WITH the volatile and uncertain market today, businesses have to adjust themselves more frequently so that they can better respond to challenges. For example, a factory may need to cope with lower demand, causing the lot size of an order to be smaller. Th
In the normal course of business, problemsolving is a necessary process that can involve many parties to ascertain that the company can encounter issues and get them fixed so that all are ready to take a new challenge. Practically, the brainstorming process on a particular issue will lead to finding the root cause of the problem before a workable solution can be proposed. Unfortunately, people often find that the expected result does not materialise and the action plan is not successfully implemented. How can one ensure that any problems with suggested solutions will disappear with effective execution? The following are important elements to be considered in coming up with a good action plan.
Clear action item: It is important for the team to clearly identify what actions are to be taken to resolve certain problems. This may consist of a list of actions to reach the target. For example, the actions to reduce operating cost may cover system automation, process improvement, agreement review and so on.
Clear objectives: Any actions to be taken should be linked to the clear objectives. It would be helpful for responsible people to understand why certain actions need to be taken. This will help gain full support from all concerned. For example, the office automation is aimed at direct cost saving on paper and reports.
Effective outcome measurement: The result of the implementation has to be measured and communicated in a timely manner so that necessary changes may need to be made along the way. Monitoring and close followup should be made and feedback given to the team for further actions.
Confirmed time frame: The clear schedule for each action should be established and the message communicated to team members to make sure that the result delivery has to meet the time target.
This will be part of the key performance indicators for the whole team.
Designated action owner: Each action requires a clearly identified, responsible person. This is necessary to ascertain that a particular task will be taken care of. In all cases, the followup can be addressed directly to that person to ensure the speed of the whole action is in accordance with the plan.
No matter what kind of problemsolving techniques the company may choose to implement, the final proposed solution is just the start of the whole process towards the expected result. Without proper management of the solution execution, it is risky for the company to stay at the same situation where the problem cannot get fixed. It is recommended that we pay more attention in managing the action plan to ensure the solution will be effective and successful.
Dr Yanyong Thammatucharee is head of International Finance and Operation at Central Marketing Group. He can be reached at email@example.com