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Business and Management

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UVA-OM-1497
Authorized for use only in the course EMBA 816 Production and Operations Management at University of Regina taught by James Mason from Jan 03, 2015 to Apr 30, 2015. Use outside these parameters is a copyright violation.
Rev. Apr. 7, 2014

DARDEN BUSINESS PUBLISHING GETS LEAN (A) Darden Business Publishing (DBP) prepared business case studies for use in the Darden classroom and, simultaneously, for publication and sales worldwide through both its own website and those of partner distributors. The case collection was a key manifestation of Darden’s intellectual capital and value proposition; new cases kept the MBA curriculum relevant and imparted thought leadership by Darden faculty and researchers. But Steve Momper, DBP’s director, had grown frustrated by a backlog of work in process (WIP) and an average 86-day lead time for case publication. Future growth in the business required an expansion of capacity, yet budget constraints had forced the elimination by attrition of two editor positions. Momper knew that the editing and publishing process required significant rework. The time was right to call on Austin English, a Darden alumnus whose consulting firm, RCF Associates, specialized in continuous process improvement (CPI). The Existing Process In recent years, DBP had grown rapidly, yet its process had never been reevaluated in its entirety so, over time, legacies had led to inefficiencies. There was more emphasis on beginning projects as they were received than on finishing those whose editing had already begun. A motivated faculty member with a tight deadline might be forced to wait in line while a colleague allowed months to elapse before reviewing a draft. In some instances, so much time would pass that a faculty author not only would no longer need the case but would barely recall the work in question. The selection from the pipeline of cases or products to edit did not appear to follow any pattern. Sometimes, DBP operated with a first-in-first-out approach; other times, a random or preferential one, as more pragmatic authors learned to employ squeaky-wheel tactics. In the absence of prioritization protocols, editors tended to respond to emergency editing requests rather than shepherding WIP documents through their final steps. The process’s inefficiencies led to staff frustration that inevitably rendered the process even less efficient. Momper was

This case was prepared by Rebecca Goldberg (MBA ’03), Austin English (MBA ’91), and Elliott N. Weiss, Oliver Wight Professor of Business Administration. It was written as a basis for class discussion rather than to illustrate effective or ineffective handling of an administrative situation. Copyright 2013 by the University of Virginia Darden School Foundation, Charlottesville, VA. All rights reserved. To order copies, send an e-mail to sales@dardenbusinesspublishing.com. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, used in a spreadsheet, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise—without the permission of the Darden School Foundation.

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UVA-OM-1497
Authorized for use only in the course EMBA 816 Production and Operations Management at University of Regina taught by James Mason from Jan 03, 2015 to Apr 30, 2015. Use outside these parameters is a copyright violation.

hopeful but unsure about how CPI principles would apply in an enterprise as discretiondependent as editing. English explained his work philosophy: Process improvement techniques can be used beneficially in almost any setting, including one like writing or editing, where creativity, art, and customer service are important components of successful work products. Personal feelings certainly affect CPI. I know we don’t live in an ideal world, but if we did, everyone would engage in CPI with the attitude of, “If it smells like muda, it’s muda.1 We can work together to eliminate it.” We could plan a series of half-day workshops—perhaps five, over the course of a week—during which we could walk through a set of group analysis exercises. These would help the group understand more about the work process, what your products are, who your customers are, and which actions might help you build a more consistent flow. Throughout the workshops, I will encourage participants to discuss common problems and even to get things that are irking them off their chests. The group will collect their comments on sticky notes on the board. Then, we’ll spend some time grouping the sticky notes into categories. These categories will be instrumental in helping us determine which of these groupings of problems pinpoints the larger issues that your value stream faces. I’m not here to tell you how to do your job, or, at this point, to delve too deeply into the intricacies of your work. I see your current challenges as being more fundamentally about process and about your relationships with your upstream and downstream stakeholders.2 Momper readily agreed, and they planned for a week of half-day workshops to begin two weeks later with the entire DBP staff, including editorial, sales and marketing, and customer service. Workshop Day One English’s first hour-long workshop was an introduction to CPI; he emphasized value versus waste. He introduced the group to terms they were likely to hear over the ensuing week, including flow, pull, value, product analysis, and value stream analysis. He did not distinguish
1 2

Muda, Japanese for “waste,” is a term used frequently in CPI. All quotations are from a series of interviews conducted by Rebecca Goldberg in February and March 2013.

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UVA-OM-1497
Authorized for use only in the course EMBA 816 Production and Operations Management at University of Regina taught by James Mason from Jan 03, 2015 to Apr 30, 2015. Use outside these parameters is a copyright violation.

between Six Sigma and Lean philosophies other than to emphasize the eight forms of muda associated with Lean. He chose instead to emphasize a common vocabulary and getting people to “wear the tinted glasses that allow you to see waste.” English then guided them through the first—and often most difficult—step in improving a service organization: identifying all the products DBP produced. He asked the team to define each product in language agreed upon by all work group participants, an important prerequisite to analyzing a value stream and standardizing the process. He presented the group with a customer/product matrix worksheet (Exhibit 1). He explained that each product might have different types of customers—end users who consume a product for its intended purpose or brokers in downstream distribution. He then asked the group to create a list of DBP’s customers and describe each customer group’s relationship to DBP’s products. They came up with the following list, ranked in order of customer importance: 1. Students and individuals using cases: DBP staff members felt strongly that they should act as advocates for students using Darden cases and that DBP represent students’ needs during the editing process. 2. Internal faculty teaching cases at Darden: This customer group was considered an end user group as well as a member of the broker group. The teaching faculty and the students were defined as end users since they were using the cases in the classroom for their intended purpose. Brokers were those who helped to distribute or refer cases to end users, including external faculty and partner distributors such as Harvard Business Publishing. 3. External faculty teaching Darden cases at other universities: This group comprised end users and brokers of cases and represented one of DBP’s best untapped growth opportunities for new sales of cases. 4. Partners such as Harvard Business Publishing: These brokers of cases were a second important source of new business. 5. The Darden Case Collection: The department responsible for distribution of case materials on site at the Darden School was considered a fifth customer, because printing schedules for course materials were a factor in publication deadlines. At this point, English challenged the group to identify criteria important to each customer group and rate that level of importance as high, medium, or low. The team identified the following criteria: Ease of access Extension of class experience Brevity Clarity Variety

-4Timeliness, relevance, freshness Cost Supporting material Quality (accuracy, errors, etc.)

UVA-OM-1497
Authorized for use only in the course EMBA 816 Production and Operations Management at University of Regina taught by James Mason from Jan 03, 2015 to Apr 30, 2015. Use outside these parameters is a copyright violation.

The work group found this activity immensely helpful. English encouraged the team to express issues and thoughts on process impediments so he could record them on sticky notes to be analyzed later. This discussion tended to reveal different perspectives on why the group was in business and which customers the team served: If I can get them focused on the need to satisfy their customer, all of a sudden people shift their focus away from the negatives or the things that might be holding them back. I try to drive the conversation toward describing the customer. Who uses your product? I also try to get people to move away from internal/external customer distinctions. Often, people describe a customer group as internal to indicate that they can do a bad job and the internal customers can’t do anything about it, but all customer groups should be thought of as external. Workshop Day Two On the second day, English introduced a value stream mapping (VSM) activity to outline processes at a high level while bringing out issues that inhibited good process flow or that were potential wastes. The mapping activity proceeded as follows: 1. Upstream suppliers of content were represented by boxes to the left; downstream receivers of finished products were placed in boxes to the right. Between the two, each step of the process was given a box with a title, such as “Upload” or “Edit.” Within each box, the step or subprocess was broken down further into a sequence of activities (Exhibit 2; see Exhibit 3 for final process flow diagram). 2. Lines were drawn to depict the flow of material. This step helped the group differentiate between the types of material flows that would represent a pull system and those that would occur as part of a push system.3

3 Whether a system is “pushing” or “pulling” production depends on the influence of demand. In a push system, demand must be estimated; products are then “made to stock” in quantities that may take advantage of economies of scale. In a pull system, each customer order pulls production through the process. Efficiencies allowed by a pull system, including the dramatic reduction of inventory holding and other “hidden” costs, may be pursued where production and logistics can be accomplished within an acceptable time frame and where the system is flexible enough to respond to dramatic demand fluctuations.

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UVA-OM-1497
Authorized for use only in the course EMBA 816 Production and Operations Management at University of Regina taught by James Mason from Jan 03, 2015 to Apr 30, 2015. Use outside these parameters is a copyright violation.

3. Under each process step box, time estimates for value-added and non-value-added subprocesses were added using colorful sticky notes, forming a timeline at the bottom. 4. Current WIP data was collected by English and compared to the time estimates described above. As the activity proceeded, data and comments were recorded on sticky notes for future use. English described this: We walk all the way through the process, which might take six hours or more, to capture all the issues. Additional thoughts emerge about why their current process is ineffective, which we capture on the sticky notes and add to the growing pile— which often now numbers more than 100 notes. We walk through all the problems they’re having, and then we can talk about how they coordinate that process. The group defined the high-level process steps in the value stream map as Upload, Edit, Author Review, Create Metadata, Publish, and Distribute. Each high-level process contained within it several subprocesses, many of which involved coordination with external stakeholders. Next, each process step was labeled with average time estimates, and WIP quantities were estimated at each juncture. For the first time, the publishing team was able to separate the valueadded from the non-value-added activities, determining that the value-added time required to edit an average case was just under 27 hours. This exposed the 82 days of non-value-added time in the current system. What was more, the group suspected that the 27 hours could be reduced further. Huge demand surges throughout the year—large batches of cases and other publications “dumped in their laps” for editing and publication—were a particular source of waste, so the group created a graphic of demand patterns over an average year (Exhibit 4). Workshop Day Three English asked the team to imagine what its VSM diagram might look like a year after implementing changes. He tasked the group with envisioning its future goals and requested that the team continue to collect sticky notes of ideas and critiques throughout the discussion. English thought of this session as an opportunity for the group to practice applying Lean concepts and to start to drive its own future improvement. His experience taught him that one-piece flow facilitates this process. English then turned the group’s attention to the large accumulation of sticky notes, asking everyone to consolidate and classify them into eight to ten categories of issues. The team was not allowed to talk during the exercise. If a participant disagreed with someone else’s placement of a note, she or he was allowed to move it. Once agreed upon, the categories were to be given descriptive titles. Each category represented an opportunity for future process improvement

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UVA-OM-1497
Authorized for use only in the course EMBA 816 Production and Operations Management at University of Regina taught by James Mason from Jan 03, 2015 to Apr 30, 2015. Use outside these parameters is a copyright violation.

(Exhibit 5). This exercise had two benefits. Now that root causes of issues had been exposed, threads of actionable improvement were more visible; plus, building consensus silently was more inclusive to a variety of personality types, key to encouraging full participation in the solution. The team created the following categories: Large batches: Editing requests trickled in randomly, except for twice a year when the team was predictably inundated with large batches at deadlines for the printing of fall and spring course packets. It was impossible to prioritize, edit, and publish all of these simultaneously. When packets were due, the process flow and quality tended to become disrupted, and the “wheels fell off the bus.” Faculty turnaround time: The editing team would start a case as soon as it had been submitted, in part to take advantage of the author’s attention. Yet quick turnarounds did not necessarily inspire prompt author reviews; edited drafts might sit in an author’s inbox for six months or a year. That time and effort could have been better invested in a more pressing deadline or an author more available to work within the office’s timelines. Setup time: This stretched-out workflow forced both author and editor to become refamiliarized with a given case each time it was touched, which amounted to extra setup time. Negative emotions: Some faculty would become upset when the editing team could not turn a document around by the time it was needed. Negative faculty responses didn’t change the constraints or help the process—but they did make editors less comfortable in direct conversation with those faculty members. Submitted work not ready for editing: Cases written by students often needed significantly more editing time and could benefit from work by a more experienced author before they were submitted. All submitted cases really needed to be ready for the classroom. Additional duties: Cases were not the only work that came through the editing department; additional services provided included case revisions for inclusion in tenure and promotion packets for eligible faculty. These revisions created a flurry of activity in August, just as other faculty were submitting last-minute cases to be included in the fall semester’s course packets. The team also provided editing support for the Darden magazine, other Darden publications, and even faculty books. Product differences: Documents required a range of service levels. One professor might need a quick proofread to catch glaring issues before classroom use or company review; another might seek to perfect a developed product. Products to be offered for external sale had to meet a higher standard with regard to copyright and citation issues. Editor differences: Some editors worked faster than others and brought different skills to the table, and some had assigned authors that tended to submit work in batches, leading to larger backlogs.

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UVA-OM-1497
Authorized for use only in the course EMBA 816 Production and Operations Management at University of Regina taught by James Mason from Jan 03, 2015 to Apr 30, 2015. Use outside these parameters is a copyright violation.

Once this exercise was complete, English knew it was time to start making some decisions about solutions. DBP would be best served by focusing first on only a few, high-level process issues; refinements could be implemented later. So he asked the team to look critically at the relationships among the categories and then identify three targets for improvement.

Authorized for use only in the course EMBA 816 Production and Operations Management at University of Regina taught by James Mason from Jan 03, 2015 to Apr 30, 2015. Use outside these parameters is a copyright violation.

Source: RCF Associates; used with permission.

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Exhibit 1

DARDEN BUSINESS PUBLISHING GETS LEAN (A) Customer/Product Matrix

UVA-OM-1497

Authorized for use only in the course EMBA 816 Production and Operations Management at University of Regina taught by James Mason from Jan 03, 2015 to Apr 30, 2015. Use outside these parameters is a copyright violation.

Source: RCF Associates; used with permission.

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Exhibit 2

DARDEN BUSINESS PUBLISHING GETS LEAN (A) Value Stream Mapping Activity (Detail) UVA-OM-1497

Authorized for use only in the course EMBA 816 Production and Operations Management at University of Regina taught by James Mason from Jan 03, 2015 to Apr 30, 2015. Use outside these parameters is a copyright violation.

Source: RCF Associates; used with permission.

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Exhibit 3

DARDEN BUSINESS PUBLISHING GETS LEAN (A) Formalized Value Stream Mapping Diagram UVA-OM-1497

-11Exhibit 4 DARDEN BUSINESS PUBLISHING GETS LEAN (A)

UVA-OM-1497

Number of New and Revised Documents by Month, 2007 to 2012 (outlined bars and numbers indicate averages) New Cases

38 January

25 February

20 March

26 April
2007

18 May
2008 2009

12 June
2010

27 July
2011

47 August
2012

32

23

22

22

September October
AVERAGE

November December

Revised Cases

11 January

10 February

14 March

9 April
2007

21 May
2008 2009

33 June
2010

20 July
2011

20 August
2012

9

17

14

11

September October
AVERAGE

November December

Source: Darden Business Publishing.

Authorized for use only in the course EMBA 816 Production and Operations Management at University of Regina taught by James Mason from Jan 03, 2015 to Apr 30, 2015. Use outside these parameters is a copyright violation.

Authorized for use only in the course EMBA 816 Production and Operations Management at University of Regina taught by James Mason from Jan 03, 2015 to Apr 30, 2015. Use outside these parameters is a copyright violation.

Source: RCF Associates; used with permission.

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Exhibit 5

DARDEN BUSINESS PUBLISHING GETS LEAN (A) Categorizing Issues for Future Improvement

UVA-OM-1497

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...Name: Course name: Instructor’s name: Date: Business management plan Business success requires a breadth of knowledge and abilities and, in bringing together theory and practice. A business plan is an essential tool not only for those starting a business but also for those with existing businesses. A business plan is a guide to what a business will do, what it aims to achieve, how it will be accomplished and most importantly whether there is someone with the ability to do that. The business plan provides a complete description of a business idea, explaining its sales and marketing strategies, the management team, prediction of financial forecasts and operations. In short, a business plan enables a business idea to be transformed from the initial conception stage towards a fully reasoned and realistic plan of action (Blyth, M, 2013). A business plan also operates as a working document and essential management tool as it shows clearly how the business will proceed and the strategies it will employ. It enables possible obstacles to be avoided or minimized, targets to be focused upon and achieved, and effective structure to be put in place for a business strategies and finance. The business plan should be used as a guiding factor when it comes to decision making. It should be reviewed, modified and developed as the business evolves and progresses. It’s true that businesses that implement their business plan and keep it up to date can monitor their growth and are in a......

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