One of the prime challenges we had been facing were concerned with priority. People just do not seem to understand priority.
Traditionally priority has to be assigned by a person ‘in the know’ or by the team lead. He establishes the process and sets it in motion. The others follow the leader and work runs smoothly. So we hope!
Quite often people are slaves to old bad habits. And these habits die really really hard. We found that most people seemed to process materials on a first cum first basis instead of establishing priority. Since we knew we had to establish priority early, we came out with a monthly list of items with dates sorted from the immediate to later.
To have a check and make sure that we do not screw up anywhere we got people to sit together once a week and discuss the items to be taken up from the list, the following week. This is in sync with the PDCA cycle. We found that people invariably took up items which were the easiest to procure than the ones which had to be completed immediately.
Week after week we missed priority after priority until the ones marked immediate almost always bombed on our heads. Finally we decided to adhere to the list from top to bottom strictly in our weekly meetings. Things seem to have looked up since then. We are a tad slower and its difficult and a constant watch is needed to nudge the people in the right direction, but atleast we got it right this time.