Making change happen - the StreamLiner way!

There is a basic improvement approach that underpins how the StreamLiner software works, and it is the same approach that every successful 'change agent' uses. The approach is this:

Observe a process in a structured way, distil some practical ideas and then implement these ideas with grace and speed.

If this is what you want to do in your business then this article explores how StreamLiner can help you. There are numerous tools built into StreamLiner, and an even wider range of options as to the way you can use the tools. The user guide offers some ideas on linking the various tools together, but in this article I am going to focus on the areas of spaghetti mapping, improvement meetings and linking to key documents.

A spaghetti map is a visual way to capture the physical flow of information, or products, around your business. A common objective for businesses is to reduce the distance travelled around a business. This is a cost that the business usually picks up and by reducing it you can achieve a natural reduction in the time it takes to complete a business process thus increasing in the business' capacity. StreamLiner provides a very simple format for capturing your spaghetti map. Print out the template for the project you are working on, draw a sketch of the working area and then use a line to represent where the product (or information) moves to. In most cases the people reviewing the movements are staggered as to just how far things travel. I once watched a piece of paper in an office travel over 400 metres just to get processed by three people (it went back and forwards a lot!).

The insights gained from watching a process in this manner can then be logged within StreamLiner as improvement actions. StreamLiner uses a inbuilt priority system that we call BCS. This acronym stands for Benefit, Cost and Speed. The software encourages you to quickly evaluate each improvement idea on this basis and then uses this to provide you with a prioritised improvement actions list. The scoring instructions are available within both the user guide and the software itself. This scoring works for all of the actions that are generated within StreamLiner (whether they come from a 5S audit, a waste walk or a process analysis exercise). This means that you can determine what course of action will give you the biggest return on your efforts.

StreamLiner

Find out more about the StreamLiner continuous improvement project software by clicking here.

Now, of course, change doesn't just happen by magic! This is why we have built in a meetings and document log function into the software. Having meetings to discuss improvement actions and to monitor progress is invaluable. Performing these meetings effectively, however, can speed up your overall progress and improve clarity across the business. We have included a meetings record template inside the software and this can be used during your meetings to capture any actions and who is responsible for carrying them out. These actions can then be added to your current actions list and managed via the BCS scoring system.

Inside the actions reporting dashboard within the software, you can dice the actions up by their BCS score, by team member, or by due date. The actions reporting functions, combined with the meetings template creates a virtuous circle for aiding the process of change within your business.

Alongside the meetings, and the improvement actions, may be the need to link to key documents. Many users of StreamLiner will use the software during meetings and being able to access key documents quickly can make a big difference when making decisions. The documents function of StreamLiner allows you to keep a list of links to your documents (as opposed to storing the documents) for just this purpose. Imagine you are in a meeting and you want to review a memo linked to the project. Go into the documents screen, click on the link and it comes up on the screen. No more trawling around the server getting lost and wasting time.

To recap; StreamLiner offers a structured way to make observations about your processes, allows you to capture and evaluate improvement opportunities and to manage the implementation through the virtuous circle of effective meetings and efficient actions management.

As I said before, effective change isn't magic, but it might look like it when done using StreamLiner!

Giles Johnston

Smartspeed Consulting Limited

Author of Business Process Re-Engineering and co-creator of the 'StreamLiner' continuous improvement software tool.