Nonetheless, we felt there was still more we could accomplish with the software. As our official certification came to pass, we began to target other improvement initiatives within the organization that would help us realize even more value with this software tool.
We have enjoyed many successes with our lean initiatives in the last several years and have even been recognized within the larger Daimler AG company on several occasions for projects that brought about significant change and impact to the bottom line. Still, as lean initiatives continue to evolve, we have seen many opportunities in our indirect office areas and support processes that fail to reach their full potential and have left us asking, "Is there a better solution?"
In the past, with process mapping being the predominant initial step in most of these indirect office areas or support process workshop efforts, we had widely adopted what I affectionately call "the brown paper approach." A group would assemble and then begin to place sticky notes across a large piece of brown construction paper in an attempt to resemble the actual target processes.
Although this approach offered its own challenges (sticky notes sliding off, unclear cryptic notes or missing information after the workshop completion, etc.), we all felt that we were left with something that we would inevitably have to come back to and re-map.
As second and third maps began to evolve that were either reiterations or similarities of something somewhere on one of these brown pieces of paper, we knew that we had to take action, or we would succumb to our documentation systems. In recognition of this dilemma, beginning late last year, we began to ramp-up our attempts to integrate the ARIS solution into this workshop format.
While we were initially bringing new process mapping symbols or objects/connectors (as we call them in ARIS) that were met with skepticism, we were finally beginning to see a common possibility with our internal lean initiative colleagues, and as such, have taken further steps to bring in a more customer-driven approach with tools such as the process turtle and enhanced waste analysis tools, including the "muda (waste) analysis." These tools build on each other and, in the end, we believe they center on a stable foundation as provided by the ARIS Business Architect software platform.
Looking ahead to the continued maturation of our now total business management system solution--which includes our QMS and all of these continuous improvement tools--we see an endless array of possibilities. As we continue to grow rich with process understanding and as a more comprehensive package of intertwined tools is available to departments or groups needing assistance, we are realizing that the next evolution of improvements we intend to implement: will include process optimization and resource capacity reporting. These next steps will allow us to take our strong product portfolio and maximize our resource allocations toward more value-added activities.
Aaron Troschinetz is the quality systems supervisor at the Detroit Diesel Redford facility where he is responsible for all quality-related ISO-certification matters. He also contributes to quality discussions across the Daimler Truck Group Powertrain/Engine and is a certified quality auditor and certified manager of quality/organizational excellence through the American Society of Quality.