I was recently at a client’s plant and had a fascinating discussion.
The management had tasked their process engineers with properly measuring their current process capability, comparing that to their goals, and coming up with an action plan if required.
Think about the simplicity! Establish where you are, where you need to be, and then take action.
You can stand out from the competition by following the basics: accurate measurements, openness to change, and delivering quality.
The key, I believe, is establishing baseline performance. I've seen that this is common sense, but not commonplace.
Demonstrate to your customers that you know where you are today and every day. Take the measurements, control the process, compare to benchmarks. Follow-up if the process is showing variation.
Gauge well, gauge often, and control often (otherwise, all you have are opinions).
Ask the questions your process engineers, quality experts, and machine operators want to hear from you: "I was thinking about your work and was wondering what your quality levels were this week?".
If you don't have the data you need, ask them. If they can't provide good numbers, help them do it.
By showing you care about today's performance, the foundation is set for tomorrow's improvements.