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Red is GOOD, in fact it is VERY GOOD!

by Mike on Monday, September 23, 2013 9:10 AM
I just had the opportunity to revisit a business that I started working with a few years ago. I must say I was impressed with the progress that they have made over the past few years. Their operating performance and financial performance has improved dramatically! It was truly a pleasure to visit them and to review the results of their efforts. They have embraced workplace organization, performance management, and schedule adherence down to a daily timeframe. As a result, their Corporate KPI’s are improving month after month.

One of our conversations centered on how to improve the use of their Performance Boards. On a daily basis they hold performance reviews in each of the production cells led by the supervisor. This stand up meeting has two major focuses. The first is on yesterday’s actual performance. This is accomplished by asking four simple questions: 

  1. What was your plan for the day? 
  2. How did you do? 
  3. What kind of problems did you have and did you document them? 
  4. How did you deal with them, and did you get the help you needed? 
The second major focus is on looking forward. Again four simple questions are asked:

  1. What is your plan for the today and for the next few days?
  2. What could possibly get in the way and keep you from meeting your plan?
  3. What are you doing about it and what kind of help do you need?
  4. How can I (the supervisor) help you?
Based on their answers to the last four questions they rank their cell status as either Green (everything is good), Yellow (they have some issues with material, equipment, people or support, but they are confident that they can resolve the issue and meet their plans), or RED… they have a significant problem that might or will impact their ability to meet the plan and they need HELP!


Ok…So why is RED good? Think about that for a minute!

RED is good because they recognized that they have a problem that is going to impact their ability to make their plan. They have identified the need for help, specifically what kind of help is needed, and they are working at solving the problem. In addition, the group is now in a position to re-plan and potentially catch up to the original plan.

Think about this… when do most people find out there in trouble? When it’s too late to recover without a tremendous amount effort, micro-management and cost added. So one final question, how do you find out you are in trouble? By proactively managing your process and solving problems systematically or reacting to a problem that snuck up and burned you?


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(“The Professional Provoker”) is the Founder and President of Empowered Performance, LLC a worldwide management education and consulting firm. Michael has extensive international experience working with companies of varied sizes and industries helping them implement strategies to attain World-Class levels of performance. Michael has developed expertise in “Enterprise Excellence”, Enterprise Resource Planning and Supply Chain Management (ERP/SCM), Lean (Toyota Production System), Team Building and Problem Solving, Six Sigma and Reengineering Business Processes. He is considered an expert in helping companies develop and implement Strategic Business Units and fast response customer service production units.

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