Skip to main content

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.
Interpretation of the 'hockey stick' curve.
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 throughput problem then you can start working on your bottlenecks, one by one until you achieve a consistent output that meets your production targets.

Either way you need to find out what is causing this frustrating effect and then do something about it.

Realising that there is a problem, however, is one of the most effective first steps in any kind of business improvement!



Giles Johnston
Author, Consultant and Chartered Engineer


Popular posts from this blog

The Kaizen Checklist is here!

Do you want to get better results from your Kaizen programme? Improve your business results quickly with my downloadable kit (including guidebook, workbook and templates) for only $39. Are you looking for a sustainable way to identify and implement improvements across your business? Practical improvement strategies The Kaizen Checklist is a downloadable kit that you can use with your management team to develop a system that suits your business and allow you to quickly implement Kaizen effectively at your place of work. This works great if you use it as the centre piece of your own internal workshop. The kit includes a 40 page guidebook, a workbook, four appendices and three templates. All parts of this kit are designed to get you up and running as fast as possible. If you are unfamiliar with Kaizen, let me stress that this is a simple improvement philosophy that is so much more than just  ‘a Japanese word for continuous improvement’. I’ll cover what it rea

Kamishibai Boards

Available to purchase here. Some tools are incredibly simple to use, and also deliver some amazing results. Kamishibai boards are a great example and are superb when you want some visual control over routine tasks. By the way Kamishibai is pronounced "come-e-she-bye" in case you were wondering! As simple as you could want it, a Kamishibai board is a T-card system that has red cards glued to green cards (so that each T-card has a red side and a green side). The red cards are for the incomplete tasks, where as the green cards symbolise that the work has been done. See the photo below of a board in use. On the red side of the card you write the name of the task that needs to be completed, and if appropriate you can include details of how the task is to be completed. This is not expected to replace standard operating procedures, but can be a good opportunity for an aide memoire. The boards can be organised for daily, weekly and even monthly cycles. They are g

Kaizen projects: being honest about being off track

Projects, especially improvement projects, have a tendency to get off track. There is often a clear distinction between projects for customers and projects for ourselves. If our improvement projects fall behind then our customers won't be barking at us; it is no wonder that if something is going to slip it is our Kaizen endeavours. For some people this can be a tough conversation to have. No one wants to be a 'failure' and pride often gets in the way. In my experience it seems that it is believed to be far more credible to ignore the requirement to improve than to admit that we aren't making progress. So, if you find yourself (and your business) in this situation, what can you do about it? Let me share with you two options to increase the visibility in your business around progress with projects and four options to help get your projects back on track. Increasing visibility Ok, no more hiding the status of Kaizen activities . This also means no more being precious about