Building an effective daily management system that improves performance

An effective daily management system (DMS) is critical to driving daily performance improvements at every level of an organization. It also provides the leadership team an opportunity for a daily world-class benchmark that sets the standard for the rest of the day’s activities.

On 28 January 2021, about 190 delegates from leading global organizations – including Bayer, Cargill, Allied Blenders and Distillers, Pearl Polymers Ltd., Intent Group, and Sun Pharmaceutical Industries – attended Building an effective Daily Management System, a free TRACC Community webinar hosted by Mary Williamson, VP of Operations, CCi Americas. Mary explained the fundamentals of a DMS and shared practical advice on conducting daily performance review meetings.


The fundamentals of a daily management system

Mary kicked off the webinar by explaining what a daily management system is: a set of standard procedures that provides the structure teams need to evaluate and continuously improve their day-to-day work through effective decision-making. Its objectives are to quickly detect, prioritize and correct problems and put measures in place to prevent problems from recurring. The primary aim is to shorten the cycle time between each of these steps.

Mary explained that, ideally, problems need to be detected and corrected in real-time by empowered people doing the actual work. “For example, if you have a process or equipment failure at three in the morning, you want the people running the process or operating the equipment to not only know how to detect the problem, but to correct it through effective problem-solving quickly.” Achieving this requires a lot of initial support, coaching, and leadership buy-in and commitment, said Mary.

The key elements of a daily management system are:

These make up the structure of daily performance review meetings, which are integral to the DMS. The first element, LSW, was covered in detail in the CCi webinar Leader Standard Work: Building behaviours that drive bottom-line results.


The performance review process and tier meetings

The performance review process includes a series of meetings, often referred to as tier meetings. “These meetings are conducted weekly or monthly at regional or global level, daily or weekly at site level, daily at line level, every shift at shift level, and hourly at equipment or process level,” Mary noted.

During these meetings, the meeting leader reviews the KPIs deployed to that level. Where the performance targets aren’t met, the team applies problem-solving as soon as possible.

The visual display of the agreed KPIs should allow for easy interpretation of what’s going well and what’s off track, and it therefore needs the team’s focus. Chronic problems or more complicated problems that are raised during this performance review must be escalated to the next level for assistance.

According to Mary, most problems are likely to occur at the systemic or situational level. “It’s therefore important to make sure the shift teams at tier two are effective at handling these systemic issues, as well as dealing with situational issues.”


Conducting the performance review meeting

Because the tier two level will have the most issues to deal with, Mary used this tier’s performance review meeting to explain its structure – although the other tiers will follow a similar approach.

“Firstly, it’s important that the person who has overall responsibility for the performance of that area leads the meeting. This will ensure the authority to establish discipline and hold team members accountable.”

Team participants will typically include production team leaders and a cross-functional team comprising representatives from functions such as quality, maintenance and production planning. Sometimes people from HR, EHS, Training and Finance may also be required to attend, depending on the KPI. The meeting should take place as early in the production day as possible and after the shift meeting.

The duration of the meeting is usually 15-30 minutes, and agenda points would include a KPI review of the previous 24 hours, reviewing and planning the next 24 hours, problem-solving status, and an action list review.

Mary recommended that the visual board used in the meeting, whether electronic or physical, display five to seven KPIs cascaded from the tier above. “It’s essential that these KPIs are within the team’s control and that they show actual performance versus a displayed target or goal. The definition, formula and data source must also be clearly defined and documented.

“It’s important to remember that the visual boards will only be effective if the team demonstrates ownership of the board and actively uses it to conduct the meeting. Visual controls to drive discipline and accountability should also include daily problem-solving and action items to facilitate improvements.”

Other recommendations to drive the accountability and discipline elements of the daily management system include:

  • A posted agenda with visual controls
  • A code of conduct developed by the team and held accountable by the leader
  • A meeting effectiveness assessment comprising a short survey at the end of each meeting (include triggers to take action if the meeting was ineffective)
  • LSW, where leaders a level or two up routinely observe or coach meetings a level or two down
  • Problem-solving effectiveness measured as part of LSW


Performance meeting behaviors

Mary concluded by cautioning that perfect visual controls will not ensure effectiveness if the right behaviors are missing. “What drives the effectiveness of the meeting is the behavior of the leaders and the participants. Leaders need to have a participative style while at the same time modelling the expected behaviors such as timeliness, urgency and teamwork.

“Likewise, team members should display timeliness by completing actions on time. They should also arrive prepared with all relevant data entered, issues to escalate, and an urgency to take action.”


To find out more about the strategies for building an effective daily management system, watch the webinar on demand.