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Continuous Improvement Plan For Lucent Technologies

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Question:

How Do Continuous Improvement Plan For Lucent Technologies?

 

Answer:

Introduction

Mackay Regional Council (MRC) is installing a shared footpath in Quota Park for which the company is looking for contractors. A tender has been prepared to seek services from construction contractors for carrying out all the required activities for construction. MRC project has been funded by the Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) under the Cycle Network Local Government Grants program for the construction.

This report is prepared to develop a continuous improvement plan for the construction project of Quota Park Pathway. A continuous improvement process begins with the identification of current business processes which in this case would be the current improvements in the construction project. These processes are then analyzed to identify scope for waste elimination and value creation (Lee, et al., 2007).

 

Case Study

Mackay Regional Council (MRC) is in the process of constructing a shared footpath in Quota Park for the public use for which a tender was prepared to call for vendors for managing construction project. The work would involve supply of all resources including labour and material and construction of culverts, footpath, turf, fencing, pavement and installation of signage as per given drawings in the tender. The project scope also includes waste removal and disposal. The work has to be completed in compliance with the safety, traffic, and environmental standards which include provisions of site establishment, traffic, environment management, drainage management, protection, landscape management and revegetation, earth work, road furniture, and construction of paving. The contract that would be prepared for the execution of the project would include all the operations and terms related to labour management, plant provisions, material, supervision, survey, and more.

Continuous Improvement Plan

Description

This project involves construction of a footpath in Quota part for which a construction tender has been published to call for suppliers and contractors. The purpose of continuous improvement plan is to endure that the construction project gives the best results to the organization using continuous improvement processes.

Rationale

A continuous improvement process follows Deming’s Plan Do Check Act cycle in which a plan is first developed on the basis of scope for improvement. This involves selection of a process, identification of purpose, defining of process, data collection, visualization and analysis. Once data analysis is complete, a plan is developed, approved and implemented in the pilot phase.  The outcomes are verified and performance is measured to further identify scope for improvement so that new procedures can be established and required changes can be standardized and managed.

Objectives

The continuous improvement plan has following objectives:

  • To identify if there are wastages in the construction processes and make a plan to eliminate the same
  • Analyse current facilities to come up with a plan for value addition
  • Explain the process of continuous improvement and apply the steps to the case of the construction project
 

Responsible Group

The continuous improvement project would include some considerations for planning the responsible team for executing the plan. These considerations include complexity of issues, need for expertise, time requirement, functional areas, and complexity of implementation. A team leader would be involved in managing the entire team as a coordinator who would take information from all the members of the team during the improvement process. The team leader would have certain roles including:

  • Serve as primary coordinator between the project team and sponsor
  • Coordinating the logistics in teams
  • Plan and evaluate meetings with the facilitator
  • Keep the record of all activities carried out the by the team
  • Provide information to all the team members that is required for continuous improvement

The team facilitator would have following job responsibilities on the project:

  • Providing assistance to the team leader in meetings
  • Coach the members of the team on the improvement processes
  • Facilitate the group dynamics to enhance productivity
  • Get advisors from outside if required(CCME, 2007)

Members for the continuous improvement team would be selected on the basis of the following criteria:

  • Ability to attend all the team meetings
  • Make decisions on the basis of facts and data
  • Have an open mind for learning methods of process improvements
  • Be committed to the continuous improvement
  • Follow the rules set by the project team
  • Independent from each other in making improvements
  • Interested in improving processes
  • Have the knowledge about all the processes to be improved
  • One has to be motivated to bring the process improvements
  • Who are involved in the entire process of improvement from beginning till end(The Pennsylvania State University , 2005)

Tasks and activities

The continuous improvement plan would have some steps followed through the planning and implementation of continuous improvement for the construction project. They include:

  • Obtaining commitment from the CEO of the company to get buy-in for continuous improvement
  • Educate the top management about continuous improvement concepts such as Deming’s cycle
  • Create a steering committee to have a monitoring and control over the construction project continuous improvement
  • Identify vision, mission and guiding statements
  • Prepare a workflow of the existing processes in the project
  • Conduct surveys of people including owner, customer and employees
  • Provide training to project team on continuous improvement
  • Establish standards for quality improvement for teams
  • Implement process improvement
  • Use continuous improvement tools to make improvements.
 

The process can be divided into three major stages including

Preparation: In the preparation phase, organization identifies a vision for continuous improvement and identifies goals. Present status of the company would be studied and desired state in the future would be analyzed to understand that gap between current and future states. Based on the requirements for improvement, managers would be prepared for leading the activities and tasks. The project would require development of right infrastructure to carry out the activities for continuous development. People responsible for managing processes would be identified.

Launch: In this phase, the activities planned for improvement would be carried out and the resulting performance of the company operations would be measured. The phase involves communication of strategies and tools for improvement with all those involved such that a collective understanding of the vision for improvement would be obtained. Good practices for improvement would be identified by involving the staff and pilot processes would be implemented for improvement. The pilot phase would lead to a learning which can be used for the actual implementation at a later stage in execution of the continuous improvement plan (HAMID, 2015).

Implementation phase: In this stage, the scope of the improvement activities is increased as decisions can be made based on the measurements obtained from the pilot stage. At this stage, it is very important that processes are aligned and people are managed well. Staffs that contribute to the continuous improvement can be rewarded to keep the motivation on. At this stage, even stakeholders are involved to ensure that expected benefits are achieved from the execution of the continuous improvement plan (Wallace, et al., 1991).

Opportunities for Improvement

The opportunities for improvement need to be identified for all the processes involved in the construction project. This would involve identification of the problems on the project such as:

  • The sequence of the execution of the construction plan may be explored to identify if sufficient resources or input elements are present before the actual construction would begin. If it is not the case then an improvement may be required by adding provisions before construction began
  • The construction plan may cause high production lead times that can be due to wait time, cycle time, work-in-progress time wastage which can be reduced by applying lean tools for identification and elimination of wastages on the project(GRAHAM Group, 2010)
  • The pace of the production may not be clearly defined which can improved with proper identification of activities and desired durations by the management before execution
  • The monitoring on the project progress may not be very close which can lead to poor control of production. A reliable monitoring technique maybe introduced for improvement
  • The pace of the production can be changed with hiring or releasing resources. In case of decline in the number of resources, higher compensation to others can be done to offset the loss of labour count.
  • The project needs deliveries of materials to be made before the actual construction began and thus, it is important that the cycle time for material procurement and delivery must be less
  • Inspections are required mostly for assessing project progress but at the same time it adds to the lead time. Thus, inspection time must be reduced as a measure for improvement(Vivan, et al., 2016).

Certain improvement strategies can be suggested for the construction project for various construction project phases including deigning, procurement, planning and construction such as:

  • Principles of waste reduction can be applied in the deigning stage to eliminate waste, improve design efficiency, and enhance flexibility. These principles include designing for reuse, off-site construction, material optimization, waste-efficient procurement design, and designing for deconstruction and flexibility.
  • For improving the ordering accuracy in procurement, the supplies can be taken from nearby vendors such that order can be placed close to the actual utilization of materials for construction
  • Reusable packing can be used by suppliers of the construction materials.
  • If the sub-contractors are involved in early processes of construction project, communication can be improved.
  • Potential opportunities where waste can be reduced may be identified and steps may be taken for waste reduction such as setting of surplus targets for waste reduction, use of take-back schemes for wasted material, use of re-usable packing and JIT for procurement and inventory management.

Communication

The communication on the continuous improvement would be managed through the formal procedures where the opportunities identified would be communicated to the change management team which would be followed by a meeting between team members and project manager. In this, meeting, a plan would be formulated for bring the required changes in the organization units for improvement of its processes. Based on this improvement plan, activities would be planned to carry out for the improvement of the old methods by adopting critical chain methodology. Regular communicating would also be made between different team members on improvement program using calls and emails. Stakeholders would also be involved on the project through meetings and emails at the time of requirement development, project outcomes assessment, and acceptance of the outcome of the continuous improvement (Achtmeyer, 2008).

Monitoring Progress

Continuous improvement tools can be used for monitoring the progress of the project and assess if the improvement has been made as per expectations. These include:

Histograms:  Histograms can depict frequencies of events or actions. These events could be those hindering the progress of the construction or adding wastages in terms of time or cost such as delays, waiting time and additional costs beyond allotment (Meiling, 2010).

Cause and Effect Diagram: Factor that contributes to problems can be identified using cause and effect diagram. The cause and effect diagram would be prepared for the whole construction process as it progresses such that whenever there are problems occurring on the project, appropriate cause can be easily identified and worked upon

Check Sheets: Check sheet can be used for collecting data related to problems (AISWARYA.K.LALAJI & SIVAGAMI.M, 2014).

Pareto Diagrams: Pareto’s rule can be used for illustrating the priorities of various problems. As per the rule, there would be 80% of the problems that would be contributed by 20% of the factors.

Scatter Diagram: Scatter diagrams can be used for displaying relationships between the cause and effect of problems

Flowcharts: Flowcharts can provide visual representations of the project activities, stages and decisions related to products or services of the organization (Ashworth, et al., 2013)

Budget and Resource Implications

For establishing control and reputing structure for the business units through critical chain methodology, both resources and budget would be required. The critical chain plan can be made based on the estimates of the probability of accomplishment of the tasks. To develop a budget that keeps the highest margin for safety and profits of the practices, cost element and resources have to be adjusted. If the deployment of critical chain methodology on projects needs more costs and effort then the schedules would be adjusted based on the need for increases duration that would result from expansion of the scope. A baseline would be created for the determination of need for costs and efforts as per the project buffer time. Adjustments can be made between the time required for impletion and the budget to be allotted (CMS, 2005).

Resources can be alternatively utilized on multiple projects depending on the demand of customers. However, this multitasking of resources can result into reduction of the throughput of the whole organization. When resources would migrate from one project to another, intermittent spurts would be caused. This would result into change in the date of completion of the project (Hermansson & Karlsson, 2016).

 

Risk Prevention Methods

While managing continuous improvement in the organization, risks have to be managed by the organization as risks can occur at various stages of continuous improvement. A strong risks management culture has to be created in the organization going through process improvement. This would involve defining of purpose and values of improvement, adoption of the improvement methods, creating a learning organization that takes lessons from improvement outcomes, and building communication mechanism that allow communication and management of risks. There can be three stages of the risk culture including building of cultural awareness for risk management, changing the organizational culture as per the requirement of risk management, and refining the culture to make improvements thru integrating risk related lessons in the culture, holding people accountable for the risks, and refining risk measurement processes to reflect upon the changes in the business strategies (ACHS, 2013).

Conclusions

This report was prepared to explore the case of MRC that is planning to construct a footpath in the Quota Park. The company has released a tender to seek construction contractors. In response to the tender, the company is expecting a construction plan and a continuous improvement plan for the construction project.   The report involved preparation of the continuous implement plan that is presented covering essential sections of the plan including responsible groups, tasks and activities, opportunities for improvement, monitoring progress, communication, sustainable improvements, budget and resource implications, and risk prevention methods

 

References

ACHS, 2013. RISK MANAGEMENT & QUALITY IMPROVEMENT HANDBOOK, s.l.: EQuIPNational .

Achtmeyer, W. F., 2008. Continuous Process Improvement at Deere & Company, s.l.: Tuck School of Business.

AISWARYA.K.LALAJI & SIVAGAMI.M, 2014. TOTAL QUALITY MANAGEMENT PRACTICES IN CONSTRUCTION COMPANIES (KERALA). INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF CIVIL ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY (IJCIET) , 5(12), pp. 230-234 .

Ashworth, M., Ahmed, S. M., Azhar, S. & Castillo, M., 2013. Measurement of Construction Processes for Continuous Improvement, Miami: Florida International University.

CCME, 2007. GUIDANCE DOCUMENT on CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT (CI) and KEEPING-CLEAN-AREAS-CLEAN (KCAC) , s.l.: Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment .

CHAKOUR, P. & MAZZOTTI, P., 2015. Construction Management Transformed by the Critical Chain Method. [Online]
Available at: https://www.tocico.org/mpage/Chakour9_7IND
[Accessed 10 May 2017].

CMS, 2005. Continuous Business Improvement Plan, s.l.: Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools .

GRAHAM Group, 2010. Demonstrating continuous improvement in reducing construction waste, s.l.: GRAHAM Group.

HAMID, H. B., 2015. CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT CSF FRAMEWORK FOR ASSESSING CI MATURITY IN ISO AND NON-ISO CERTIFIED CONSTRUCTION CONTRACTING ORGANIZATIONS, s.l.: Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia.

Hermansson, M. & Karlsson, M., 2016. Replacing discontinuous change with continuous improvement , Gothenburg, Sweden: CHALMERS UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY.

Lee, D. H., Song, Y. W. & Choi, Y. K., 2007. CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT PLAN OF BUSINESS PROCESS IN CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, Seoul, Korea: Soongsil University.

Meiling, J., 2010. Continuous Improvement and Experience Feedback in off-site Construction: Timber-framed Module Prefabrication, s.l.: Luleå University of Technology.

Reference for Business, 2000. Lucent Technologies Inc. - Company Profile, Information, Business Description, History, Background Information on Lucent Technologies Inc., Murray Hill, New Jersey: Lucent Technologies.

The Pennsylvania State University , 2005. Leading for Continuous Improvement, s.l.: Innovation Insights.

Vivan, A. L., Ortiz, F. A. H. & Paliari, J. C., 2016. Model for kaizen project development for the construction industry. Gest. Prod., São Carlos, 23(2), pp. 333-349.

Wallace, G. W., Hybert, P. R. & Knicker-McCully, T., 1991. Continuous Improvement and Training , s.l.: Society of Manufacturing Engineers

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