COE research has impact on two central Ohio companies
Visiting scholar Ilaria Raniero
Center for Operational Excellence (COE) members Cardinal Health and Willow Wood are working to turn the results of a COE sponsored research project into new business strategies.
The two Columbus-area companies along with several other COE member companies participated in a wide-ranging research project to examine promising trends in how lean evolves in organizations over time and sheds light on how the successful ones select the right metrics.
Lean operations has its roots in Toyota’s production system, which revolutionized the automaker’s manufacturing and supply chain processes in the latter half of the 20th century with its focus on reducing process waste and improving customer value.
With the help of COE Associate Director Tom Goldsby, visiting scholar Ilaria Raniero developed a new performance measurement framework for the lean supply chain.
John Matera, chief operation officer of prosthetic and medical device manufacturer Willow Wood and one of Raniero’s interviewees, said his part in the research project has helped the company take a closer look at its “voice of business,” which includes key financial and operational measures.
“The measurement system is something that drives the company’s behavior and drives employees’ behavior, too,” said Raniero of the Polytechnic Institute of Milan (Politecnico di Milano) in Italy,. “As companies adapt their strategy, they need to adapt their measurement systems accordingly.”
Where once Willow Wood was tracking as many as 15 business-related metrics, it’s now working down to half as many.
“Fifteen is a lot to keep track of on a regular basis,” Matera said. “Working with Ilaria has helped us focus on what’s important.”
The research, “Applying Lean Principles in the Supply Chain: An Examination of Measurement System Adaptation,” is the product of more than 80 hours of face-to-face interviews conducted between October 2012 and February 2013 with 10 companies, though much of the research looked in-depth at Dublin-based COE member Cardinal Health.
A so-called “structured adaptation” in measurement systems is a defining mark of a company making progress in its lean journey.
It’s this complex interplay that Alan Deutschendorf, vice president of operational excellence at Cardinal, says the company can evaluate with a renewed perspective after taking part in the COE-driven research.
“This has really given us food for thought as we update our strategy and tactics and continue to develop a culture of operational excellence,” he said.
To view an executive summary of the research, visit the Center for Operational Excellence blog, Think Op-Ex, or download the document.