The 5 Tiers of the Tier Process


In the previous post we emphasized the importance of having the right management process in place - "the right process will produce the right results." In our opinion, the Tier Process is the the right process for managing your organization to reach operational excellence.


Now that we have an understanding of the Tier Process at a high level, let's take a closer look at each of the five tiers that make up the process, starting from Tier 5 and working our way down to Tier 1.


Tier 5: Monthly Site Review Meeting

The Site Leadership Team and his or her direct reports will meet for 2-4 hours once a month to review the site's performance versus the goals they had set, other site imperatives, and associated improvement actions.

  • To do this successfully, the group will need to review updated and accurate site metrics. Where there are gaps, ensure that actions have been identified to close them.

  • The group will drill-down to review the Integrated Product Teams (IPTs) and Centers of Excellence (COEs) scorecards, and create mitigating actions for red and yellow scores as needed. Note: When there are consistent green indicators, challenge those goals.

  • Ensure that all existing projects are progressing and delivering expected results on time.

  • Review what needs to be done in the current month to achieve site continuous improvement goals.

Tier 4: Weekly IPT and COE Meetings

Each week, IPT Staff and COE Staff will conduct separate 60-90 minute team meetings focused on reviewing their performance versus goals, other site imperatives, and associated improvement actions.

  • The groups will review weekly metrics against targets, and where there are gaps ensure that actions have been identified to close the gaps.

  • Review existing projects which impact gaps identified and ensure they are progressing and delivering expected results on time.

  • Ensure resource intensive projects identified outside of these meetings are added to the project portfolio.

  • Prioritize projects, assign resources, and make this information visible for all levels at the site.

  • Discuss significant events and imperatives not covered by metrics (i.e., new product, major process change, pending shutdown, etc.).

  • Identify issues to elevate to site leadership team.

Tier 3: Daily Site Leadership Meeting

Each business day, the site manager and his direct reports will meet for 30 minutes at the Site Value Chain Review Board (located as close to the shop floor as possible).

  • The purpose of this meeting is threefold: 1.) Address issues that cannot be resolved with the IPT/COE, 2.) Ensure actions within a 30 day horizon are completed on time, and 3.) Drive leadership presence on the shop floor.

  • Assign actions to address issues and opportunities, which may include resource reallocation across IPTs and COEs.

  • Conduct Gemba Walk (once per week) of a selected area to ensure standardized tier processes are followed (Tier 1 & 2) and provide lean coaching.

Tier 2: Daily IPT Walk-Through Meetings

The members of the IPTs and COEs will conduct a 30 minute walkthrough the value stream at the visual boards.

  • The purpose of this meeting is to manage short time horizon (1-2 days) to ensure targets are achieved and improvement actions are resourced and completed. Note: this is not a detailed problem solving forum, so do not stop production.

  • Review performance metrics and value stream data to understand what actions are required across areas of the overall value stream to meet customer needs.

  • Walk the value stream, review area production status and performance against targets, where there are gaps ensure that issues associated with the gaps have been identified by the local team.

  • Ensure common and/or top problems are identified visually.

  • Make assignments based on top problems clearly indicating responsibilities and due dates.

  • Review the status of projects and ensure commitments are being met.

  • Review upcoming events affecting the IPT in the next 1-2 days.

  • If applicable review other suggestions/opportunities raised by operators and the team.

Tier 1: Daily Shift Change Meetings

At every shift change the oncoming shift team meets with the leaving shift at the appropriate Tier 1 board in order to manage to a short event horizon (previous shift and the next 1 or 2 shifts) with little to no production interruption.

  • Effective and efficient transfer of current (on-going) work answering the question "what do we need to do today."

  • Communicate status of production - are we behind? If behind, what issues do we have and what will be done to recover?

  • Raise issues associated with Safety, Quality, Delivery, and Cost from previous shift.

  • Ensure issues/opportunities are documented on the board.

  • Commit to actions as appropriate and ensure they are listed on the opportunity board.

Overall Conditions for Success

In order for this process to reach overall success, the following conditions need to be met:

  • Tier boards should be designed and implemented by the process owners and respective teams with help from Lean Experts. Note: make sure to include shop floor operators in the development of the Tier 1 board.

  • Keep the design/use of the tier boards as simple and visual as possible to minimize additional workload.

  • Establish a clear connection between processes and their respective customer deliverables.

  • Ensure adequate functional support is given to the shop floor to solve problems and thereby avoid frustration with inadequate or slow functional support.

  • Establish key behaviors for each Tier and hold people accountable for their behaviors and assigned responsibilities.

  • Clear linkage of issues and prioritization based on performance impact.

  • At all five levels, drive actions from meetings by standardizing agenda (what is the action, who is responsible, when should it be done, and what are the resulting actions).

The Tier Process is the most effective process to manage your organization and drive operational excellence. However, as you can see to properly implement the process and achieve the right results it will take a huge commitment from everyone, especially senior leadership.


If you would like to learn more about the Tier Process, contact us at info@thinkrci.com. Remember, When Results Matter, ThinkRCI!


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