What Impact does a Silo Mentality have on our Business?

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We are all familiar with working in silos, but what does that really do to our business?

Do we all have a common aim? A common goal? Or does our Silo mentality drive behaviours which are beneficial for individual, departmental – indeed ‘SILO’ gains?

Let’s look at some examples;

The Capital Engineer who is rewarded for delivering at a lower than expected CAPEX budget, but the inferior equipment means extra burden on OPEX budget.

The Operations Team retrospectively amending ‘plans’ or productivity figures to show better O.E.E. results to avoid a confrontation with management.

The Quality team who impose ‘must do’ tasks on Operations as a knee-jerk reaction to appease regulators

I am sure you have other examples of these types of waste in your organisation.

Recognising the problem

W.Edwards Deming recognised the problem –

“What we need to do is learn to work in the system, by which I mean that everybody, every team, every platform, every division, every component is there not for individual competitive profit or recognition, but for contribution to the system as a whole on a win-win basis.”

It takes openness, honesty and integrity to develop this environment and system. Indeed the media is currently reporting some potential problems at one of the UK’s leading supermarkets. Has Silo worked contributed to the problem there?

How do we change managing by numerical objective?

A clear set of objectives from the most senior direction setters in the business must be produced. The Vision might be called. From here all Objectives, Goals Strategies and Measures can be set. Crucially they must all support the vision at every level of the organisation in enabling the fulfilment of the customers’ requirements – i.e.add value.

They must empower and enable the people who add value to our products and services to do what they need to do with as little waste as possible. Management and Supervision must become ‘help and support’, not finger wagers and shouters. Issues that arise for the value adders in the business must be overcome to their satisfaction, not mended with a sticking plaster.

This change in the way we look at the way we all work and interact is part of the journey to ‘Inverting the triangle’.


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