How to establish effective DMSs for optimal productivity

Establishing an effective daily management system (DMS) is a key step in reconfiguring your operations for optimal productivity, in the aftermath of COVID-19 and beyond, as your company adapts to the new world of work. CCi Senior Business Partner and DMS expert David Rogers shared the following insights with us in a recent interview, with additional insights provided by Mary Williamson, VP of Operations – Americas, CCi.

 

Why are DMSs important? 

Daily Management Systems (DMSs) - a set of standard procedures that provide the structure teams need to evaluate and continuously improve their day-to-day work - are a key part of the ‘Run’ infrastructure required to build and maintain a world-class operation and organization.

Appropriate set-up is crucial to achieving productivity and alignment throughout the tiers of any organization. DMSs provide the day-to-day vehicle to deliver the balanced scorecard with insights from the last 24 hours (or shift). They also ensure efficient planning and execution of the next 24 hours (or shift) by the respective departments and tiers of the business.

The DMS supports the rapid detection of performance issues and quick correction of those issues through structured problem-solving. Another key output of the DMS is the identification of additional improvement opportunities that can be addressed through the ‘Improve’ infrastructure.  

What are the benefits of an effective DMS? 

An effective DMS provides many tangible and intangible benefits, some of which are listed below:

Organizational alignment: A company’s balanced scorecard can be deployed effectively throughout the organization, allowing each level and each function to align their KPIs and targets to achieve the balanced scorecard requirements.

Teamwork: Each function (department) and each level (tier) has the opportunity to demonstrate and benefit from the principles of teamwork through the daily and shift DMS forums. Teamwork is generally understood as the willingness of a group of people to work together to achieve a common aim. The DMS forum provides the common aims through the agreed KPIs, targets, behaviors and review process.

Leadership: Leaders are given a forum, and opportunity, to develop and role model key leadership behaviors and disciplines. Leaders can be coached and also coach others based on their observed effectiveness and contributions demonstrated in the daily operations review meeting.

Focus: There are multiple competing priorities and complexities in an operational environment. Priorities can often be confused by various individuals in the workplace. These individuals may have high levels of influence and it can often be the case that influential people can steer the teams to focus on the wrong things. Collectively deciding and visually managing departmental KPIs in a DMS system, based on the organization’s balanced scorecard, will ensure that the right things are being measured the right way by the right people.

 

Collectively deciding and visually managing departmental KPIs in a DMS system, based on the organization’s balanced scorecard, will ensure that the right things are being measured the right way by the right people.

 

Efficiency: It is often the case that, prior to an effective DMS, multiple individual and small group conversations are required to establish the shift or daily facts of performance, and the various issues impeding the delivery of KPI targets. This is time-consuming and often affects mostly resources who need to be focusing on performance (not reporting), such as team leaders, supervisors and shift managers. The DMS allows these key positions to get the support they need from a single meeting, and it also allows them to hold those support functions to account for actions created.

Performance results: DMS is the process that delivers day-to-day continuous improvement and contributes to the project hopper that feeds step-change or breakthrough improvements.

The benefits of a DMS may prove even more valuable in the current climate. For example, although virtual teamwork may introduce new challenges, remote teams still need effective collaboration, and clear structure and governance to reach agreed targets. And leaders who regularly review their own and others’ behaviors may be better positioned to adjust their leadership style as required in the virtual team environment.

Focusing on priorities is imperative in a crisis, and teams who have an effective DMS in place are already applying this principle, making them better equipped to deal with changing market demands.

What are the considerations of an effective DMS meeting? 

Some considerations are discussed below through the lens of: infrastructure, visual management and behaviors - which covers most of the aspects of a DMS meeting.

Organizational design: An effective DMS depends on having the right people at the right level (tier) attending and participating in the meetings. This means that the organizational structure should support the process by having a designated ‘leader’ at each level who can drive accountability and discipline within their respective teams.

World-class infrastructure: Whether virtual or physical, the DMS ‘rooms’ and visualization should be of a world-class standard. A key reason for this is that the DMS provides the leadership team an opportunity for a daily or shiftly world-class benchmark that sets the standard for the rest of the day’s activities for all those who attend.

 

The DMS provides the leadership team an opportunity for a daily or shiftly world-class benchmark that sets the standard for the rest of the day’s activities.

 

Visual management: The visual management of the agreed KPIs should allow for easy interpretation of what’s going well and what’s off track, and therefore needs the team’s focus. There should be a limited number of KPIs; this is usually driven by the physical constraints of using A3 templates on a wall, which forces us to manage a ‘vital few’ instead of a smorgasbord of metrics to satisfy a burgeoning exercise in Excel administration. The visual management should require the disciplined use of green, red and black to indicate on track, off track and information. Amber can be used in the timing of the meeting to allow the continuation of constructive dialogue that would otherwise be silenced by pedants as the meeting approached its close-off time.

Behaviors: There is much that can be written about the appropriate behaviors that should be demonstrated; some considerations should be given to the following:

  • The need for positive leadership role modelling in areas such as discipline: timekeeping, attendance, action closure, adherence and coaching of others in maintaining the code of conduct
  • The DMS team’s ability to distil down the complexity of the last 24 hours (or shift) into defined actions with owners and due dates that will move performance in line with the balanced scorecard
  • Meeting reviews to ensure continuous improvement of the daily management system
  • The need for respective attendees to ‘behave’ and contribute in a way appropriate to their roles and respective tiers of the organization
  • Clear focus on what discussions are appropriate to each level of the DMS - strategic, situational and systemic

Applying these principles help ensure an effective DMS that will maintain productivity at all levels by providing daily structure and visualization of KPIs and targets. It will also assist leadership in accomplishing the organization’s overall strategic objectives in any climate.