☕ My 103rd lunch was with Shoukat Ali Bhamani, whom I met through Kettering. Shoukat is one of our newest Kettering Members. Meeting with fellow Kettering Members to learn more about them and how I can help them is always a pleasure.
💡 Shoukat and I share a common passion for Continous Improvement and Technology. We shared our stories and experiences within this both of these areas. What always fascinates me is that many of us share similar experiences regarding how people react to technology and CI. You either come across people ready for the challenge of change and transformation, people who will resist it, or people somewhere in between the two spectrums.
☕As we continued sharing our backgrounds, I realized we needed more time to talk. Shoukat and I will need to meet again to continue sharing our stories and look for ways to collaborate in the future. All of my lunches have taught me that time is a precious gift, and spending it with so many amazing people to learn and connect is a gift I will always treasure.
👉 If you want to learn more about my lunches or participate, follow #laurens100lunches and #laurens200lunhces or message me.
👉If you’d like to learn more about Kettering, we can schedule a time to talk.
Let’s rephrase the question, why do so many people fear technology❓
💡 Some people face it, head it on, while others fight the change.
💡 When talking with clients about introducing technology and continuous improvement, I find that sometimes leaders are reluctant to move forward because they still determine how their people will take the change.
🤖 It is important to remember that technology is nothing without the people.
💡Technology should enable the process that gives people the tools to get things done and be creative.
💡The result is to connect people, processes, and technology.
💡We need all three to drive progress and do something extraordinary.
I’ve taken a little hiatus from my lunches, but they are back.
I realized how much I missed my lunches and how impactful they were on me. Sometimes we only miss something once we no longer make time for it. Sometimes life does get in the way, but we have to stop and do the things that impact us, so on to my newest lunch post.
My 102nd lunch was with Philippe Harousseau, whom I met through Kettering . I saw Philippe’s name come across as one of our candidates for Kettering. I usually reach out to our new candidates as the Membership Liason to the Kettering Board to see how I can help them along the journey to membership.
Philippe and I had a great conversation about our backgrounds and where we are from. I learned that Philippe is originally from France but has lived in the US for a while; he was based in New York and is now in the Atlanta area. We talked a bit about France and the United States and the differences between the two countries. I’ve always loved to talk to people and learn about their backgrounds and where they are from, but I also love to learn about where people have lived, regardless of whether they lived in the US or another country. You never know what you are going to learn about a particular place.
We also spoke in detail about our careers. Phillppe has an extensive background, especially in Marketing. Philippe is now a fractional CMO. As I’ve grown in the world of consultancy and owning my business, I’m always intrigued to learn how other consultants and fractional executives work with their clients. The wave of fractional executives in different forms is here to stay, especially for small to medium size companies.
If you want to learn more about my lunches or participate in them, let’s setup time to talk
If you’d like to learn more about Kettering, we can schedule a time to talk.
Digital transformation has been on the horizon for many different size businesses and corporations. Digital Transformation has many different meanings, but AI (Artificial Intelligence) and RPA (Robotic Process Automation) have been on the radar for quite some time. Initially, digital transformation was a part of business plans to find a way to stay up with customer behavior, technology innovation, and finding faster ways to do things. With Covid-19 and shortages (supply chain and employees), digital transformation plans have been accelerated. The fundamental factors are still a part of the transformation plans. The acceleration is needed to find the right ways to support remote work plans, safety for employees, handle the shortages, and implement new processes due to new regulations.
What is wrong with implementing fast?
There are increasing demands to keep the customers and employees happy in this new world, but this comes with more costs that will cut into revenue profits. Many business owners and leaders think that implementing RPA or AI will solve many of their business problems and help with costs. These technologies do produce positive results in the form of cost savings, increasing ROI, better processing or cycle times, and increasing revenue. But if you do not take the time to plan correctly, implementing RPA and AI can become costly and time-consuming. Business owners and leaders find out quickly that they have more complications after the implementation than before they started.
During my past 13 years of experience with any technology transformation and Continuous Improvement, if a business does not take time to plan, issues come up with the implementation. These issues will cause the transformation to take longer than expected, which means it costs more money than expected.
What are the issues?
1. Wrong reasons
AI and RPA projects fail because there is a lack of clarity on the project from the start. When a business starts implementing these types of projects quickly, the wrong problem is being solved. The right kind of questions is not asked, which leads to the wrong reasons and project goals. Without honestly knowing what you are solving for, the project will fail right from the start.
2. Process issues are seen faster
There are different arguments on whether you should fix a process first or throw technology at the problem. I see too many businesses throw technology at the issues, only to watch the process completely break down. AI and RPA will reveal how bad a process is faster and at more cost. After these failures, the technology is removed, and the projects become failures. When these failures start to happen, businesses lose momentum, and business leaders lose faith in the technology.
3. Culture and workforce issues
Employees often fear AI and RPA because they are afraid they are going to lose their jobs. People fear what technology will do to do their jobs. When you combine this with the technology broken by the technology, the culture becomes an issue. When your employees are unhappy, this will affect them.
Quality with the services and products
Production and cycle times begin to be elongate.
Employees will not be on board with any future changes, and the workplace will become hostile. Business leaders need to remember that when their employees are unhappy, their customers are usually going to be dissatisfied as well. Businesses cannot lose the people side of things if they wish to implement AI and RPA successfully.
4. Dissatisfied customers
Process issues and unhappy employees contribute to dissatisfied customers. It is vital to ensure customers are as happy as possible during these ever-changing times and do not feel alienated. If customers are not satisfied, they start to lose faith, taking their business somewhere else. Without customers, a business cannot survive.
6. ROI (Return on Investment) will not be delivered
In 2018, Gartner stated that about ~85% of AI projects would not deliver CIOs’ impact. One of my clients lost $2 M in costs, rework, and revenue by implementing RPA too fast. One of my prospective clients lost ~$5 M in costs and had cultural issues due to implementing RPA too quickly. It is important to note these types of cases because it helps to bring the hard reality when AI and RPA should not be applied too fast without planning.
Everything is changing so fast during these times, but while it may seem moving fast is right the right thing to do. But the right move is to move slowly to move fast. But how do you plan to use AI or RPA right the first time? Each time I work with a client who wants to use AI or RPA, I apply Continuous Implement. We start with setting goals, planning, leveraging Lean Six Sigma, and applying AI or RPA. After everything is in place, we set up a Continuous Improvement Plan. The plan ensures that the company is always improving and can pivot as needed for growth, market demands, and customer changes.
What are your thoughts?
Have you experienced this in your business or organization?
If you would like to help solve these issues, let’s set up some time to talk.
“if you do not take the time to plan correctly, implementing RPA and AI can become costly and time-consuming” – Lauren Hisey
Over the past few weeks, while networking and connecting with people through #laurens100lunches, I’ve had a few people ask me what a Continuous Improvement (CI) Consultant does. I found that I was giving the same answer and thought I would write about it. There are so many articles about what consultants and coaches do. Still, I didn’t find much content on precisely what I do.
My intent with this article is to provide a small insight into what I do with my clients. There are many CI Consultants, each of us gives brings a different flavor to our clients. What I’m sharing with you is what I do and how I approach things.
What is a CI Consultant?
My elevator speech is:
I specialize in helping business owners and leaders from mid-size organizations uncover and solve their business problems with Continuous Improvement.
While networking, I’m not particularly eager to use the terms business processes, Lean, Lean Six Sigma, or Six Sigma when meeting new people. I believe CI is so much more than that. CI is a toolbox of tools that help people and businesses succeed through the use of mindset, culture, and methodologies. It is not just about improving a business process, but it is about changing and growing. It encompasses the business leaders, owners, people in the business, front-line workers, customers or clients, culture, technology, and processes. Without all these elements, you cannot have a successful business.
So how do I help business leaders and owners?
I partner with my clients to guide them along the CI path:
find the actual current state
create a Future State map, roadmap, and plan
guide them along the CI path for the future state and change management
I’m also teaching and coaching my clients and their teams about CI and incorporating it into their business. It is about incorporating CI into their companies to continue to improve as things evolve.
My clients experience tremendous success. They usually experience and excel in business improvement. My approach is different from what you typically find with other consultants. I’m the type of consultant who partners with my clients and teams by using natural language and rolling up my sleeves. As Alan Weiss shares in his teachings, you don’t want a ski coach who sits in the lodge sipping brandy and talking ski theory. You want someone who grabs you and says, “Follow me down the hill.” I believe in partnering with you, your teams, and your employees at all levels to model the best solutions that fit your business problems.
Do I know if I need a CI consultant?
The other question I encounter is, “How do I know if I need CI or if I know someone that needs help?” It’s not always easy for a business leader or owner to identify if they need help. Using CI is not always about helping a failing process, product, or business. CI can help a company get to the next level, grow successfully, or adapt quickly to changes.
So how do you know if you or someone might need CI?
Business owners and leaders bring me in when they….
are frustrated with
feel challenged and pressured to find the right places to make the right changes with process improvements and implementing new technology
aren’t prepared with the issues with expanding their business
have process or technology improvements that are not working as planned, and employees cannot adapt to the changes.
are pressured to raise prices due to higher costs, resulting in lower profit margins
believe that to cut costs, they need to fire employees
they are frustrated with overtime costs and low quality because they can’t keep up with demand
realize they need a more individual approach to finding and solving real problems
The benefits of using a Continuous Improvement
Benefits can be broken up into hard benefits and soft benefits. Some of the hard benefits are:
Reduce the need for capital expenditure
Reduce the need to hire additional employees
Reduce overtime hours
Improving cash flow
Faster quote to cash
Better profit margins
Soft benefits are:
Improved culture and employee morale
Customer focus – Looking at what the customer wants
Leading by fact and alignment
Measurements or KPIs that are customer focus and helps to define success.
As things change faster than we expected, we need to continue finding new ways to do things. These changes we are encountering can be positive. CI can help take away some of the uncertainty and provide you with the structure and creativity needed to navigate anything that comes your way. It can help offer you a way to grow and become successful. You need to make sure that you are ready for the changes that come from the market, technology, customer behavior, and the environment. It is a forever-changing world, and CI can help you now and in the future.
What are your thoughts?
Have you experience any of these issues, or are there other issues?
Do you think Continuous Improvement can help you?
What other benefits can you think about?
If you want to learn more about how CI can help you, let’s set up a time to talk.
“CI can help take away some of the uncertainty and provide you with the structure and creativity needed to navigate anything that comes your way.” – Lauren Hisey
Over the past few weeks, I have written various articles about Continuous Improvement (CI) and using Continuous Improvement with AI and RPA. These articles touch upon how to use CI in your business and with AI. But one thing that is important to note is that regardless of the size of your business, measurements or KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) are needed. It is essential to understand what is going in your business, and the only way to do this is through measurements. These numbers provide you with data that allows you to see what is going. When you combine measurements with “gut” feelings and Gemba walks, you can put together a great story.
Measurements are an essential part of your CI journey, regardless of the industry!
Within CI, data and measurements will help you determine your Point A (starting point) and then develop your Point B (goal). Measurements are required at both ends. You will know where you are and where you are going. The measures of success are just more than how your business is doing. These measurements will help you see if you are on the right path and hitting the growth you want. The numbers represent your story, no matter how things are. They will affect your personal growth, and to see real progress and to feel empowered, you need to see the numbers. Behind these numbers, you will feel an emotional attachment. If the numbers are positive, it will bring you great joy, but they will bring discomfort if the numbers are negative.
Why you need measurements
There are different arguments on the type of measurements you should use. For this article, I just wanted to stress the importance of using data and why. It is essential to see why these measurements are so important.
To tell your story
If you do not have measurements, you will not have the data to tell the real story. If you are not speaking with data, you cannot describe how things are going.
The data can be simple! Do not make it too complex.
To know where you are!
This may seem like the obvious one, but many leaders and owners do not know where they stand. If you are not collecting data, you will miss some important things:
Are you on track toward your goal?
Do you need to readjust or pivot?
Are your employees satisfied?
Are your customers satisfied?
What are the costs in your business or organization?
Is your business or organization hitting revenue goals?
What are your profit numbers?
To know your measure of success
How can you measure your success?
How do you know if you met your goal?
These two questions are why you need to track data!
If you are not meeting your goal, the data will show that you may need to pivot and make changes. When you reach your goal, the data will allow you to know if you can celebrate.
Remember, you need to celebrate along the way!
Collecting measurements should not be a daunting task. It will be the opposite because the data can help you tell your story, know where you are, and know your success measures. As things progress, the data will allow you to see if you are headed in the right direction or if you need to adjust. Continuous Improvement will enable you to adapt and move forward to your goal. Collecting the data will allow you to move forward faster, even if you have to take a step(s) back. Collecting the data is a step forward in Continuous Improvement!
Are you collecting data? If yes, why? If no, why?
If you would like to collect the data or why it is beneficial to you, let’s set up some time to talk.
“Collecting the data is a step forward in Continuous Improvement!” – Lauren Hisey