The Concept Of Interactive Workshop
Interactive Workshops is a lean tool used to improve narrow-scoped processes. It involves refining and developing the suggestions received from the shop floor and other levels of the organization and turning them into solutions to improve operations and customer satisfaction.
The interactive workshop has four main purposes
- Provide fast paced improvement to increase customer satisfaction
- Reduce waste as seen by the team
- Make incremental improvements on existing processes
- Empower the workforce and get people involved
When is it a good time to initiate an Interactive Workshop ?
Once the workforce has been exposed to the power and capability of the lean tools, ideas begin to flow and will be submitted during the periodic meetings and in suggestion boxes provided by the management. It is important to decide the timing of the workshop to ensure stability of existing process and avoid involving a large part of the workforce during busy cycles. The opportunity to improve the process may be noticed during the busy period of operation and the workshop may be conducted during the off season.
The role of different players in the workshop
A successful interactive workshop requires team effort and participation from different levels of the organizational hierarchy. The main players in the conduct of the workshop are:
- The Sponsor. Usually a member of the leadership who selects the project from the many suggestions he receives from the shop floor after considering organizational priorities. He also selects the team leader and has a voice in the selection of the team. He is also responsible to provide time, resources and motivation for the conduct of the RIW and assist in the implementation of the suggested solution.
- Team Leader. The team leader is selected by the sponsor for his understanding of the project and knowledge of lean tools. In consultation with the sponsor, he selects the project team and is responsible for the conduct of meetings. If required, he assigns responsibilities to team members for different sub tasks and is responsible to resolve disputes and build a consensus. At the culmination of the RIW, he heads the implementation of the solution found by his team.
- The Workshop Coordinator. The Workshop Coordinator is a vital member of the project team who brings to the table his knowledge of similar events conducted in the past and inputs from many other projects with which he has been associated. He coaches and guides the team and assists in channelizing the discussions towards finding a solution.
Methodology of the workshop
The workshop usually follows the classic DMAIC methodology. It is critical for the success of the workshop that the status and designation of team members is left outside the door before commencing discussions. The interactions must loosely follow an agenda proposed by the team leader and a written record of ideas and points must be maintained. The lean coordinator will assist the team with various tools and frameworks that will help in focusing the discussions.