Skip to main content

What are you improving for?

The end result of an improvement usually reflects the planning and decision making that takes place at the beginning, when the idea is being developed. If there is no planning and the improvement is a stab in the dark as to what needs to change then the final result may not be what was expected.

The 'what are we doing this for?' question is a great place to start. Sometimes improvements are spotted mid thinking, so to speak, and if you work backwards just a little further you may uncover a more meaningful issue to resolve. This minor change can deliver a major difference in terms of business performance and is along the lines of root cause problem solving (solve the root cause and not a symptom).

The fact that an opportunity is present does not always mean that it should be improved. With limited resources it may be prudent to widen the vistas and see what other opportunities are also available. Many continuous improvement approaches struggle due to an overload of less than brilliant improvements which eventually clog the system by depleting resources to make the changes. A simple priority system / grading can help alleviate this problem.

The design of what the business can look, feel and behave like after a round of improvement activity may also help to drive the right kind of improvement projects. This is not saying that the opportunities currently on the table aren't valid, there is usually merit in every improvement suggestion However, prioritisation and focus are required to make business improvement meaningful and efficient and stopping to step back and evaluate your journey and imminent choices can save a lot of time and effort. Dead ends can be avoided!

If you are finding yourself stuck with making improvements for any of the reasons stated above then take a time out and decide how you want to handle your improvements and decide where you want them to take you.

Smartspeed Consulting Limited
Deliver on Time with Smartspeed

Popular posts from this blog

Stop firefighting, start performing!

Another weeks passes and another example of unnecessary fire fighting demonstrated by a business I have been to help. If you have this taking place in your business, let me ask you a few questions: 1. What keeps on happening? Regain control with this practical book Can you pin down what it is that you keep having to do, to get out of trouble? If you can't, is there a pattern you can observe? 2. Do you want it to stop? Is it causing you enough of a problem that you want it to stop? If the answer is yes, keep reading, if not park it for another day. 3. Find out what is going on Do you know why you are having this issue? If you aren't sure where the issue is arising from, then take a few minutes to have a look around. When you have some idea, go to the next step. 4. Cause and effect Do you know what is truly causing the fire fighting situation? If you spend the time to get to the root cause of the situation , you have a good chance of permanently eliminating this situation. Most p

Kaizen improvements need to be specific

Do you find that your Kaizen improvements don't always go to plan? If you do, then you're with the majority! Whilst there is great deal of 'trial and error' there is a simple approach that can help. Available from Amazon Being specific about critical parts of your improvement can uplift your results. So, how do you go about doing this? The most direct route is to be clear about which parts of your improvement are critical. From here you can explain, in detail, what you want for those items. This might take some practice as many of us have become lazy in this regard. We take it for granted that our team 'get us' and will know what they need to do. If you ever feel that something basic is missing from an improvement ask this question: "What does good look like?" The answer should put you back on track. About the author: Giles Johnston is a Chartered Engineer who specialises in helping businesses to grow and improve through better business processes and

Are your teams clear?

I have recently finished working with a team that were struggling. They were struggling to meet their production schedules. They were struggling to respond to customer enquiries on time. They were burnt out and frazzled. After some prodding and poking it became clear what their issues were. In particular, it became obvious that expectations of the team weren't clear or defined. Defining what you expect from teams is a standard management approach. The problem with most teams is that leadership describe the standards in vague terms . So, what happens if you get the standards crystal clear? You should expect to see the team produce the right outputs. They should produce the outputs at the right time. And, they should produce them in an agreed way. Be clear with your teams. Ask the question: What does good look like? If you want to get some more ideas on how to define effective standards and visions, get your copy of my book today . What does good look like? is a practical guide to h