We asked Critical Minds, a project consultancy company specialized in reducing lead time of projects within the shipbuilding industry, to discuss the topic of ‘chain thinkers’.
As Critical Minds we help companies to reduce their lead time, in our last post we explained how you can reduce your project lead time by the use of an improvement cycle. However, what we often experience is that you are interdependent on the rest of the chain of work. Even if you are working for the yard directly, building a yacht is an exercise including multiple parties.
This raises the question until where it makes sense to only focus on the optimisation and lead time of your own processes. Imagine your painting process inside the areas of the yacht. It is probably most efficient to spray the whole room in once, so you wait until all work which could damage your paint afterwards is done. However, other parties cannot start until you have done the paint job. Question here; if we zoom out towards project level. Are the gains of one paint job bigger than the time it costs the project?
The answer to the question cannot be too difficult, it is a sum of money and time. However, the struggles kick in when we realize that the earnings of that sum might not be spread equally between all links of the chain. So, do we dare to choose for the best outcome for the complete chain and trust that we as a chain become better?
Results are not only shorter lead time, but also a long term strong position of your chain within the market. Do you dare to start chain thinking?
We realize that it might be a major change for your company and it might feel like you could never reach that within your chain. However, we believe that you can start with small steps to already achieve some of the ‘chain thinking gains’. Ever joined a lean planning session by Critical Minds?