Five Reasons Daily Gap Analysis Thinking Is Critical to Manufacturing Performance Improvement

Five Reasons Daily Gap Analysis Thinking Is Critical to Manufacturing Performance Improvement

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Stop for one minute.  I’m serious.  Slow down and take a minute to assess where your mind is right now.  Do you feel that you have a solid understanding of the issues that need to be addressed in your operation today?  When you walked into the office, what was the first thing you did when you sat down at your desk?  Did you even get to your desk before the first urgent issue required your attention?

Time and intense pressure can cloud useful problem identification.  Leaders can struggle with applying resources to the priority issues.  Poor performance can add urgency in decision-making.  Over time, even the most reliable leader can find it difficult to remain engaged or to maintain their natural leadership style.  Overwhelm can set in.

No operational leader should have to struggle with problem identification and poor performance.  There is a process that can be used daily to clear the way for accurate problem assessment.  Gap analysis thinking adds clarity to a leader's daily routine.

My career as an operational leader has been filled with problem identification opportunities and successful solutions.  But, along the way I have experienced failures as well.  When a solution failed, looking back, I recognized that I hadn't stopped to look at the data, that I rushed to a conclusion or took a shortcut that affected the outcome.

My leadership path began as a manufacturing employee on the plant floor and has extended to executive management.  I fully understand the gap analysis process and the effective use of data to identify priority manufacturing problems. Most experts will use gap analysis as a process to determine priority projects.  I recommend this as well.  But to navigate the daily challenges that occur in manufacturing, a daily gap analysis process is a method that can produce significant results.

Why is Daily Gap Analysis Thinking Critical? 

1. Gap Analysis is a way to organize information

Operational leaders strive to think methodically.  The basics of running a manufacturing operation can include standard work, operator training, and job safety analysis along with customer requirements and specifications.  Financial data reviews can require complex presentations to high-level executives.  All of this requires organized thinking and communication skills.

A daily gap analysis makes sense for operational leaders.  Thinking in a structured way that facilitates problem identification can provide understanding. 

2. Gap Analysis provides clarity and reduces frustration

Operational leaders need to think quickly and react in real time.  One characteristic that can set the operations group apart from others is the need to make immediate decisions with limited data.  Minutes count in manufacturing.  A daily gap analysis process can allow an operational leader to understand the current situation clearly and quickly.

While managing resources throughout the day, clarity regarding the highest priority problem in the facility can provide the operational leader with the information they need to make calm and consistent decisions.

3. Gap Analysis documentation provides a visual representation of the current situation

Operational leaders need to defend their decisions.  This comes with the territory.  They need to be able to explain their choices to their team, their peers and most importantly, their manager.  Without the data from a gap analysis, defending the decision could be subjective.  With a gap analysis, that decision can be defended with data that can be displayed visually.

Rather than spending unnecessary time debating the validity of decision-making, the conversation with any member of the team can be clear and concise.  Credibility increases when data is supporting the direction the leader is taking to resolve problems.

4. Gap Analysis provides the data for effective problem identification

Operational leaders, in general, are confident in their problem-solving capabilities. In some cases, a bit over-confident.  Why take time to gather data when the primary problem has already been defined in the mind of the leader?  If a problem is identified without the associated data to support that identification, the problem-solving process becomes more difficult.

Without a gap analysis that demonstrates a variance to the target, the problem statement cannot be accurately defined.  Practical problem solving requires a clear and concise problem statement.  A solution without the support of data is not sustainable. 

5. Gap Analysis benchmarks the current state and allows for accurate post problem performance monitoring

Operational leaders know that it’s important to understand the data before and after a solution is implemented to the problem.  Monitoring the data after the solution has been put in place is critical to determine if the fix was successful.

Gap analysis documents the variances before the development of a solution and can be used on a scheduled basis to monitor performance after the correction has been made.

Do you want to know more about implementing a process that facilitates daily gap analysis within your leadership team?  Do you see a training need for your organization that will initiate a step change in performance?

If you are looking for a partner to work with you to develop your daily gap analysis process, please reach out to us.  At KM Shinn Consulting, LLC, we are focused on helping others by sharing what we have learned in 30 years of manufacturing and operational leadership.  Reach out to or check out our website at  Schedule a consultation, and we can discuss your current situation and how we can help.

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