Our continuing ode to Dr. W. Edwards Deming and his book titled “Out of the Crisis” summarizing his famous 14-point management philosophy.
Deming Point # 9 – Break down barriers between departments
Your company needs to have a shared vision, that servicing the customer is what makes the company succeed.
Once the customer concept is instilled, the team needs to understand that there are customers both outside and within your walls. Every process within your operation, whether direct or indirect, has “customers” of the work that they do. Receiving has customers within accounting and warehousing, accounting has customers within purchasing and human resources. Whenever you shirk your responsibilities, you cause extra work for an internal customer and costs rise. That makes you less competitive in the marketplace without even considering the manufacturing of the product.
One way to build in empathy for other departments is to maximize cross-training. The practice of “walking in another’s shoes” does a lot to drive home that how you do your job, effects many others.
Help your team to realize that arrive at best practices is more about collaborating and coming to a consensus than talking things over and compromising with each other. The prior is optimizing, the latter is settling.
More blog posts about Deming’s 14 points: