business career entrepreneur success

Transition to Management

Preparing for a management role

The transition from technical professional to manager involves a career change — and this can be disruptive and challenging. Your focus shifts from the factual world of systems and processes to one of budgets, people, and politics. Even if you’re highly skilled in your field, you’ll need different skills to be a good manager — so preparation is essential.

To prepare for your move into management, you should consider taking these four steps:

  • educate yourself about how your company works and what it takes to be a good manager,
  • examine and align yourself with your company’s mission and culture,
  • think about what your approach to the role will be, and
  • plan the expectations you’ll have as a manager in advance.

Educating yourself

Your first step is to educate yourself about the way your company works and how you’re expected to do your job. It’s a good idea to review your company’s policies, to ask your current manager for advice or any reference material you may need, and to attend managerial training.

Review company’s policies

Although you won’t be expected to have all the answers on your first day, you should refresh your knowledge of company procedures and policies so you know what rules you’re expected to enforce. Your company’s employee handbook is a useful place to start.

For example, you need to brush up on hiring regulations, and vacation and overtime policies. You should also know how often performance reviews must be conducted.

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business career entrepreneur success

Pull Systems in Future State Mapping

How do you improve efficiency in a situation where processes change often or aren’t repeatable?

A pull production system

One way is to implement a pull production system to balance the production line. With a push system, materials and information move forward once a process is complete.

This doesn’t consider whether there’s enough capacity to continue processing at the next stage or even if there’s a requirement of materials. In contrast, with pull systems, materials and information move only when they’re needed by a process further down the line.

A push production system

Consider a customer ordering stools for his bar. A push system would send the order to the first process in the production line and then push the product through each subsequent process.

If a pull system is used, the order goes directly to the inspection process, finished products are pulled from inventory, and then orders are pulled from the painting process.


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Identifying Process Blocks in a Value Stream Map

In any process, you won’t get the desired results if there are any bottlenecks. In a value stream, such a bottleneck is known as a process block. So you need to identify process blocks as soon as sources of waste have been identified. A process is blocked if cycle time exceeds takt time.

Cycle time

Cycle time is the time it takes to complete a cycle, or task, excluding any waiting or queuing time. And takt time is the time a task must be completed in for production to continue at a rate that matches customer demand, given the work time that’s available.

Determining the time it takes to complete a task is fairly easy but you need to calculate takt time. The formula for this is net operating time per period divided by the customer requirements for that period.

Operating time

But what’s the net operating time? It’s the number of working hours per shift, minus time taken for breaks and meetings.

Consider an example. At an electronics manufacturer, the team calculates takt time by dividing the available time per shift — 7 hours, which is 420 minutes — by the required output per shift — 35 products. So 420 divided by 35 equals a takt time of 12 minutes.

As the cycle time of the painting process is 14 minutes, there’s a block, because this exceeds the takt time.

A bar chart is useful for finding process blocks. This allows you to chart out the completion time of each process and check these against the takt time. For example, if a bar chart shows the cycle time of three processes as 20 minutes, 15 minutes, and 18 minutes, and the takt time is 15 minutes, the first and last processes are bottlenecks, because their cycle times exceed takt time.


business career entrepreneur success

Identifying Waste in a Value Stream Map

When analyzing value streams, you’re trying to root out inefficiencies — in other words, you’re figuring out what doesn’t add value, or is wasteful.

Identify sources of waste

When analyzing future-state value stream maps, you need to ensure all waste is removed because these maps are meant to provide strategic direction for future improvements and for measuring performance. If anything is wasted, these predictions may be off.

So when developing a future-state value stream map, you first identify sources of waste highlighted in the current-state map. Then you identify process blocks — areas where bottlenecks are occurring — and try to balance the production line.

5 Whys

Once you’ve identified waste, use the 5 Whys process — asking five “why” questions — to help determine its root cause.

For instance, say an operator spends ten minutes gathering required components, you could ask them why it took so long. Perhaps they explain that the stock is kept in a separate room in five different boxes. So you ask why it’s in so many boxes. And so on until you get to the source of the problem.
Consider the types of waste you encounter.

Why excess motion?

Excess motion, for one, is unnecessary movement and time spent walking around. For example, in a home theater system assembly line, workers may make several trips to collect components. A way to combat this motion waste is to put the components closer to the workers and giving them a trolley to collect a bunch at once.