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TLS Continuum Toolbox Newsletter:Process Improvement Roadmap

TLS Continuum Manifesto Principle 9: The TLS Continuum is focused on the development of a process improvement roadmap.

We believe that the path to continuous process improvement is he development of a log-based toolkit that can be used to develop process maps, and value stream maps to establish a standard method for controlling process flow. While not mandating a process, since recognizing that now two problems will be resolved in the same fashion, we recognize that there are certain steps that should be common to all continuous process improvement efforts. It is incumbent on the organization to provide a roadmap of these streps incurring the use of management tools.

Strategy #1: Join the process. Toyoda tells us that we learn by doing. So open a new browser tab and take your pick (I use both regularly so try both) Freemind ( ) or Draw,Io ( Both are free downloads and easy to use.

In our soon to be released new book, The TLS Continuum Field Guide: How the Theory of Constraints, Lean and Six Sigma will transform your operations and process flow, to be released later this year by Routledge Press we presented such a roadmap. It would be prudent at this point to walk you through the process steps and how it might affect your organization.

TLS Continuum Implementation Roadmap

Step 1: Gain Knowledge

Learn your organizational processes. Schedule a Gemba Walk through each of your processes from beginning to end. Include your customers and your suppliers. Know the entirety of the process chain like it was the back of your hand.

Step2: Stop and Smell the Roses

Create a process gate where you determine whether you have in fact accumulated all the knowledge you need to resolve the problems facing the organization. Do you know and understand the roles of each step of the process?

Step 3: Build you cross-functional team

Identify and select the members of your cross-functional team based on their skills, passion towards improvement and willingness to create something new. Select team members from within and without of the organization.

Step 6: Institute a feedback loop

The feedback loop should run from gaining knowledge to building the cross-functional team. Based on the System thinking tool “the world café”, its purposes is for the team to gain the knowledge of the process and the knowledge of the team and determine the organizational value proposition. The value proposition is a simple statement which describes why the organization exists and what we are promising to our customers.

Step 7: Cross-Functional Team creates a full kit

Taken from the new book Goldratt’s Rules of Flow, it simply is a detailed list of all the resources that will be needed by the team to complete the project. Be sure to include everything. For example, if you are going fishing, you need the rod and reel, but you also need the net, bait and fishing line.

Step 8: Stop and Smell the rose 2

The team needs to review the full kit and make sure you did not forget a resource needed for the project. It includes machines, methods, people, management etc.

Step 9: Process Identification

Using the tools from design thinking and system thinking, the team needs to identify the problem. This means including the replacement of discussions with dialogue. We want to explore the issues not someone else’s assumptions. From the dialogue the team and management construct the project charter which outlines the roadmap.

Step 10: Stop and Smell the Roses 3

Once again with the conclusion of a step in the process (problem id), we stop and review whether we included everything correctly.

Step 11: Remove the System Constraint

The team takes steps to find what is holding up the system and takes concrete steps to remove those conditions that are causing the constraint. Should include the removal of non-value-added wastes in your processes.

Step 12: Stop and Smell the Roses 3

This represents the final process check. The team should review the full kit again to see whether you have used all the resources that you needed. Did you determine the problem correctly? Did you complete all the process Steps? Do you have evidence-based metrics for all your measurements?

Step 13: Implementation of the solution

Congratulations. You have discovered how to improve the system and you have implemented the identified solutions. Now it is time to let the organization have at it and fix the problem.

The roadmap, as we have seen does not have to be complicated. It can be done either with a computer assisted software or you can draw it long hand with a pencil and paper. But you should develop a similar roadmap for your projects.

Next: Principle 10: Through the use of logical-thinking tools, the TLS Continuum will establish a universal problem-solving process

 About the author: Daniel Bloom knows HR and Change Management. He’s a speaker on transformational HR, a strategic HR consultant and trainer. Looking to ways to enhance your vale to your organization? We now offer virtual fully accredited six-sigma yellow belt certification training. Learn more at