In a recent blog post, Eric Collet wrote about the challenges that come with growth and success as a business. Challenges from growth and success make operational excellence seem like a pipe-dream when you’re dealing with the complexities of a growing business, client’s demands, new products, etc. Most leaders connect with the Run-Improve-Grow vision of an autonomous front line focused on the daily RUN, middle management primarily focused on how to IMPROVE processes, and an executive team focused on how to GROW the business. But many leaders can also feel like they are stuck or stalled on that path to excellence and are even stumped about where to start and what to do in order to get on track. What is a Run-Improve-Grow Roadmap and how is it built?
Picture a Run-Improve-Grow Roadmap as a clear path to a continuous improvement system within your organization where speed of change is high and ahead of the needs of your business; it’s the detailed dominoes properly aligned to topple and move your processes forward enabling more to fall with building momentum as your organization gains optimization and clarity.
In the development of the Run-Improve-Grow Roadmap, there are two high-level steps: what to do, and the right sequence to do it. The first step focuses on defining the gaps, the difference between where you are (current state) and where you need to be for your vision and strategy (future state) and identifies the content of the solutions. These solution components can be impacted by your organization’s strategy, current team capabilities, timeframe of desired results and current financial and operational performance. Below are two pie charts showing the weighted R-I-G Roadmap content of two mid-sized manufacturers. The charts show the organizations’ 5 areas of concentration weighted by need of improvement: Operations & Process Improvement, ERP Optimization, Custom Application/Solution Development, Education, and Talent Development/Recruiting. As you’ll see, even though the two organizations have very different teams, processes, and systems, the high-level components of the Run-Improve-Grow solution are somewhat similar.
The second step is to sequence and plan the solutions in a way to maximize the impact. The key to determining what to focus on first lies in defining what that “impact” means. Many continuous improvement or lean programs prioritize activities by current pain, ease of implementation, or even logically by financial effect. One of the key components of the R-I-G Roadmap’s success is sequencing the solutions by impact vs. difficulty, with the primary definition of impact being Run-Improve-Grow time allocation: focus first on the solution components that will free up your front line leaders’ time through simplification, skill development, and behavior modelling. These initiatives will build the confidence of your team and the momentum of the improvements exponentially.
Two Real-World Examples of Run-Improve-Grow Roadmaps
Company #1 – Batch Chemical Manufacturing and Distribution Company
This Chemical Manufacturer’s RIG Roadmap outlined in the Gantt chart below started with cultural momentum. This improved alignment ensuing front line empowerment was combined with the recruiting and hiring of a long-needed front line leadership position. With the team functioning at a higher level, significant work in ERP optimization was later attacked which was critical to the growth of the company in the next few years.
Company #2 – Metalworking, Fabrication, and Assembly Company
This Fabricator’s R-I-G Roadmap started by addressing some huge tool gaps. In contrast to the Chemical Manufacturer, technology was the most impactful initiative in this roadmap and was therefore tackled first. The ERP system needed a great deal of work in order to be able to support the operational improvement efforts that were needed. In a great example of parallel pathing, leadership education and the hiring/onboarding of a key operations executive were executed simultaneously with the ERP optimization. All three initiatives combined for a turbo-charged operational process improvement project.
Your R-I-G Roadmap may be similar to the facilities outlined here, or you may have other challenges that need addressed. The key to success is identifying the challenges and taking the necessary steps to implement change based on their impact.
Post By Adam Snyder: Adam specializes in helping organizations undergo cultural and process changes that lead to growth. To learn more about the Run-Improve-Grow Roadmap, contact Adam at ASnyder@definitypartners.com.