How Kaas Tailored Uses A Daily Management System

In the fall of 2020, Kaas Tailored hosted a series of Zoom calls unpacking our Daily Management System (DMS). Each month we focused on a different element of our DMS, starting with strategy, then discussing daily huddles, then talking about Visual Management Systems (VMS), and ending with Leader Standard Work. In this post, Jeff takes a closer look at how Kaas Tailored uses their Daily Management System.

Start with Strategy

Strategy comes from the corner office. At Kaas Tailored, strategy is the most important thing when it comes to creating a Daily Management System because it answers the question, “where are we going?” If you don’t know where you are going, you could be having a lot of meetings about nothing. It is my responsibility to not only declare who we want to be when we grow up as a company, but it is also my job to give some of the key guardrails for decision making. Those come in the form of beliefs, policies, or challenges that I give to the organization. Your strategy must be very consistent in one direction. In a lot of companies, it is normal for the strategy to shift every time a boss changes or every time the boss reads a new book.

At Kaas Tailored, our strategy has been all about growing people by eliminating waste. And that has been our strategy for most of my lifetime. We are getting better about explaining our values like know and show the truth, improve every day, and best for our best. We live and die by the idea that we want to shine our light in our community, which is exactly why you are here today. Hopefully, we can be a blessing to you, and you can turn what we share with you into something valuable for the people in your life.

A specific example that I have given as a challenge to the team currently is to take the current time it takes to create value of any kind and cut it by 75%. So if we want to grow a leader to run an area of our business and it takes us three years, I want it to happen in ten months. If it currently takes us twenty-five minutes to get data to answer a question, I want to get to the point where it takes us about 7.

Daily Management System and Daily Huddles

The next step in our Daily Management System is a tiered huddle structure. A tiered huddle is a way to create one-piece flow for information, ideas, and project management, like the one-piece flow we have in place for the products we make.

The way we achieve one-piece flow for information at Kaas Tailored is through our tiered huddle structure. Our standard format for Daily Huddles is: help, share, appreciate, and, what are you doing today. For example, in the woodshop, we have a short huddle every morning, and everyone in the huddle answers the following questions, “What help do you need? What would you like to share? What are you doing today? And do you have any appreciations to share with the team?”

After the individual department huddles, the leaders of multiple departments get together at 7:00 am, and then I attend one at 7:30 am every day. During this huddle, we talk about everything from the moment the customer has an idea to the moment the product gets delivered; we call this an end-to-end discussion. The whole idea is for us to know the truth. These are the habits that we have, and we want to make sure that there is never a time where value creation is blocked. That is what the daily huddle is for – it is about applying one-piece flow thinking to information.

How Kaas Tailored Incorporates a Visual Management System

The third section of our DMS is the Visual Management System (VMS). Visual management is all baked into science. Science proves that once human beings see something, they get it. If you ever go on a tour of our factory at Kaas Tailored, you can stand in the middle of the factory floor and see our television screens and status boards. You can see the status of every worker and workgroup, each department, and their year-to-date. You can also observe if there is inventory or not. The power of a VMS is the idea of human beings always knowing the truth so that they can move forward. You also see visual management in the way that we try to communicate our ideas. There are whiteboards everywhere so that everyone involved in a conversation can understand what is going on.

How Kaas Tailored is Learning about Leader Standard Work

The last element is Leader Standard Work. I did not realize that I had Leader Standard Work in place until reflecting with our friends at Nordstrom. I do have standard work for my day, which consists of content, sequence, timing, and expected outcome. What I mean by that is, when I wake up in the morning, I am a pretty rotten guy. I am already thinking bad things. So I start the morning by watching the sunrise, looking for what I call the airshow (the birds that fly at sunrise), reading the Bible, praying, and reflecting. If I don’t do my time there every day, I behave horribly for the rest of the day. So if I am to create value in the world, I start my day with what I call “Coffee and Christ.”

After that, I want to do a little bit of my own creative time alone. Wherever my head is, I want to do a little reflection and be thinking about what is important to me today. What has somehow arrived in my brain is usually caused by something I learned the day before.

The third step in my day is collaboration, and there is a schedule for this. I want to wake up, do my coffee and creative time, and then have some time to reflect on what I have been thinking about, and I do that daily with Oz or Jamie. We ask, “Hey, what is on your mind? What did you wake up with?” Often, after sleeping after a rotten day, there is something awesome that happens that next morning. It is important to take the time to listen to that.

Then the fourth thing is jumping into my daily huddle call, which is where I focus on the today stuff. What I know about myself, from a Leader Standard Work perspective, is that today always wins. I tend to get very hijacked on that call because today is a little bit stressful. We are not calling and talking about all the awesome things that are happening, although sometimes we do. Very frequently, we are talking about things that are going sideways. I will often go for a walk during that call to let my body have a little bit of air while I am freaking out.

If you would like to learn more about how to implement a Daily Management System within your organization or more about Kaizen and Continuous Improvement, consider signing up for a Kaas Tailored Waste Tour