The MPE Degree

An Introspective Approach to Improve Business Operations

An Introspective Approach to Improve Business Operations

In 2015, MPE initiated a program to update our operational processes. Changing market demands and customer needs created an opportunity for us to take a critical look at our business and find ways to become better. These efforts to transform our business became known as the “Reset.”

Why MPE Initiated the Reset

MPE had grown significantly since its founding in 1978. Capabilities and processes were added as we expanded. Our dedicated team ensured that we overcame any growth-related challenges, often by sheer will, but our processes became a patchwork of add-on solutions. Additionally, some of our processes were dependent on tribal knowledge from long-tenured employees. MPE initiated the Reset program to evaluate and update all areas of our operations. The goal was to develop streamlined processes and institute a system that could be efficiently implemented and followed by all employees.

A Comprehensive, Team Approach

Teams were formed to evaluate every internal process, from quoting to shipping. Each team was comprised of management team members, long-term team members and newer team members. The diverse perspectives of the group helped bring fresh ideas to the table and challenge each team to think about how we should operate, removing bias towards the status quo.

Iteration, Integration and Pressure Testing

Process maps were developed by each team to visually outline recommended new processes. Weekly Reset meetings brought all of the teams together to review the process maps and challenge each other on their ideas. The proposed processes were pressure tested by the following criteria:

  • Do the various processes integrate well?
  • What are downstream effects of a process change?
  • Can the process handle an outlying event?
  • Is the process scalable?

After each group meeting, the individual teams would iterate their process to address any discovered deficiencies. The updated processes would again be pressure tested in the next week’s group meeting. This cycle was repeated until all groups were satisfied that the new processes were robust and efficient.

“Operational efficiency improved significantly after fully implementing the Reset processes. For instance, on-time delivery has improved from 90% in 2015 to 96% in 2016. “

Implementation and Culture Change

Process maps were finalized and integrated into MPE’s Quality Management System. The maps became a simple and effective way for all team members to view and understand what process to follow for any given situation. The entire MPE team was trained on the new processes and the maps now serve as an efficient training tool for new hires. The process maps also provide transparency to our customers and reassurance that our operations are equipped to handle any needs that may arise.

Results

Operational efficiency improved significantly after fully implementing the Reset processes. For instance, on-time delivery has improved from 90% in 2015 to 96% in 2016. New employee on-boarding has become faster, more effective and more consistent. The entire MPE team now follows the same process and no longer relies on tribal knowledge or brute force approaches to handle special circumstances. There were other benefits that working through the Reset program also created: a culture of collaboration, critical thinking and continuous improvement. While the new processes are working well, MPE continues to look for opportunities to further improve our systems to enhance efficiency, quality and responsiveness to our customers.

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