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Performance Improvement - Factors, Solutions, Intervention, & Evaluation

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Read the following scenario and respond to the questions that follow.

The workers on the assembly line of the WizzyWats factory were not identifying defective components correctly, as the items passed their stations. This led to an increase in defective products, a loss of production, and a frustrated management team.

The company hired a consultant to monitor the workflow, but the consultant was unable to locate any problems with the machines or the speed of the line. Therefore, the only conclusion identified, related to the workers' level of alertness and fatigue. Based on this conclusion, the consultant made two recommendations:

1. Comfortable chairs were added to the assembly line.
2. Timely breaks were scheduled for the workers.

Over a period of time, these interventions did not produce any significant change in production. Workers still failed to identify defective components properly.

1. What factors could be included in this study that were overlooked by the consultant?
2. Select a solution and decide which level of intervention seems most appropriate for implementing your solution.
3. State the reasons for your selection and describe what that intervention might look like.
4. How would you evaluate your intervention to know that you were successful?

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Solution Preview

The case indicates that the problem has something to do with the inability of the workers in the assembly line to identify or detect the defective products that pass through their stations.
The consultant hired was not able to identify problem in the machines hence concluded that the problem lies in alertness and fatigue level of the workers. This prompted him to recommend some modifications in the work schedule and the provision of comfortable chairs in the assembly line.

Factors that could be included in the study that were overlooked by the consultant:
It could be noticed that the consultant limited the possible cause of the problem in two physical characteristics of the workers - alertness and fatigue. Other related characteristics such as age, competence, commitment, job engagement, and motivation level that may have a bearing in thier inadequacies have not been taken into account. Furthermore, the kind of supervision provided and physical characteristics of the work stations (e.g. lighting, temperature) should have been taken into account too. The tasks (other than checking ...

Solution Summary

Factors, solutions, interventions and evaluations for performance improvement is examined.

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Performance Improvement: HPI/Gap Analysis

1. On an airplane, you find yourself sitting next to an executive whose goodwill is important to you either as a client or as a senior leader of your company. The executive asks, "You said that you are performance improvement consultant. What exactly does one do?" You have less than 3 minutes (3 short paragraphs) to explain the HPT/HPI processes you use to get results and tie everything back to that executive's business.

2. Because of your great efficiency and expertise in performance improvement, you have been reassigned to a project that is behind schedule due to the loss of several key staff members. Before taking any action, what information are you going to ferret out about the project and how will you use it to get the project back on track?

3. Due to a down-turn in the economy, your company has been experiencing financial losses in revenue. You have been asked to put together a team that will find 3-5 low-cost or no-cost ways to resource costs by 25% for your company's main product line. You are being given less 6 weeks to identify and test these cost-cutting measures. If they work in a pilot, you and your team guide the organization through the changes, if not your team will be "redeployed". With no margin for error, you feel that it is imperative that evaluation be "right" from the beginning. Identify the evaluations and key decisions that need to be made in each of the next six weeks. (Reminder: this isn't about designing the solutions but the plan to get to solutions.)

4. What is the relationship between a cause analysis and a requirements definition (often a document)? How does one impact the other? How does information flow between the two? Also explain what a "cause analysis" is including what information is needed before starting the cause analysis, what information would be gathered during the analysis and what decisions would be made based on that analysis. Then, explain what requirements are and how they will be used.

5. Explain what a "gap analysis" is including how gaps are defined and measured. Be sure to address how gap analysis relates to needs, requirements, design, project scoping, evaluation and evaluation planning.

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