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Facilitate Continuous Improvements

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Questions:

Part A: Required skills

The following skills are required for this unit of competency:

• Communication skills to communicate opportunities for improvement

• Learning skills to coach and mentor staff, using a range of methods to cater for different learning styles

• Innovation and lateral thinking skills to design better ways for achieving work outcomes
 
• Planning skills to establish and monitor systems and process for continuous improvement

• Teamwork and leadership skills to gain the confidence and trust of others

You need to demonstrate your ability to apply these skills in your work. The following list provides some strategies you might use to demonstrate your competence in these required skill areas.

• Respond to case studies and scenarios

• Provide examples of written reports

• Respond to direct questions

• Provide portfolios of evidence and third-party workplace reports of your on-the-job performance to show evidence of planning, coaching or mentoring, teamwork and innovations you have suggested

• Be observed participating in presentations

• Respond to oral or written questions to assess knowledge of quality systems
 
• Provide examples of strategies developed to ensure that team members are actively encouraged and supported to participate in decision-making processes. and to assume responsibility and exercise initiative

• Provide examples of how customer service strategies were communicated to all stakeholders

• Provide documentation that outlines work team performance

Part B: Case study

Read the case study, then answer the questions that follow.

Case study

Sally Evans was recently promoted to the position of sales manager in charge of nine sales representatives and three account managers. As an account manager before her promotion, she was pretty much left to her own devices, and so long as her key accounts remained happy and were continuing to spend with the organisation, her manager appeared satisfied.

In stepping into her role as manager, Sally quickly realises that her previous manager did not utilise any formal performance planning or monitoring tools. As an extremely organised and structured person, Sally's first action is to set up a spreadsheet for each member of her team showing their sales to date against their budgeted sales figures. To encourage an open and transparent communication process amongst team members, Sally has designed each spreadsheet with a link to a team spreadsheet in which all team members can evaluate their performance against others in the team.

In the days that follow, Sally locates a list of debtor statements from key customers which reveals that many of these accounts are 90 days in arrears. This is 60 days longer than the company policy of 30 days. As the new manager, she realises that it will be her responsibility to get these outstanding debts paid and to ensure that debts are not allowed to extend beyond the recommended timeframe in the future.

1. What risks did Sally's predecessor take in not setting up any planning and monitoring systems?

2. Evaluate the approach taken by Sally to monitor her team performance. What would you suggest Sally do differently?

3. How would you suggest Sally communicate the adjustments she has made with her team and other relevant stakeholders including the clients who have accounts in arrears?

4. Explain how Sally showed her innovation and lateral thinking skills when designing better ways for achieving work outcomes.

Part C: Case study

Read the case study, then answer the questions that follow.

Case study

Jasper is a new manager for an outlet that sells new cars and that also provides follow-up service and support for customers. Given that the industry is extremely competitive it is important that he and his various teams take every opportunity to improve the services they deliver. The business consists of the following areas:

• New car sales

• Financing department

• After-sales services including customer support line

• Service department

• Purchasing department (includes buying of parts and materials such as oils, cleaning materials etc)

In order to identify areas for improvement Jasper initiates a range of activities to obtain information that he can include in the planning he undertakes with his teams. These activities include customer surveys, follow-up calls and analysis of sales data.

Improvements subsequently identified include:

•Providing better financing rates

• Sourcing more suppliers for parts and materials

• Changing the approach to selling techniques for sales people

• Introducing a 'collect and return service' for business people and business cars

• Introducing a free shuttle bus to the nearest shopping centre and pick¬ups for people bringing in their cars for service

The improvements must now be communicated to the team and documented in future planning documents. Jasper realises he needs better systems to document work performance and record information on a regular basis to inform continuous improvement.

1. What other strategies could Jasper have used to monitor operational progress and identify where improvements could be made?

2. Select one of the improvements. Prepare a communication strategy that will inform the team of the improvement to be implemented. Include as many appropriate options as you consider necessary. Use lateral thinking skills to develop interesting ways to let the team know about the outcome of the research.

3. Using the improvement you selected in question 2, write (briefly) what you would include in:

• the company's business plan

• the team's operational plan

• an individual team member's work plan.

4. What systems could Jasper use in the future to help him regularly:

• document work performance

• report on successes, opportunities and problems

• record information that could be useful for continuous improvement?

Include the performance variables that will be measured in each system or process.

Part D: Required knowledge

1. a) In your own words, describe what a quality system is and its role in maintaining continuous improvement.

b) Select a continuous improvement process or model an organisation or team could implement. Describe how you would use it to increase productivity and customer satisfaction, and reduce costs.

2. Research two continuous improvement models or quality systems relevant to your organisation. Describe:

• the models/systems

• why you selected each model/system
 
• how each model/system can be used by your organisation to facilitate continuous improvement.

3. a) In your own words explain the principles of sustainability.

b) Provide examples of two changes and describe what the organisation might do to ensure that the change complies with sustainability requirements.

4. Select three different types of knowledge management systems from those discussed in this workbook and explain how they can assist an organisation in its continuous improvement processes.

5. Explain how the DMAIC methodology (define, measure, analyse, improve and control) can be used to monitor customer service.

6. Carry out the following project to devise strategies and approaches to improve work outcomes or organisational functioning. Ensure you undertake each of the activities below and provide any supporting documentation as evidence.

Before the project

a) Use a process that encourages participation with your team members to identify the focus of your continuous improvement activities.

b) What are the goals of your continuous improvement initiative?

c) Make a list of stakeholders who will need to be kept informed regarding continuous improvement activities. What communication methods will you use for each group of stakeholders?

d) How will you use mentoring and coaching processes to ensure that individuals and teams are able to implement and support the organisation's continuous improvement processes?

During the project

e) Explain the methods you will use to monitor operational progress and customer service and identify areas for improvement. Collate the results of your continuous improvement activities using these methods and provide as evidence.

f) Describe two adjustments you have made in the course of carrying out your improvement initiatives. How have you communicated these adjustments to the relevant stakeholders?

After the project

g) Communicate the outcomes of your continuous improvement efforts to stakeholders and attach a copy of this communication as evidence.

h) Debrief team members on your continuous improvement efforts and identify any other opportunities for further improvement.

i) Using this information, create a plan for future continuous improvement efforts.

Part E: Present your portfolio

Through the completion of the practice tasks and assessment activities in this workbook, you have now gathered a variety of documents, reports and other documentation relevant to this competency.

 

Answers:

Assessment Activity 1

Part A: Theory Review and Application

1.  Strategies

a. Participate in making decision: The team members will be provided respect and recognition for their performance and acknowledging their effort. For instance, if team member attain the given target and are acknowledged then they can contribute higher value to the organizational growth.

 
b. Assume Responsibility: The team member can be provided responsibility of handling new employees and guiding them. This will help in knowing the capability and skills of team members in directing the new ones and helping them out.
 
c. Show Initiative: The opinions and ideas have to be welcomed from the team members. The team members can provide details about efficient and inefficient employees on the basis of their performance and also any shortage of equipment in the production can be well delivered by team members.
 
Skills of Manager
 
Critical Thinking Skills: The critical thinking will help in providing effective decision to the organization in by having deep understanding of any flaws which may be present in processes. The manager can be provided complex task which may be impossible for others to solve it.

Communication Skill: The communication will help in building relationship with senior management and employees. Therefore, in order to have effective communication the manager will have to make people aware about organisational goal and right feedback has to be provided to seniors about employees’ performance (Reddy and Dr. S. Krishnaiah, 2012).

Collaboration Skill: The manager can build rapport and fill the gap among employees and thus higher benefit can be gained from them. The manager will have to remain engage with employees most of the time to enforce collaboration between them (Machado and Diggines, 2012).

3. Role of quality system

The quality system helps in organisation in becoming a feasible place to work in. The systems are useful in improving organisational effectiveness such as customer service, sales, etc. Moreover, quality system is effective in measuring the performance and consistency is developed within the processes that minimises the error. The continuous improvement model is effective in reviewing and monitoring the operational process so that any error can be know and best step can be taken towards it. Toyota uses Total Quality Management System by aligning all their process people, resources, internal controls and goals.

4. Need for sustainability and sustainability practice

a. The sustainability helps in minimizing the wastage for better future development. For instance, if Coca Cola waste large percentage of water then in future there can be huge scarcity of water (Lazo-Flores, 2012).

b. Sustainability practice can be employed in the production department in order to have higher production with less usage of resources. In product packaging section sustainability practice can be enforced (Servaes et al., 2012).

5. Knowledge management system

a. The KMS is effective in reducing costs, improving services and products, delivering potential to grow and expand and increasing profitability of organisation. Moreover, it helps in dissemination of knowledge (Matayong and Kamil Mahmood, 2013).

b. The organisation will have to follow the process of knowledge management system such as application, creation, sharing and structuring. Moreover, the required stuff has to be collected and codified and then knowledge or experience personnel have to be associated. Apart from that, staff member has to communicate the idea with project manager and project manager will converse with the senior management of the company (Shibu, 2012).

6. Improving customer service

a. A meeting will be conducted with team members to talk about their performance. Some team member will be allowed to book the order of customers and provide details about the products and other member will be involved in delivering the product whereas some may be involved in providing detail about the offers or benefits on particular products (Lucas, 2012).

b. A conference or meeting can be called for making team members about the plan. Moreover, the leader of each team will make ensure about the planned improvements.

c.

Plan

Activity

Timeframe

Maximising Abilities

Team member will be called for coaching session and letting them know their weakness and strengths

1 week

Improving Best Practices

A standard will be set. In one month team member has to earn 60 points on their performance

4 week

Accelerating Progress

Target will be set to 100 points in 1 weeks to provide higher performance

1 week

Emphasising strengths

The strengths of team member will be used for higher production and they will put in front for effective customer service

6 weeks

 

 


Part B: Case Study

1. The employees will be informed about developed options. The high skilled employees will be called for a meeting first to let them know about the move of the company and discussing the brief role and responsibility of the employees. In the next part, low performing employees will be informed that if they continue with poor performance till next month then they will be fired due to generating higher benefit from options. The diversification will be viable for increasing sales and income.

2. The continuous improvement activities will be initiated by engaging team members and managers of the company. The initiative will be communicated through circulating official document via mail to the stakeholders.
 
3.
 

Mentoring Component

Description

Contact Method

Group Mentoring

Monthly meeting among team members and mentors

Conference Call

Speed Mentoring

1 hour group meeting with the expert

Face to face

Virtual mentoring

Online communication where the mentor/expert will answer team member questions.

On-Line Contact


1. The sustainability practice can be applied in the production of furniture and acquirement of raw materials. Therefore, it will help in decreasing the costs and developing effective image in the market. Moreover, the sustainability practice in service will be useful in gaining competitive edge (Machado and Diggines, 2012).

2. The Groupware Knowledge management system can be useful in facilitating collaboration among employees. Therefore, the employees can contribute more towards the structured options for enhancing organisation effectiveness.

Assessment Activity 2

Part A: Theory Review and application

1. Measuring performance: It will be useful to know whether the organisation is able to attain the expected productivity or not. The employees in order to reach to the expected performance level may lose their efficiency level and it can affect their productivity (Charan, 2012).
 
Comparing past and current productivity: It will be effective in understanding the level of production achieved in current year in comparison to past year. If comparison is made and company finds short then it can upset the company and their employees (Kelly, 2012).

2. The adjustment can be made into the production department by engaging highly efficient employees in place of less productive employees to gain higher productivity with minimum usage of resources. The changes will be communicated through meeting or placing information on the notice board.

3. The sound communication skill will help in building strong and effective bonding with the employees. Therefore, the staff can account changes without any big query or conflict. The staff will obey the manager order due to his/her sound nature and good rapport with staff (Reddy and Dr. S. Krishnaiah, 2012).

Part B: Case Study

1. The predecessor of Sally did not prepare any spreadsheet for tracking sales and budget figures. Moreover, predecessor did not take in account any performance management system for measuring the employees’ performance.

2. Sally has used a monitoring tool such as spreadsheet to monitor the performance of team. The preparation of spreadsheet for recoding the sales and productivity of employees was different.

3. Sally adopted formal meeting with the team members to make them aware about the adjustments she has made. On the other hand, Sally would have circulated email to stakeholders about the adjustments so that they can have faith on the company.

3. When Sally was appointed as sales manager, she first tried to analyse the performance of previous manager and what he has done. Therefore, after analysing, she adopted monitoring tool and performance planning so that activities can be organised. Further, she took the responsibility to clear the debts on time.
 

Assessment Activity 3

Part A: Theory Review and Application

1. Monthly Meeting: The management will conduct meeting in a month to improve their efforts. This method will let know the performance of employees and management talk whether their performance has improved or not.

Placing month productivity level: It will help in making employees aware about the level of production they have generated in a month. This method will make team members to improve their efficiency level.

2. The recording process will help by providing information about gaps in the performance and productivity so that employees can improve their performance.

3. The system in place will be effective in gaining higher performance with least usage of energy and employees can perform in better way.

a. The work performance will be measured by adopting appraisal technique such as 360 degree.

b. The report on performance will be delivered to top management.

c. The performance information will be stored in organisation database.

4. The less association among employees in helping each other was an issue in project. The team has learned how to develop a plan before carrying a project and reviewing the performance after some interval. The team member possessing similar knowledge and skill will be put in one team. On the other hand, the acquiring of resources has to be done after proper planning and understanding the need of project. ect.

 

Part B: Case Study

1. Jasper could have introduced quality management system in the company to measure the effectiveness of employees whether they are providing required and beneficial service to customers or not. Moreover, the company can introduce a slight low rate for the existing customers on new cars so that they can do not turn up to other outlet for cars. Further, Jasper can provide gift coupons on each car service to customers.

2. The sourcing of parts and materials from more suppliers can be effective for the company in gaining required material on right as it will help in providing timely service to the customers. The team will be informed through meeting and conference about the improvement strategy. The meeting and conference will be effective to inform whole employees in one time. The company can provide a notice to each employee mentioning about the proposed improvement and its long term benefit.

3. a. In the business plan of the company the name of the suppliers will be mentioned and the cost of each supplier will be outlined.

b. In operational plan, the process of using and warehousing the parts and materials of cars will be mentioned.

c. The specific role and time line will be mentioned to complete the task in the work plan.

4. Document work performance:The work performance has to be measured on regular interval, say one month.

Report on success, opportunities and problems: Every month report has to be prepared on the performance of company.

Record information: A spreadsheet has to be prepared for recoding the data and using it at some point of time.
 

Final Assessment

Part A: Required Skills

The case study of Quality Stock Enterprise, Sally Evans and Jasper were effectively communicated which helped in understanding their situation and what the step has been followed to solve their case. In Quality Stock Enterprise, new strategies have been formed such as manufacturing offshore, product diversification, etc. In Sally Evan case, she made structured plan such as preparing spreadsheet, ensuring debtor of collection, etc. In Jasper case, company made improvement plan such as sourcing more suppliers for higher benefit.

The quality system is effectively responded that helps in understanding the probable knowledge that can be applied in the different situations. On the other hand, team member were provided flexible environment and freedom to express their views. Further, in case of customer service, a mail was sent to each stakeholder about the strategies. Moreover, for work team performance, performance appraisal method was used and measurement technique was employed.
Part B: Required Knowledge
 
1. a. A quality system is an acquirement of process and procedure of business. Its role is to attain the requirements of customers.

b. The continuous improvement process will be identification, planning, execution and reviewing. It will be used by engaging experienced and skilled employees.

2. The Agile model and Lean method can be used. Agile model helps in executing the plan in appropriate manner whereas Lean method is helpful in understanding the production process.

3. a. The sustainability principle is based on a thought that communities and people are composed of environmental, social and economic systems.

b. The organisations should decrease the excess use of resources such as water or energy. Moreover, organisation has to investment in green technology.

4. Groupware, Decision support system and Document Management system. These can help in making effective decision and in right time.

5. The DMAIC is helpful in enhancing the quality and decreasing the error in any operational process.
 
 
 

6. Before Project

a. Goals and plan will be set for the team members.

b. The goals will be improving performance by 30% each month

c. The investor, owner, banks, employees and suppliers. The e-mail will be used

d. The mentoring and coaching process will be used by engaging an experience and expert trainer.

During the project

e. A performance measurement technique such Total Quality Management and Graphic Rating Scale  will be used. The contract trainer will be included who will provide details about improvement. Professional Development of staff will be regularly checked to know their efficiency and effectiveness.

f. The experienced trainer has been hired and new technology has been adopted. The stakeholders have been communicated through annual general meeting.

After the project

g. The employee has achieved objective up to 80%. The level of wastage has reduced to 65%. The production has increased to 70%.

h. The team members have performed exceptionally well which help in organizing the unit of employees together. The percentage of wastage in the production department has to be further reduced.
 
i.

Plan

 

Timeframe

Quality in Production

60 days

Employee Training

30 days

Receiving Raw materials

15 days

Hiring Team

30 days

Accomplishing Objective

6 months


Part C: Portfolio

Planning

CEO, Manager

Hiring Employees

HR Manager

Monitoring Performance

Trainer by using performance appraisal technique

Decreasing Wastage

Following principles of sustainability

 

 

References

Charan, P. (2012). Supply chain performance issues in an automobile company: a SAPâ€ÂLAP analysis. Measuring Business Excellence, 16(1), pp.67-86.

Kelly, C. (2012). Measuring the Performance of Partnerships: Why, What, How, When?. Geography Compass, 6(3), pp.149-162.

Lazo-Flores, T. (2012). Grading Green: Strands of Sustainability Theory and Practice in Interior Design Courses. Sustainability: The Journal of Record, 5(5), pp.323-330.

Lucas, R. (2012). Customer service. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Machado, R. and Diggines, C. (2012). Customer service. Lansdowne, South Africa: Juta.

Matayong, S. and Kamil Mahmood, A. (2013). The review of approaches to knowledge management system studies. Journal of Knowledge Management, 17(3), pp.472-490.

Reddy, B. and Dr. S. Krishnaiah, D. (2012). Non Verbal Communication Cues: an Urgent Required Skill for Achieving Effective Communication. IJSR, 2(11), pp.212-213.

Servaes, J., Polk, E., Shi, S., Reilly, D. and Yakupitijage, T. (2012). Sustainability testing for development projects. Development in Practice, 22(1), pp.18-30.

Shibu, K. (2012). Knowledge Management and Information System: Strategies for Growing Organizations. Journal of Knowledge & Communication Management, 2(1), p.1.

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