BSBSUS401 – Implement Performance Improvement Strategies Copy

BSBSUS401 – Implement Performance Improvement Strategies Copy


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Element 3: Implement Performance Improvement Strategies

Performance Criteria Element 3

3.1 Source and use appropriate techniques and tools to assist in achieving efficiency targets

3.2 Apply continuous improvement strategies to own work area of responsibility, including ideas and possible solutions to communicate to the work group and management

3.3 Implement and integrate environmental and resource efficiency improvement plans for own work group with other operational activities

3.4 Supervise and support team members to identify possible areas for improved practices and resource efficiency in work area

3.5 Seek suggestions and ideas about environmental and resource efficiency management from stakeholders and act upon where appropriate

3.6 Implement costing strategies to fully utilise environmental assets.

Implement Performance Improvement Strategies

Source and Use Appropriate Techniques and Tools to Assist in Achieving Efficiency Targets

All Environmental Management Systems will produce change within the system; this is just a part of making systems work. Change is inevitable. When you are introducing a system such as this, it is important that you look at your procedures and policies and determine whether your new system means that:

• New procedures and policies are needed
• Existing policies and procedures are effective enough
• How compliance with procedure and policy is achieved
• Whether you have had trouble in the past introducing this level of change
• Whether there are existing policies and procedures which need to be eliminated
• What documentation is already present with regards to environmental policy and procedure?

When attempting to bring about change in a system it is often thought that there will be thousands of pages filled with procedures that must be followed to the letter by all staff. This kind of thinking also creates barriers and fear of the enormous amount of change that is likely to be required.

However, this does not have to be the case. What is hoped to be achieved is:

• A method of controlling actions that affect the environment
• An element of consistency across an organisation
• To ensure compliance with regulation
• The ability to better plan for the future.

In order to establish this level of control:

1. Identify all areas which have a potential effect on the environment
2. Identify which processes, policies and procedures are already in place within the organisation with regards to this aspect
3. Decide whether these are sufficient, or whether more is needed
4. Develop relevant procedures as required.

While developing these procedures you must ensure that you are maintaining compliance with specific goals and objectives as well as legislation and policy. Your procedures should:

1. Always be documented carefully
2. Cover both your employees and those acting on behalf of your organisation
3. Are distributed and include comment from suppliers and other stakeholders
4. Have measures in place for ensuring control and monitoring
5. Outline all of the following:

• What the procedure is aimed to achieve
• What activities in the organisation it covers
• A glossary if needed
• A date and revision number
• A person who has responsibility for the procedure
• All documents needed
• A description of the procedures to be followed
• Who needs to receive it.

The major types of procedures that you may consider writing are detailed below:

• Management procedures:

○ Developing procedures
○ Setting objectives
○ Reviewing the system
○ Continuous improvement.

• Production procedures – this will depend on the nature of your organisation as to what they contain. You could include:

○ Storage of chemicals
○ Waste management
○ Assembly procedures
○ Machinery maintenance.

• Background procedures:

○ Purchasing
○ Marketing
○ Shipping
○ Development.

By working through these options you can determine where additional controls will be needed, and allow you to look at both the routine tasks and the types of events that may occur which are unplanned or unexpected. The actual procedures you put in place will vary significantly depending on the nature of your organisation.

Writing Procedures

You should start by looking at the environmental aspects and legal requirements that you identified earlier. Identify the operations and other activities that are related to these significant impacts and legal requirements, and then consider what types of controls might be needed to manage these aspects and compliance requirements. If you have flow charts of these processes (or can develop them), this may simplify the identification of the process steps where some type of control might be appropriate.

The next stage involves preparing draft procedures and reviewing them with the people who will need to implement them. This will help to ensure that the procedures are appropriate, realistic and practical. Don’t be surprised if reviewers come up with a simpler way to achieve the same results!

Ensure that you review procedures you already have in place to comply with environmental and health and safety regulations. Some of these may be adequate to control significant impacts (or could be modified to do so). Develop a chart to keep track of what controls are needed, such as in the diagram following.

Operation or Activity Procedure is needed (none exists) Procedure exists, but is not documented Procedure exists and is documented No procedure is needed
1 X
2 X
3 X
4 X

In general, the more highly skilled and trained your employees are, the less critical documented work instructions become. As work becomes more complex or as the potential impact on the environment increases, the more important these documented work instructions will be.

Once you have identified operations that require control, consider what kinds of maintenance and calibration may be appropriate. Maintenance of equipment that could have significant environmental impacts or result in non-compliance should be considered, and the need for a plan to manage such maintenance should not be overlooked. An elaborate preventive or predictive maintenance program is not needed in all cases. Assess your existing maintenance program and its effectiveness before making significant changes.

Apply Continuous Improvement Strategies to Own Work Area of Responsibility, Including Ideas and Possible Solutions to Communicate to the Work Group and Management

Implement and Integrate Environmental and Resource Efficiency Improvement Plans for Own Work Group with Other Operational Activities

Supervise and Support Team Members to Identify Possible Areas for Improved Practices and Resource Efficiency in Work Area

Continuous improvement principles emphasise the simplicity of the process, quality of parts and supplies, and employee responsibility for achieving promised results. The direct involvement of employees in the introduction of continuous improvement strategies is a major factor for successful implementation. Training key employees in continuous improvement techniques is an important prerequisite. Businesses that successfully implement continuous improvement programs see an improvement in organisational performance and increased financial returns.

The best way to implement a continuous improvement program is to start with a pilot project. You can identify an organisational process that generates defects or has other problems, usually in production. The process of identifying a pilot project has to involve the people carrying out the work and consider their input. Continuous improvement only works when everyone is involved.

Environmental and resource efficiency improvement plans could include:

• Addressing environmental and resource sustainability initiatives such as environmental management systems, action plans, green office programs, surveys and audits
• Applying the waste management hierarchy in the workplace
• Determining an organisation’s most appropriate waste treatment including waste to landfill, recycling, re-use, recoverable resources and wastewater treatment
• Initiating and/or maintaining appropriate organisational procedures for operational energy consumption, including stationary energy and non-stationary (transport)
• Preventing and minimising risks, and maximising opportunities such as:

○ Improving resource/energy efficiency
○ Reducing emissions of greenhouse gases

• Reducing the use of non-renewable resources
• Referencing standards, guidelines and approaches such as:

○ Energy Efficiency Opportunities Bill 2005
○ Global reporting initiative
○ Green office program – a cultural change program
○ Green purchasing
○ Greenhouse Challenge Plus (Australian government initiative)
○ ISO 14001:1996 Environmental Management Systems life cycle analyses
○ Product stewardship
○ Supply chain management
○ Sustainability covenants/compacts
○ Triple bottom line reporting.

The person leading the continuous improvement implementation project has to be knowledgeable about continuous improvement methods and principles. In continuous improvement terms, they must be an expert. In small businesses, one expert for a pilot project is usually enough. The business can hire a qualified new employee or can train within the ranks. Training for certification and implementation of the pilot project may overlap.

Once the organisation has chosen the team leader, it must assign team members who will help with the implementation. The organisation has to consult the workers involved in the pilot project. Some team members will become the expert leaders for other organisational implementations, and many will become support workers who help the expert leaders. Good workers are needed on the team, but also to run the continuous improvement pilot project after implementation.

The team has to plan the implementation under the leadership of the expert. The aim is to put in place an organisational structure that streamlines the target production process to reduce defects. The team leader identifies problem areas, and the workers who carry out the work help with solutions. The plan details the measures the team proposes to reduce waste, increase worker efficiency and eliminate bottlenecks.

Continuous improvement requires an initial effort and is then a continuous process. The pilot project has to set up the initial steps and put in place the organisation for continued application. The team makes the necessary changes according to the plan and then puts in place an expert to run it. Support people help with operation according to the new plan and take responsibility for specific aspects.

At the completion of the pilot project, and evaluation details what worked well and where there were problems. The workers involved are a key source for evaluation criteria and parameters. The organisation now has at least one qualified team leader and several candidates. The evaluation is the basis for a continued application to other areas of organisational operations. In a small business, a second-round can probably encompass all the remaining production activities.

Seek Suggestions and Ideas About Environmental and Resource Efficiency Management from Stakeholders and Act Upon Where Appropriate

There are three steps you can take to encourage your team to provide recommendations.

• Make it safe for them to do so
• Do not force your ideas, and take responsibility for the action
• Never make fun of recommendations; no matter how ill-conceived they may seem to you.

For example, let’s say you are running a manufacturing facility with a weekly parts shipment from a vendor. You need these parts to assemble the final product, do your standard quality assurance procedure and then ship it to your customers. However, this week the parts are late, presenting a problem.

This necessitates a tough choice:

1. Wait for the parts, skip your Quality Assurance (QA) process (thus risking defects and returns), and ship on time.
2. Expedite the shipping for a hefty fee in time for your normal QA process and ship on time.

Your production line supervisor comes in and reports this problem. They might say something like, “I think we’ve solved our quality problems. The last four weeks the inspections haven’t turned up any faulty parts.” At this point, they haven’t made a specific recommendation about whether to ship or do the inspection. Remember, as a leader, we want to get them to take a little more responsibility.

You might ask them: “Tell me more about…” and select specific components about this problem:

• “Tell me more about how we resolved the quality problems?”
• “Tell me more about this batch or parts, what are they used for, how critical would a failure be for the client?”
• “Tell me more about the client? Do we have a good relationship?”
• “Tell me more about air freight. How much more does it actually cost?”

And then, you might say, “Given all that you’ve told me, what would you recommend that I do?” If the person has been very reluctant to share their thinking in the past, you might help them feel safe by stating, “This is my decision and I’m responsible for what happens. Still, I’d like some help from you and am interested to know what you think I should do.”

This removes the pressure of the responsibility for the decision at this level. As the worker makes a recommendation, they will feel more of the responsibility, so you might need to help them feel safe.

The point of the conversation is not to artfully guide them to your solution. Create a mental blank space where you are simply curious about how their knowledge and experience drove them to make the recommendation. Who knows? You might actually learn something because they see and know different things than you do! When your decision to action has been reached, take responsibility for the outcome. If your team’s recommendation is the action you take, credit them for success and take responsibility if you don’t achieve the desired outcome. Leaders use ‘we’ for success stories and ‘I’ for failure stories.

As this is a continuous improvement initiative, the kinds of suggestions you would be looking for may include:

• Prevent and minimise risks and maximise opportunities such as:

○ Usage of solar or renewable energies where appropriate
○ Reducing emissions of greenhouse gases
○ Reducing use of non-renewable resources
○ Making more efficient use of resources, energy and water.

• Maximising opportunities to re-use, recycle and reclaim materials

• Identifying strategies to offset or mitigate environmental impacts:

○ Purchasing carbon credits
○ Energy conservation
○ Reducing chemical use
○ Reducing material consumption.

• Expressing purchasing power through the selection of suppliers with improved environmental performance e.g. Purchasing renewable energy

• Eliminating the use of hazardous and toxic materials.

Implement Costing Strategies to Fully Utilise Environmental Assets

A cost strategy is used to assist with the achievement of goals by setting and measuring the cost, return on investment, availability of technology and other resources, including staff, and the time needed to implement the initiative. This strategy will help identify the costs associated with it and to then, reduce those costs for achieving the environmental efficiency targets. Earlier we identified the organisation’s most significant environmental impacts. We also discussed prioritising them so that those with the greatest impact are addressed first.

First, consider the costs related to the initiative. Then include all of the costs to implement that initiative. When you are developing your costing strategy you will need to determine timeframes and responsibilities for each area.

This is your costing strategy or what it will cost to achieve your target. The strategies may be costly for implementing the target but the long-term benefits for the organisation as a green supplier in the industry may be worth more.

It is important that you share your costing strategies with the managers and other stakeholders within your organisation. You will need their support to make sure your strategies are implemented. Sharing your strategies could be as simple as organising a meeting or discussion to highlight the benefits (e.g. cost saving, reputation, client satisfaction or energy and resource efficiency) of implementing environmentally sustainable work practices.

You may find that you need to contract external sustainability specialists to help you implement costing strategies if you don’t have these skills within your organisation.

Key Points

• Your environmental improvement plans should be implemented and integrated with the operational activities of the organisation as a whole.
• You should adopt best practice approaches to the improvement of environmental performance by reducing environmental risk and waste.
• Any suggestions and ideas about environmental management should be sought from your work team and acted on.
• You may find your supply chain and customers are a use