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Welcome to the Smartspeed Blog Archive

Thanks for stopping by.

This site contains the Smartspeed Blog archive.

Everything is maintained, but the new blog articles can now be found at:

systemsandprocesses.co.uk/blog
Enjoy reading the articles and don't forget to try out the free improvement tools, or sign up for my free on time delivery guide.

All the best,


Giles

About the author Giles Johnston is a Chartered Engineer who specialises in helping businesses to grow and improve through better business processes. Giles is also the author of Business Process Re-Engineering and creator of the 'Making It Happen' continuous improvement toolkit.

Recent posts

Is clarity critical to achieving higher levels of performance?

I was sent a link the other day to an article on the Guardian website about universities improving their student retention rates (so that the students actually complete their courses) – you can read the article here (https://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/2017/jun/13/universities-student-retention-priority).

There were a few highlights made in the article, these included:

Being clear on expectations.Having a timetable for communication.Sharing ideas.


Don’t you think that these ideas could translate directly into your business?

Could you improve the clarity of the outcomes, process metrics and the management activities that your managers are held accountable against?

Could you formalise your communications through regular management meetings that contain a combination of standard agenda items, KPIs and process ‘checks and balances’?

Could you find better ways to share ideas and accelerate your continuous improvement endeavours?

Principles never die although they might get …

Don’t miss out process steps if you want to see results!

I was recently involved with a discussion on behalf of one of my clients with a marketing agency.

I was involved not because of my marketing skills, but because I knew the business well via their operational processes (and how they were aligned with their business plan and goals).

The discussion with the agency seemed to make sense for the first fifteen minutes, until I realised that we were in fact talking about two different things. I thought we were at the start of the process and they had decided that we were at the back end of the process.

It was like reading a book only to find out that someone had ripped out a big chunk of pages from the middle of the book. It was like we had skipped to the end.

Naturally this conversation had to be reversed and we both had to start at the beginning again. Time was wasted through confusion and frustration.

This is very similar to many improvement projects that I see (prior to my involvement of course!).

The project is planned out and chunks are…

Do You Understand What Your MRP System is Doing?

It's always a trick when it comes to operating an ERP or MRP system... knowing what it is trying to do.

I was in a situation today where there were at least three frustrated parties, all frustrated by the output of their MRP system.

Changes had been made to their master BoMs (Bill of Materials), this had been done correctly.

The Stores Team were frustrated by a lack of change to the information, they couldn't see the change.

The Planning Team were annoyed too. They could see that the changes hadn't taken effect either.

None of the three parties realised that they had to delete the kitting orders from their system and re-create them in order for the new information to appear.

Now, you're probably thinking that this information would appear in time and you would be right. Unfortunately these guys would have had to wait about four months if they hadn't followed through with the right actions.

My point here is not to try and explain a basic principle of MRP, but that i…

Making It Happen - Free Tools

I have just set up the free tools section for my Making It Happen toolkit.

You can start to improve your business at no cost (not even a sign up is required!) with the five free tools available at http://www.making-it-happen.website/free-tools/.

You can find out more about the full toolkit here, but otherwise enjoy using the free tools and improving the performance of your business.

All the best,

Giles

About the author Giles Johnston is a Chartered Engineer who specialises in helping businesses to grow and improve through better business processes. Giles is also the author of Business Process Re-Engineering and creator of the 'Making It Happen' continuous improvement toolkit.

Maximise your improvement hit rate – master the follow up!

Loose ends…. Don’t you hate them?

I see loose ends all over the place, from reporting structures, to management meeting actions to promises made to colleagues.

They’re everywhere and they really limit the rate of improvement a business can make.

If you are new to my blog and are wondering what is one of the best ways to make a business improvement happen try this simple two step action plan:

Identify the improvement.Keep hammering away at the improvement until it is fully embedded.
If you’re thinking that this is the most obvious thing you have ever heard let me ask you this question:
“Does your business have strategies in place to make sure that this approach is a reality?”
Relying on your memory is not a great strategy.
Hoping that someone else will undertake the action is not a great strategy.
Praying that the day-to-day busyness of working life won’t overtake the improvement is not a great strategy.
So, what is a great strategy?
Ideally you would find a strategy that would suit your…

Seeing the Improvement Wood for the Chaos Trees!

How are you feeling about your business the moment?

Are you feeling frustrated and irritated by the apparent lack of progress being made with your improvements?

If you answer ‘yes’ to this second question, don’t worry, you are not alone!

We all feel this way at times and the reason I am writing this article is that if you feel this way right now then I want to reassure you that there is a simple way to get out of this situation. I have been in this situation many times in both my operational life and as a consultant. It is normal and taking a deep breath and stepping back from the noise of the day-to-day is essential.

Let me take you through the three quick steps of Stopping, Assessing and Acting.


Take stock of where you are right now

In order for us to step back and try and see some of the ‘improvement wood’ as I refer to in the title of this article we need to have a simple question to focus our attention. A question I recommend that you ask is:

“Do our current processes suit the need…