How does organizational structure dictate focus?
This week I am working with a client that is building their future state organizational structure to support reliability improvement. The question they ask was should the planners report to the maintenance supervisors for the area they plan for? My response was a sometimes controversial one but I truly believe it based on my experience and observations. Planners should not report to maintenance supervisors. They really should be peers in the organizations working as a team. If you set the organization up with planners subordinate to the maintenance supervisor then you are in essence having your future focused planner reporting to your present focused supervisor. By future focused I mean the planner should be building job plans for the future work that will be scheduled at least one week out. Your supervisor is using the plans and schedules to execute the day to day work in the present. If you create this reporting structure and if you believe the old adage “What is important to my boss is important to me” then the planner will be forced to continuously focus on the day to day issues that are important to his or her boss at the expense of the future planned and scheduled work that drives reliability improvement. They will become a "gofer" for the supervisor and go for this part or go for that tool. This is not planning this is reacting. As you build your organizational structure you have to force proactive thinking and create barriers for some parts of the organization to keep them away from the reactive day to day activities.
What are your thoughts? Who do your planners report to? Are they focused on the proactive future or pulled into the reactive present?