeroing down on leadership style. The transformational leadership engages the followers and helps them in their leadership development. There are 5 components of transformational leadership, namely idealised influence-attributed, inspirational motivation, and individual consideration, idealised influence-behavioural, and intellectual stimulation (IS). The transformational leader promotes the development of critical-leadership skills. Such leadership style usually assesses the current situation of the company and formulate vision accordingly in no time. A transformational leader is so competent in communicating vision properly to other leaders in the organisation and to their followers.

5. Conclusion

Hence, it had been in this report that AEW was facing the problem of declining profitability which was caused by the root problems, such as obsolete technology, number of competitors, redundant processes, and employee turnover. In this report, the problems faced by the company had been identified and discussed by making use of a fishbone diagram, and other techniques. In addition to this, the risk management plan was formulated by making use of PMBOK. The report concluded after suggesting the leadership style for the case study.

6. References

  • Brioso, X. (2015). Integrating ISO 21500 guidance on project management, lean construction, and PMBOK. Procedia Engineering,  123, 76-84.
  • Heagney, J. (2016).  Fundamentals of project management. Amacom.
  • Hilton, R. J., & Sohal, A. (2012). A conceptual model for the successful deployment of Lean Six Sigma.  International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management,  29(1), 54-70.
  • Howell, G. A., & Koskela, L. (2012). Reforming project management: the role of lean construction.
  • Kahn, K. B., Barczak, G., Nicholas, J., Ledwith, A., & Perks, H. (2012). An examination of new product development best practice.  Journal of product innovation management,  29(2), 180-192.
  • Kendrick, T. (2015).  Identifying and managing project risk: essential tools for failure-proofing your project. Amacom.
  • Kiely, G., Kiely, J., & Nolan, C. (2017). Scaling Agile Methods to Process Improvement Projects: A Global Virtual Team Case Study.
  • Koskela, L. J., & Howell, G. (2013). Reforming project management: the role of planning, execution and controlling. In  Proceedings of 9th International Group for Lean Construction Conference.(pp. 185-198).
  • Singh, J., Rastogi, V., & Sharma, R. (2014). Implementation of 5S practices: A review.  Uncertain Supply Chain Management,  2(3), 155-162.
  • Zwikael, O., & Ahn, M. (2014). The effectiveness of risk management: an analysis of project risk planning across industries and countries.  Risk Analysis: An International Journal,  31(1), 25-37.
  • Saraph, J. V., Benson, P. G., & Schroeder, R. G. (2013). An instrument for measuring the critical factors of quality management.  Decision Sciences,  20(4), 810-829.
  • Conger, S. (2015). Six Sigma and business process management. In Handbook on Business Process Management 1(pp. 127-146). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.
  • Muenjohn, N., & Armstrong, A. (2015). Transformational leadership: The influence of culture on the leadership behaviours of expatriate managers.  international Journal of Business and information,  2(2).
  • Engelen, A., Gupta, V., Strenger, L., & Brettel, M. (2015). Entrepreneurial orientation, firm performance, and the moderating role of transformational leadership behaviors.  Journal of Management,  41(4), 1069-1097.
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