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The Impact Involved Sponsors Have Towards Success

David Wilt, Operations Architect | December 4, 2023
General Blog

The concept of an involved sponsor has a proven correlation to a successful project. As we look back at the different plants I have worked on, you will find that one factor drives the success of a new plant project; an involved sponsor. The sponsor may or may not have initiated the project but is the one who drives the culture and acceptance of the project.

As I end a year-long Process Improvement (PI) engagement, I cannot help but compare the eight (8) different plants worked on during this time. The primary driver for the plants was to improve productivity and, specifically, to reduce the amount of scrap produced/improve the quality values. As many of you know, quality is one of the three factors in the OEE equation (Performance x Availability x Quality). The quality values were considered the most controllable contributor to the OEE , which was why they focused on scrap reduction focus. InSource was hired to help make the company’s goal a reality.

These plants all produced similar consumer goods and are generally in the same physical condition. The plant management team all had the same technologies and training as well.  What is certainly different, though, is the level at which local sponsors were “involved and how that impacted the results of the PI initiative.

I define involvement as "engaging or employing oneself into an activity." When a project requires success, the sponsor must be part of the action/activity. ”

There is a direct correlation between how involved a sponsor is and how successful the project was and continues to be. When the sponsor was involved and led by example, it positively affected the primary team members. When the sponsor provided leadership, time, & energy to see the project through, the improvements added to an overall successful endeavor. As Sponsors got involved, it modeled proper behavior to others on the team.

Recent example: A production line was experiencing much higher scrap levels than its sister lines (two other lines within the same building) The sponsor truly took the new system to heart, from improving communications, to using imbedded technology and holding the plant as a whole responsible for improvements, this resulted in a 40% drop in scrap! Quite impressive.

The concept of an involved sponsor and a successful project has positively affected every project or team over the past 26 years I have been a part of, so these recent results are no surprise. Those projects where the sponsor was intimately involved proved to have the best outcomes. My favorite leading indicator for success is this notion of involved sponsors, and I mean sponsors who are genuinely involved. As expected, negative or slow results happened for less active sponsors; the correlation is hard to refute.  

Improvement is not easy; it takes time and resources. Throughout these projects, we found that the primary resource needs to be the sponsor, the involved sponsor! A favorite adage is, “Any job worth doing is worth doing right,” and having an active sponsor helps this come to fruition!  

We at Insource Solutions believe in the team’s power to work together and involvement at all levels of the plant to create success. With our training and processes, we are confident that we can help your plant (and sponsors) reach its potential and genuinely have a productive, dynamic team!