Skip to main content

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 two and then frantically coped with the subsequent explosion in the supply chain. We developed some efficient ways of coping with the daily activities and their problems went away. It’s not hard, it sometimes just needs a bit of time to step back and look at the issues.

Recommended Actions

  • If you haven’t already mapped out your process steps then do it. Seeing it represented visually can give you an immediate boost in performance if the process steps aren't in an optimal sequence.
  • From the map identify the key points in the process where activities need to be undertaken daily. List these points out against the departments that are responsible.
  • Create a loose timetable of activities (usually daily activities and those taking place once or twice a week). Find ways to build these routine activities into other routines to make adopting them easier.
  • Keep an eye on the routines over the next few weeks. The next idea will help, but you may need to provide a lot of support to make the routines turn into habits.



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

Popular posts from this blog

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

Where to start with Kaizen, if you just aren't sure

Kaizen is a great word. It is a word that can unleash the potential of both a business and an individual. Kaizen means more than just continuous improvement. It is a word that is linked to: Confidence Growth Exploration Courage Many people I speak to, that are new to improvement projects, aren't sure if they are on the right path when it comes to embracing the spirit of Kaizen. If you are also one of these people then let me share with you a few thoughts that can help you feel at ease about starting and leading change. Start with your concerns A great place to start your improvement life is with anything that isn't right. Getting your concerns out into the open really is the first step for most of us. If you aren't happy with something, raise it. This isn't only a great place to start, but something that you shouldn't give up. Whenever a standard is not being met, or not even defined, get vocal and then do something about it. Start small The intention of Kaizen is

Stimulating Kaizen opportunities - the 'mechanical' way!

I often end up in conversations about how to stimulate Kaizen ideas and opportunities. If you have read my other posts, you will know that I split the improvement journey into two halves. For many people, the initial Kaizen focus is all around fixing things that are wrong / not working properly. Once you get past this point you need something else to focus and motivate you to generate improvement opportunities. The two halves of the Kaizen journey The discussion that I often end up in, is the one around the imagination quandary. People talk to me about not being creative, or not being inspired to come up with improvement ideas. Do you ever feel this way? It seems that there is a popular view that some people are creative and some aren't. Great Kaizen ideas are not just the product of 'creative' people. There are lots of ways that you can generate improvement ideas without having to sit on a mountain top cross legged waiting for inspiration. Finding a 'mechanical' w