The continuous improvement plan can be defined as the ongoing improvement process relating to commodities or products and services through consistent or breakthrough improvement. The ultimate objective of this process is o strengthen the quality and features of processes or output. For any business undertaking, to have a sustainable existence in the competitive market, the effective functioning of the continuous improvement plan is a must. In the current environment, this aspect of the project is a necessity since it can give the concern a competitive edge in the uncertain business setting Akmeemana & Wickramasinghe, 2016).
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Latino Engineering is a company situated in New South Wales, Australia which offers designing, development and manufacturing services relating to specialist engineering equipment. As per Anantatmula & Webb, it had a steady and consistent reputation in the market for the past 30 years. But after it was acquired by an investment group, a number of complaints were raised by its clients which highlighted the poor quality of delivery (Anantatmula & Webb, 2016). This scenario is not an uncommon occurrence in an organizational front. There is a need for businesses to continuously enhance their offerings, services, and processes to keep the clients and customers content. A continuous development model has been presented here to identify the root causes of the issue and eliminate the same so that the business can regain its previous reputation in the market (Anthopoulos, Ipsilantis & Kazantzi, 2016).
The main objective of the essay is to understand the reasons for the various complains about the defective engineering equipment, poor design, and development follow-up with the business clients, long turnaround time for problem resolution, ineffective customer service function, etc. It is necessary to identify the reasons for such problems so that the necessary resources can be used to remove these obstacles from the process. The continuous improvement plan has been developed to ensure that such issues and problems do not arise in the future again (Baptista, et al., 2016).
In the Latino Engineering case study, the adoption of right strategies and tools is necessary to solve the issues that arise in the path of the business activities. In order to enhance the performance of the service, plant, and equipment, the lean six sigma model has been used since it basically focuses on the defects from variations. Since the ultimate objective is to overcome the issues and complaints that have been raised by the customers, this strategic tool would help the project management consultant to uncover the invisible root causes of the potential problems and attack them in order to eradicate the defects. Appendix 1 presents the six sigma model that focuses on the process, customer needs, and analyses data to remove the roadblock from the path of the business (Bialaszewski, 2016). The objective of the continuous improvement plan is to help the business generate higher profits, and reduce the variation.
The system-driven approach has been adopted to address the issues of Latino Engineering so that the main issues relating to the manufacturing of the engineering equipment can be identified and the business processes can be strengthened. It would also help the management to base its key decisions on knowledge and data. The project-driven model would focus on the customer needs and requirements so that their needs would be met by the business concern.
Appendix 2 highlights the six sigma continuous improvement plan for Latino Engineering that would allow the business concern to locate the loopholes in the overall work process. The various functional aspects that would be covered in the model are defining, measuring analyzing, improving, and controlling. The diagrammatic representation highlights the sub-areas of the business that would be evaluated and analyzed to develop an effective improvement model (Douglas, 2016).
Since Latino Engineering business is involved in designing, developing and manufacturing of specialist engineering equipment for different industries, the current problems arising in the business scenario could adversely affect its business position in the market. In the competitive times, the issues that the clients have raised could dampen its business reputation and drive it out of the industry. Thus the lean six sigma model has been selected to enhance the overall quality of the business offering. This tool improves the work process and minimizes the wastes arising from the operational activities. Galvan-Cruz, et al said that it primarily identifies the customer value, maps the value stream, creates flow, seeks perfection and strengthens the production process based on market demand (Galvan-Cruz, et al., 2017). Thus this root cause analytical model has been selected as the appropriate tool, to help the concern drastically improve its profitability by upgrading its designing and monitoring activities and minimizing wastes and resources.
The lean six sigma model has been adopted to bring about the continuous improvement plan in Latino Engineering enterprise. The primary reason for selecting this technique is that it encompasses all the areas of business engineering processes including the inventory or resources, movement, work in progress (WIP), over-production, and defects. The holistic approach allows any business entity to effectively evaluate its latent processes so that the defective areas can be located (Gibbins, 2017). The lean six sigma model is fundamentally the combination of two immensely powerful processes namely “Lean” and “Six Sigma”. The disciplined approach allows businesses to have a thorough control over the designs and processes.
The diagrammatic representation of the continuous improvement process shows various aspects that would be covered in the improvement plan namely the defining of the process, issue, quantifying the problem, identifying the cause of the problem, implementing and verifying the solution and maintaining the ultimate solution. In the very initial improvement stage, the customer complaints would be checked in order to understand the areas that cause dissatisfaction in them like poor design features, the ineffective approach of employees towards clients, etc. Then the key process measures would be developed. This is a critical process where the team would be able to identify the few main factors that have a significant impact on the manufacturing process (Guerra, et al., 2016). A cause and effect model would be created to determine the variance components. Then in order to bring about the improvements, a risk assessment process would be conducted. It would allow bringing about uniformity in the work process. Then ultimately the control step would be to implement for having a better process control over the key variables and resources.
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Thus as per Joosten, Basten & Mellis, the lean six sigma approach could be used to introduce an overall improvement in the business operations and processes of Latino Engineering. It would be a smart attempt to identify the main reasons that cause dissatisfaction among the customers (Joosten, Basten & Mellis, 2016). The complaints that have come to the surface do not just relate to the engineering equipment defects but also are connected to the approach adopted by business personnel, inaccurate packaging, and delivery, etc. So this improvement model would allow the management to locate all the root causes of the complaints and find a remedy for the same.
The continuous improvement plan using the lean six sigma model would allow the business concern to focus on the consistent improvement throughout the various aspects of the process life. This approach would bring about significant change in the process front and thus the business would have to adopt an effective change management process. The success of the change management process is a necessity for all businesses. Latino Engineering is no different so it would also have to adapt to the changing environment so that it could have a sustainable existence in the industry (Joslin & Müller, 2016). The change management process mainly incorporates five key processes namely understanding the need for change, communicating this need throughout all the levels of the organization and involving people in the change process, designing the change plans, implementing the new change plans and evaluating the entire progress. These latent processes are crucial since they help concerns to model themselves as per the changing environment and needs of the customers (Kasemsap, 2016).
In the case of Latino Engineering, the following change management process would have to be followed so that it could improve its business performance and address the complaints of the customers and clients. The basic necessity of chain arises due to the rise in complaints from the customers. The issues that have been highlighted by them are related to the defects in the engineering equipment, bad design and development follow-up with customers, poor resolution approach, bad customer service and wrong packaging and delivery service. The wide variety of issues signals that the concern needs to bring about an urgent and positive change in its overall work operation (Kerzner, 2017). This need has to be effectively communicated throughout the firm so that all employees can welcome the change process and make specific contributions from their end. The changes in the processes have to be modelled to reduce defects in the engineering equipment and reduce wastes in the process. The employees will have to be trained to adjust to the changing process. Then the new model has to be set-up in place so that the transition phase can be as smooth as possible (Lehmann, 2016).
In order to make the continuous improvement plan effective in nature, a procedural documentation needs to be done so that all the areas where change would take place can be highlighted. The continuous improvement of the effectiveness and efficiency of Latino Engineering process can be introduced by following a disciplined process (Morozov & Timinsky, 2016).
The analysis of the current process is a must since it would allow the project management team to understand the business model. The technical audits and process audit would provide a mechanism to study the operations from the technical and managerial perspective. This result could be used to identify the key areas for improvement. In addition to such audits, the inspection process could also include the suggestions of the employees of Latino Engineering (Nonino, 2017). Their involvement in the process would allow the concern to improve the quality and efficiency of the process from their specific perspective.
Then the issues would have to be ascertained. The issues could arise due to the fault or ineffectiveness from various factors such as human resource, inadequate technology, poor inventory quality, etc. The identification of the main issues that lead to the numerous complaints of the customers is crucial. The effective recognition of the problem would allow the firm to develop key strategies to solve the same. Then the solutions would have to be designed based on the issues that are bothering the business concern and its performance in the market (Pajares, et al., 2017). Appendix 3 highlights these areas. The proper development of the solution is necessary to address the issue in the best possible manner. Since the issues vary in nature, the business would have to look into its internal processes, staff performance, inventory productivity, etc.
In order to have the best possible control over the continuous improvement plan, the business would have to maintain a procedural documentation process so that all the areas where changes would take place could be highlighted. This would surely help the business, in the long run, to strengthen its efficiency, productivity and reduce the wastage.
The implementation process is the key process since this is the phase when the real transition would take place in the process front. Any minute deviation from the plan could have a severe consequence on the business and its operations (Saltz & Crowston, 2017). Thus in case of Latino Engineering, for the continuous improvement plan to be effective, the management would have to introduce changes at various levels so that the ultimate defects in the process could be eliminated.
Appendix 4 highlights the specifications of the continuous improvement plan of Latino Engineering that would help the concern to remove the defects from its process and strengthen its production and delivery model. The mission of the concern is to enhance its process and strengthen the features of its produced equipment. At the production stage, the business would have to thoroughly assess the inventory and resource performance. The thorough review of the current process would form the foundation of the new implementation model. It would help to identify the areas that need to be changed in order to strengthen the business performance (Saltz, Heckman & Shamshurin, 2017). Then the gaps would have to be checked so that the reasons for their existence could be determined. Once this step is carried out, Latino Engineering would have to list and prioritize the causes of the issues so that the remedial measures can be determined by the expert team. Then the real improvement could be brought into the process by introducing revised and better processes and educating the workforce. Ultimately the change would have to be monitored by the team so that the improvements in the process could be seen. The effectiveness of the control plan is vital in this continuous improvement plan because it helps to check the improvements and ensure that it is uniform in nature (Sultana, 2016).
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Thus Latino Engineering’s implementation plan would have a crucial bearing on the business and its specialist engineering equipment. The effectiveness of its plan could be seen if there would be the decline in the complaints from the clients. Since the customers are the main reasons for the existence of any business undertaking, it would have to model its products as per their needs and specifications (Saltz, Heckman & Shamshurin, 2017). This aspect along with the improvement plan would help the concern to have a sustainable and profitable business in the market.
The continuous improvement plan for any business concern has a direct impact on the business and its performance. The Latino Engineering concern initially had a strong reputation in the market but it got deteriorated once it was acquired by an investment group. The regular complaints from the customers highlight the fact that the business failed to continue to deliver high-quality performance in the market due to which defects were found in the equipment and the satisfaction level of the customers dropped. The continuous improvement plan that has been designed in this essay is based on the lean six sigma model. The reason for selecting this model is that it analyses the entire work process to identify the bottlenecks that exist inside it.
This approach would surely help Latino Engineering to understand the main causes of the defects in its products and it could also identify the areas that its employees need to work on in order to enrich the satisfaction level of the customers. The thorough step by step process would allow the concern to adapt to the necessary change which could be beneficial for the business undertaking in the long run. The diagrammatical representations that have been shown would help the engineering equipment manufacturer to enhance its internal process and resource management model to produce superior quality equipment for various industries. Since quality management is necessary for all the business concerns irrespective of the industry that they operate in, the firm would have to strengthen its quality of delivery so that it could regain its goodwill in the market and the customers could trust its offerings. The case highlights the fact that all businesses must adopt proper continuous improvement plan to strengthen their offerings, processes, and functions. This model would help Latino Engineering to strengthen its position in the industry.
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