improvement methodology


Whether you have chosen TPM, lean, EFQM, 6 Sigma or another method, you need to ensure it supports the achievement of your operational targets and your strategic goals.

But each organisation has finite resources in terms of the people, time and money that can be dedicated to achieve these. Typically we find that 99% of a managers’ time is spent dealing with items on the operational side, leaving the strategic decisions and improvement programme as bolt on or additional activities.

The secret to balancing all of these demands is to not overburden the organisation with numerous different plans and to ensure that there is no conflict between managing daily business, achieving the vital few stretch goals and introducing an improvement programme.

To do this you need to carefully consider and then merge the review systems used to manage these aspects of your business. This then gives you the framework to position your chosen improvement methodology and maximise the benefits.

At Industry Forum we developed what we call the Integration Model that has helped organisations to do just this. Click here for an overview of the Integration Model.

Central to the Integration Model are:

  • Having performance measures for both operational and strategic management in one place
  • An effective steering and governance system

Operational and strategic performance measures in one place

The best way of doing this is to set up visual communication boards within the organisation and use them for reporting daily, weekly and monthly progress. We usually place these at plant, area and team level. The plant board is often called the Obeya and is developed over time to incorporate these key features:

  • The annual plan and daily performance measures, X-Matrix and SQCD in this example
  • Current performance vs. targets for both sets of information
  • Demonstrated links between the annual policy targets and daily measures
  • Action plans for gaps between actual and target performance
  • A method to limit the number of open actions

This Obeya schematic shows the maximum number of corrective actions and activity trackers, A3s, allowed to be open at any one time.



The link between operational and strategic targets and the number of ongoing actions are critical. If there is no link or there are too many open actions then your resources will be swamped and few goals will be achieved.

Effective steering and governance

This encompasses the rules that state who meets, when, at what frequency, what they do at each meeting and what the expected outputs are. In order to eliminate duplication and other forms of waste your steering and governance system should be designed to use joint resources, people and physical report formats.

Now that the operational and strategic goals are linked you are in an excellent position to embed your chosen improvement methodology. Do this by using direct references to the tools and techniques to be deployed on the plans and action trackers on the visual management boards.

Planning, deployment and review of your improvement programme becomes part of the daily, weekly and monthly reporting structure. Conducting specific improvement activities becomes the way to achieve operational and strategic targets.

Have you benefited from using a system like this? Let me know how you have got on.