Continuous Improvement through Structured Project Management Methodology

The Challenge:

Headquartered in innovative and ever-changing Palo Alto, Varian Oncology has been making changes for several years. Realizing the need to evolve, led Varian Oncology to the creation of multiple Charter initiatives to help move the company into the future. Although these Charters clearly identified opportunities for cost savings, they were lacking Project Management tools to ensure their success. The tenured management staff had always tried to do what’s best for the organization, but there were no standard practices to coordinate their efforts and ensure a sustainable Continuous Improvement culture going forward.

The Results:

A strong framework was started to help Varian Oncology Manufacturing use a Continuous Improvement Program to help them with sustainable profit growth.  Key highlights include:

Project Management Office (PMO)

  • Detailed project plans were developed together with the Charter Owners to outline all steps required for completion; Charters were tracking at 98% on schedule at end of engagement.
  • Executive Dashboard created with tracking for all KPI’s.
  • Monthly meetings implemented with concise 1-page updates for all Charter Owners to report results up to Executive.
  • Creation of a Cost Driver Model to assist with budget planning & project cost/benefit analysis by rolling up operational & financial indicators.

Continuous Improvement Training

  • 38 management staff at all levels (Supervisors up to VP’s) were taught an 11 week course on Continuous Improvement tools & methodology.
  • Work assignments throughout the course allowed all participants to put theory into practice; 85 distinct opportunities for improvement were identified through the assignments, which will form the basis of what the teams will work on in the coming year.
  • Playbook created to use as a reference guide for all management staff on all continuous improvement and project management concepts.

Culture Change

  • Management staff have adopted the new methodology and have begun using the tools introduced throughout their areas.
  • All projects now have a consistent approach and reporting mechanism.
  • Management staff at all levels are able to see the KPI’s that are critical to their success on the change initiatives they are undergoing, allowing them to act accordingly to ensure the initiatives stay on track.
  • Clear responsibilities outlined for all staff working on the Charters with specific accountability and timelines published.

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