Just Admit To Your Production Losses

Last night whilst choosing something to watch on TV I caught part of an episode of 'Secret Eaters' on Channel 4. The part that I watched was where the so called secret eaters watched themselves in dismay as the real level of eating was revealed. Each time they saw themselves munching away on something they would provide a running commentary of "no, don't put that in your mouth", or similar.

There is a parallel to running a business operation. If things aren't going as well as you hoped then you need to be honest and detail everything that isn't going well. When you do this you can fix your problems and improve your performance a lot more quickly.

Like the secret eaters it can be simpler to be glib and smooth over the cracks with excuses. It's always been like that, you can't make that change here, we don't have time etc... Lying to yourself doesn't get the results.

When the problems are exposed they are fixable. When they are hidden they are often just lived with. When the eaters come face to face with their problems they can come up with a plan to change what they do. They get a dose of reality (and usually some information about just how much they really are eating) so that they can reflect and develop a better way of eating. Our business can do the same; get real and then get a plan.

I guess the part for many viewers that is most interesting in the programme is the part when you watch in disbelief that they don't recognise just how much they are eating. Having robust and meaningful Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) is one way to keep track of what is going on. If your business can measure what is going on then you can use this information to make proper decisions and effective business changes (and not just get depressed!).

So, like the secret eaters, is it time for you to get a dose of reality about your business? Find the handful of factors that are important in your business. Measure them and then come up with an improvement plan. Business process improvement can be that simple, as long as you are willing to have a look at the bits that aren't working well as well as the bits that are.

Take a step back today from your day to day business and see what's really going on.

Giles Johnston
...fixing MRP systems and re-engineering business processes