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Showing posts from January, 2013

Optimum Process Versus Optimum Steps

Time spent training people to perform specific aspects of their work does not mean that an optimum process is born.
An optimum process is not the same thing as having 'standard operating procedures' (or SOPs). A process is a collection of steps, the correct sequence can radically change the overall time required to complete a process.

The optimum process is often buried within the average performers process, the key is to uncover the optimum process and fix the training.



Giles Johnston
Author, Consultant and Chartered Engineer

How do you manage your capacity?

One of the central issues to any business is how do you manage your capacity. Getting this wrong can result in poor delivery performance, confusion within the business and unhappy customers.
Many businesses have some form of software (such as project management software, ERP / MRP etc.) to help do this, but what about businesses that don't have this support?
Regulating your capacity is all about knowing what you have committed to and when. Many businesses that don't have a formal system do have some kind of paperwork or spreadsheet system to help with their day to day management. Adding some simple capacity information to these systems can be quick and straightforward to do and can give you a surprisingly quick improvement to the level of control you have over the operational side of your business.
From visual management ideas with your paperwork stacks, to an additional (hours required) column in spreadsheets, all this needs is a little bit of ingenuity and a bit of experime…

Improving your on time delivery performance using your MIS

MIS Overview Most businesses have some kind of MIS (Management Information System) that is designed to drive the actions of the business. Whether you use CRM, ERP, an online project management software application, or a spreadsheet, they all can count as a MIS. Over time the quality and usability of that system can wane and leave the business with a less than effective tool for running the business.
Correcting this situation is not difficult. If this is something that irritates you as you strive to achieve a consistent on time delivery performance (with the accompanying high level of customer satisfaction and business profit) then read on.
Lack of understanding One of the most common reasons I have come across for a MIS system losing effectiveness stems back to a lack of understanding of, and around, the system being used. There are two issues here that I would like to quickly touch upon.
The first is the lack of appreciation by team members of why a healthy system is required. As tim…

Do You Suffer from the Hockey Stick Curve?

One of the more interesting phrases I have heard when discussing on time delivery performance is the 'hockey stick' curve.
You know the sort of thing I mean (see below). Your business outputs very little in the first couple of weeks of the calendar month, and the last week or two look like everyone is running on rocket fuel! The rate of change in output is huge and once again the business achieves its turnover target. Skeptics may say that although work is invoiced it isn't produced until the next calendar month, which accounts for the low levels of output in those weeks.
So what?
The important question is what do you do about it if you recognise this pattern occurring in your business.
Finding out if you have an uneven order book is essential to find out if you have a throughput issue or a loading issue. Loading issues can be rectified easily by balancing out the order book (and coming up with a better 'Contract Review' process longer term).
If you have a throughp…

Are your SOPs based on best practise?

SOPs, or Standard Operating Procedures, are often written by people who understand a process, not necessarily the people who know how to do it best.

Finding the few people who know how to do it best, in practise, in real life, and getting them to define the optimum process can do a lot to help improve a process' performance. Apart from the obvious savings to time there could be quality improvements, customer satisfaction improvements and more.

Who's writing your business' SOPs?



Giles Johnston

Smartspeed Consulting Limited
Taking the frustration out of on time delivery.

Understand your MRP reports

If you are running an ERP / MRP system a good question to ask is ‘do my staff understand the reports they use?’

I have visited many businesses over the years who use such systems and it still staggers me how many of them don’t really understand the information that is provided by the system.

Not only can this cause issues with delivery performance but it can create additional work, bloat over time requirements, inflate working capital and generally produce chaos in the workplace.

Periodically it may be worth your while to review the core system reports with your teams to see if they can be improved and ensure that there is correct understanding of how to use the reports within the group.




Smartspeed Consulting Limited
Taking the frustration out of on time delivery.

Continuous Improvement: Getting into the swing of things

I was listening to a gentleman talking yesterday about writing and 'getting into the swing of things' for gaining both competency and efficiency. Although technique can impact performance enormously, putting in some time and repetition can also be invaluable, and then my thoughts wandered to business improvement activities.
If you take Continuous Improvement for example, if you don't put in the time and effort to get the right kind of conversations going, or exercise your problem solving muscle, then the quality of the ongoing efforts will be poorer than they could possibly be.
Developing relationships with people to facilitate Continuous Improvement discussions also takes time and effort. One of my best experiences, in one of my latter jobs in industry, took about three months of daily conversations to get one chap to come on-board  When he did come on board through it was worth all of the effort. And I say effort, it wasn't really a difficult process to speak to ano…

On Time Delivery Kit

The On Time Delivery Kit has now arrived.

It's a full kit, available via immediate download, for you to use with your team to improve your business' on time delivery performance. The files are provided so that you can modify the documents and tailor this approach for your specific needs (instructions are included).
The kit includes: InstructionsStaff Overview PresentationMeetings TimelineMeeting AgendasMeeting FormsExamples of FormsAudit FormsContract Review formsScheduling AgendaFine Tuning Worksheet7 Mistakes to Avoid White Paper For full details, and to buy, please visit the On Time Delivery Kit page on our partner website.



Smartspeed Consulting Limited
Taking the frustration out of on time delivery.

Are you planning for a Happy New Year?

Happy New Year, I hope that this message finds you rejuvenated and ready to take on 2013’s challenges. As with every year January is a good time to review last year’s performance, and to identify opportunities to improve the level of service you offer to your customers as well as the level of profit you can achieve from doing so.

For some businesses this can seem an overwhelming challenge, as you can end up with a long list of improvements you could undertake. If you find that you have too many to deal with at this moment in time then it might be worth your while prioritising and scheduling the improvements based on their relative impact, cost and ease of implementation.

If you are struggling to come up with a list of improvements then reflecting against the standard metrics of Quality, Cost and Delivery can be helpful. Any other measures that you use in your business can also be considered, it is all about finding something tangible for you to reflect upon and generate ideas against…

Waste Walking: A Great Way to Start Lean Initiatives in Any Business

When I have been asked to deliver waste walking workshops for my clients it has often been seen as a one off exercise, to give the business a one off jump in performance. Whilst these workshops do allow us to identify and plan improvements, waste walking is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to business improvement. At the heart of Lean (manufacturing) is the conflict between value adding activities and waste generation. The aim of Lean is to eliminate waste, ultimately allowing you to provide your customers with better products that are delivered in line with their demand whilst giving you a healthier profit margin. This method is a doorway to a larger world.

One of the main reasons why waste walking is such a good way to get into Lean is that this process is really easy to learn. Best of all, waste walking actually addresses the eighth waste, untapped human potential, as it gets the people who do the job involved with improving it. It is widely recognised that the people who…