How to Translate an Assessment into an Action Plan

An assessment was performed and many opportunities identified, but it has been three months, and nothing has changed.   Does this sound familiar?  As discussed in a previous post, the goal of an assessment is to identify gap to best practices and provide the basis to develop a plan to move forward.   However, many times an assessment is performed, the results put into a binder and put on the shelf (does this sound like your RCM initiative?).

So how do you translate the findings from an assessment to a plan that can actually be implemented?   Consideration of the organizational objectives, current state, level of resource and level of funding is required to develop the plan.    A Recommended Course of Action (RCOA) is that plan, but dives into the details, identifying who, what, when and how.    Developing an RCOA requires forethought and a true understanding of the organization.   The key steps to building a Recommended Course of Action include;

Understand the Future State

The first step after having the assessment completed is to understand the future state or vision of the site.  This future vision can include;

  • What level of OEE/Uptime/Availability will be required
  • What the operational demands will be (24×5, 24×7, etc.)
  • What is the future market demand for the product (will the site expand, shrink, etc.)
  • What is the future organizational structure, or will it change from current state?
  • What regulatory changes may be coming into effect

Understanding where the site or organization is going is critical to building the right RCOA.  Without this understanding, the RCOA will just be based on unknown assumptions and may end up delivering too much or too little reliability (yes, there is a balance between to reliability, as it is more expensive).

Understand the Constraints

The constraints will play a large role in how quickly, or how effectively the RCOA can be implemented.  Therefore, knowing what the current constraints are is critical to building a realistic RCOA.  The constraints could include;

  • Current level of resources
  • Current level of funding
  • Cultural constraints
  • Current level of knowledge/expertise in the organization
  • Current level of support from senior leadership

Building a realistic RCOA is heavily dependent upon the constraints in the site.  By understanding these constraints, the RCOA can be built in a way to work through or around the constraints.

Understand the Culture

The culture of the site can make or break the improvement plan.  So before developing a Recommended Course of Action, start with a stakeholder analysis.  This does not have to be a long, technical process, as a little goes a long way.  To conduct a simple stakeholder analysis, you can;

  • Identify the key groups of people who will be affected by the RCOA
  • Identify who will impact the RCOA for the positive or negative
  • Identify what actions can be taken for each of these key groups
  • Identify a communication plan for each key group

There have been a few studies (which escape me at the moment, but Tara Holwegner from LCE can fill us in) which have indicated that any effort in managing and addressing stakeholder concerns will go a long way.

Understanding the culture and stakeholders will allow an RCOA to be built in a way that can capitalize on the culture.

Understand the Quick Wins

To build momentum and make the RCOA a success, it is vital to ensure there are a few quick wins built into the plan.  These quick wins could include;

  • Implementing the improvements in a pilot area
  • Include key, yet short milestones to enable visible completion of the plan

Also, make sure to take the time to celebrate the short wins in the improvement.  These could be as simple as having the weekly meeting all five days and finishing on time.

Include a Governance Process

Regardless of who is in charge of the RCOA, there must be a process in place to escalate issues and hold all team members accountable.   The RCOA should be reviewed weekly and include a simple Red/Green visual representation of the status.   Make sure to build time for this process into the RCOA.

Tying it all Together

Once all of the above is understood, begin to build our a the RCOA.  Often, I see organizations try to build a detailed plan for the next three years…  while the intention is good, it is recommended that the RCOA be detailed for the first three months, less detailed for the next six months and just include key milestones beyond that.   As the RCOA is implemented, the plan will change and require adjustment, so with that in mind, only detail out the short-term.

When developing an improvement plan, what do you find helpful to build a plan that is realistic?  What did I miss?   A Recommended Course of Action is included with all Plant Hexcellence Assessments, to ensure the organization gets the most out of their assessment.  If you have any questions or want to see how a Plant Hexcellence Assessment can help you, please contact [email protected].

Remember, to find success; you must first solve the problem, then achieve the implementation of the solution, and finally sustain winning results.

I’m James Kovacevic
Eruditio, LLC
Where Education Meets Application