Vanguard Magazine

Aug/Sept 2014

Preserving capacity, General Tom Lawson, Chief of the Defence Staff, Keys to Canadian SAR

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 32 of 47

p proCuremenT AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2014 33 tion a lot. We know what's right, but we also know what they want. You've got to be able to ask tough questions. Usually we end up talking about symptoms, not about real root causes. And so we don't change the things that need to be changed. Asking questions is the way to do that. If you're asking the questions ap- propriately you can avoid creating a defensive environment, and it allows you to drive to the real root causes. Questions are the energy of change. Finally, you need diversity of experience. When you look around at your team, how well do you understand what they have done before they became part of your team? How many people in in- dustry actually pay attention to that, beyond what a person has done in your company? We tend to keep people employed on the same program for 20 years. Diversity of thought is critical to progress. It allows you to look at your problem from multiple perspectives and decide what needs to be changed. You must also build a culture of change that is safe. Failures should be accept- able. I don't know how we expect people to learn, if not through failure. In the IMSS portfolio, our one rule is that you're allowed failure, but it just can't be repetitive – the same failure for the same reason. metrics I find this to be one of the things we in industry distort the most. What do metrics mean to most of us? Reams and reams of data. We want to measure everything. We have a saying on our team, "Define an action." Metrics must be definable and they must create action to drive the right behaviours. We use only five or six metrics internally and we only use one with the customer. The five or six metrics we use have mutated three times in the last 18 months. Too many metrics are ineffective, and they cause distraction. When you've got reams and reams of data and one set of data is telling you to do one thing and another set is telling you to do something else, you get paralysis by analysis. And it happens a lot. Metrics should drive the behaviours you want your team to establish. For instance, in our flagship program, one of the areas we wanted to focus on was the number of shipments it took to 3M solves your toughest problems… 3M Defence exists to help defence contractors and the Department of National Defence: n Enhance workplace safety n Improve efficiency and productivity (manufacturing, construction, maintenance and repair operations) n Advance protection of Canadian Forces Personnel in the field n Solve tomorrow's problems today 3 3M is a trademark of 3M. Used under license in Canada. © 2014, 3M. All rights reserved. 1407-01301E • Corrosion Protection • Energy and Sustainability • Fire Management • Light Management • Paint Productivity • Surface Protection • Soldier Protection • Vibration Damping • Weight Reduction come visit us at our DEFSEC booth 514 mention this ad to receive a free gift * *while supplies last 1407-01301E DEFSEC Ad with Free_Layout 1 14-07-03 12:05 PM Page 1 manage the distribution network to support the fielded units. So we created a metric that looked at how many shipments we were doing from different locations, and we were able to cut the num- ber of shipments in eight months by more than half. That was done because the cost of shipping was seen as one of the highest cost elements of our distribution network. Now we've decided we want to know how many inventory transactions we do per ship- ment, so we've now focused on a new problem, and evolved the metric to be able to look at how our bundling is saving us money because we're reading more transactions per shipment. This is all done with a customer by our side. Good metrics will drive best behaviours. Summary To evolve, we have to endure. To endure, we have to evolve. To do this, we have to become a true partner. We have to be willing to step out of our comfort zones and have open, honest commu- nication with our partners that's based on trust and being strong in tone. We must be aligned. Without alignment – a common vision, where we want to go as a program, how we want to get there, and the timeline in which we intend to get there – it will be difficult to achieve a win-win scenario. Finally, as a team we must be willing to challenge everything. Nothing is sacred, nothing is protected. Everything has to be looked at as an opportunity for change. Facts and data must drive the evolution. Your data has to transform and become informa- tion to validate the evolution.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

view archives of Vanguard Magazine - Aug/Sept 2014