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Showing posts from September, 2013

Process KPIs

Many businesses use Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to help them judge and monitor the performance of the business. They often use what I would call ‘output metrics’. These metrics tell the story of what happened, which is useful to know. They need to be included in a suite of measures, to give you the proper context, but don’t allow you to change the outcome.
Process KPIs are therefore metrics that tell you how key elements of your business processes are working. By understanding the performance in these areas you can adjust what you are doing today, with the idea of impacting tomorrow’s outcome. Managing the process helps you to define what the output metrics will be.
If you review your process map, and the questions you have designed for your sunrise meeting, you will probably start to see the type of process KPIs you have. Whilst many KPIs are numerical in nature, usually expressed as a percentage, they can be used digitally. The ‘yes’ and ‘no’ questions of the sunrise meeting …

Sunrise Meeting - Do You Have One?

By defining a handful of essential routines for your business you have taken a step forward. The real challenge is in executing these routines day in and day out. A great way to keep an eye on things and get your team involved with developing these new habits is a ‘sunrise meeting’.
Simply, a sunrise meeting is a start of the working day meeting where the key elements of your routine are reviewed. Ideally the routines can be boiled down to a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer to prevent people from dodging the question. For example, if your team were responsible for the shop floor information packs (drawings, works orders etc…) then an effective question could be ’did all of the packs get issued yesterday?’
Sunrise meetings should be short and punchy. If they start to break down into discussions about specific issues in the factory then the focus is lost. The idea is that your team are keeping an eye on the overall process happening day in and day out. Specific issues could point to a part of the p…

Create effective routines

Businesses need to create and use effective routines. When you boil down your factories’ activities you can find a simple series of activities that need to be completed on a daily, or weekly, basis. Businesses that are out of control find themselves not doing the things that they know they should be doing. The first day is OK as nothing bad has happened. Extend this forward a week or two and the lack of proper activity starts to have a knock on effect. The key is to make the right activities part of the normal course of action.
One factory that I worked with had a purchasing team that didn't execute their daily activities each day. Problems would ‘come out of the blue’ every few weeks. Suppliers had to be chased to prevent line stoppages and a frenzy of activity would be seen by all. Their problem was that they hadn't decided how to handle their key activities each and every day, so they didn't. Rather than correct this situation they worked ineffectively for a week or tw…

Manage the incoming workload

Many of my clients are engaged in contract manufacturing and have lots of different products moving through their factory. The combination of having many customers, products and batch sizes can create a complex environment. When a business like this is struggling to manage their schedules they can slip into a fire fighting situation.

Have you seen different schedules being written down on pieces of paper and handed to your Team Leaders every few hours? The new note is different to the one they received earlier that day and can leave production teams confused. Late orders are chased rather than managed. I realise that demands do change in a business, but not tackling this issue can really diminish productivity.

I am a big fan of having formality in the right places of a business. The right kind of discipline and considered action can have a big impact when used correctly. The kinds of problems I have mentioned above often stem back to one problem. Businesses that don’t consistently all…

Effective Continuous Improvement

This week my book 'Effective Continuous Improvement' was re-released.

This revised version includes expanded sections on how to generate and manage improvement ideas. The downloads that come with the book are also expanded.

To download a sample visit your local Amazon web store.

Currently it is only available on the Kindle platform, but will be available on all formats shortly.


Giles Johnston
Author of 'Business Process Re-Engineering', a practical plan to improve business performance.

If You Don't Change Your Process....

I visited a client the other day and they were looking sheepish when I asked them how their new process was working.
They'd changed the process.
They thought I would have been disappointed.
The new process was even better; why would I have been disappointed?
If a process stays still then it probably isn't being given any attention. Processes should evolve over time if they can be improved upon (and most can).
So, as I told my client, if you aren't changing your processes over time then it means that you probably aren't looking at them (objectively) on a regular basis.
I should finish this post off by stating that changing and innovating your processes needs to be done in a controlled manner. Changing parts of a process without a thought out approach can lead to disaster, but not looking at them at all - that's nearly as bad!

Giles Johnston
Author of 'Business Process Re-Engineering', a practical plan to improve business performance.

The Punctuation Of Time (For Improvement)

Time moves fast.
The phone rings, the emails land and there's your boss with your next assignment. Oh yeah, and your customers are still wanting their orders shipped on time.
Another week passes and your business performance is still at the same level...
How do you get out of this situation?
The most effective way I have found to get out of this cycle is to punctuate your working week. A small segment of the week where you decide to exit normal working and decide to look objectively at your business.
Armed with nothing more than a few good questions you can identify and improve how your business operates. With a little application you can quickly find that your business can transform allowing you to spend less time in a frantic state.
It might be painful the first couple of times, to carve out a piece of the week, but if done properly this time will be paid back many times.
Worth a look I'd say.


Giles Johnston
Author of 'Business Process Re-Engineering', a practical plan…