Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from October, 2013

Free Business Improvement Report

If you are looking for some ideas on how to improve the profit and control of your factory based business then download our free report now.

This is a direct link, so there is no need to enter your email address / sign up to our newsletter.

To access your copy, please click on this link: Free Business Improvement Report

I hope you enjoy the ideas.


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

Do you need to change your approach?

Improvement projects rarely run according to plan. You make a change to your business processes and then find out that your initial assumptions were wrong. You gain new insights and these can be re-invested into your revised attempt. The key is to know when to change tack and when to hold.
When the results just aren’t appearing you need to ask yourself if the people who are involved with the change really understand what is happening. This is not a condescending point, this is reality. Communication within a change project often leaves people wanting. The instructions that get handed down are usually lacking and this can lead to a less than satisfactory attempt.
The method that is being used may not be as efficient, or effective, as you may have hoped. If the initial expectation is that there is a lot of work to be undertaken then try stopping the work after a few hours have passed. Can it be done differently? Can a different approach yield results much faster? A little bit of doing …

New Continuous Improvement Tools Website

After receiving a number of enquiries about the availability of my e-books in PDF format I have now uploaded them to the improvingbusinesses.com website.
This site launched last week and also hosts the improvement kits that you may have already seen elsewhere on this blog.
To visit the site, click here, or on the screen shot below.



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

When Do You Find Time For Your Improvement Projects?

A common theme I hear from my clients is 'when will I have the time to implement the changes that I want to make?'
It's a fair question, I think most of us feel pushed at the best of times to get everything into our working weeks (however long those may be). To answer my clients comments I ended up creating them simple to use spreadsheets to help them see their weeks and their obligations differently.
For most of them they hadn't realised how much time they lost every week. They also tried to do too much at once; an unrealistic plan that ended up with them going nowhere.
I was relating this story to some small business owners the other week and their response was 'can you send me a copy?'
I've gone one step better than that and the spreadsheet I use with my clients, and a set of instructions, is now available on our sister site (www.improvingbusinesses.com).
The instructions take you step by step through how to use the spreadsheet tool and then helps you i…

Use A SOP Map For Faster Training

Standard Operating Procedures (commonly known as SOPs) are an extremely useful tool for most businesses. SOPs are also one of the most underrated tools I see on my travels. This simple instructional approach is underutilised in many businesses as once they are written they never see the light of day (until something goes wrong!).
In my book, ‘Visual SOPs’, I discuss using what I call a ‘SOP Map’ to help get better use out of your SOPs. The idea is simple – you attach your SOP references to a business process map that you have for your business. The visual reference I make in the book is about keeping our SOPs visible within the business. If your business process maps are a visible item then this is a great way to help incorporate SOPs into your day to day working.
One of the greatest reasons for having SOPs is to speed up training of new team members. Once you have defined the one best way to complete a task in your business you need to make sure that new people adhere to this agreed …

Influential? You? Most definitely! [Guest Post]

Interesting isn't it the differing perspectives on the current Miliband furore? There seems to be a general concern Ralph Miliband's view will have influenced his son's perspective on the world. Rather than "did he, didn't he?" I would say it's almost certainly the case - how could he not! How can we not influence those around us? 
How have you influenced people already today? Not just those who you care for or work closely with but those you pass in the street, the person you have just phoned to sort out something with your bank or latest IT purchase, or the shop you just bought your coffee or lunch in. Do you know? 
Who has influenced you? Who and what sparked that thought, question, consideration, insight, happiness, sadness, uncertainty, admiration, doubt? Some big thing and intense conversation, maybe, or just maybe the tone of voice the person used, how they looked you in the eye when they spoke to you, the way they shared their feelings about the …

Manage change proactively

Once improvements have been identified you need to manage the activities required in order to realise the benefits, otherwise the project will have been in vain. I see many businesses that talk a good talk, but don’t deliver what they could. True, the day to day busyness of work can get in the way, but that’s not a great reason is it?
Managing change is just the same as managing any other project with two subtle differences. The first is that you need to help your team overcome their fear of failure. The second is to help them get started with taking action.
Overcoming the fear of failure can be facilitated by being interested in finding out what the results are from their ‘experiments’. The results they achieve are just that – results. They are indicators and are only outcomes if you decide that they are. Improvements rarely go right, that’s why PDCA (Plan Do Check Act) is at the heart of Continuous Improvement.
Getting started with action goes back to the previous section on taking…

Adopt a simple CI approach

Continuous Improvement, or CI, is a very common term used in manufacturing (and pretty much every other sector). The word continuous implies that it doesn’t stop, but that is what I see time and time again. Most businesses that employ a CI approach do so because they have problems. This is natural and I applaud this approach. However, a business moving from bad to OK is different to a business moving from OK to excellent. When you have problems they are visible. When your business is doing OK there are fewer visible problems. This is when a lot of CI activity grinds to a halt.
I have three suggestions that might make your life easier should you wish to continuously improve how your business operates. Choose a narrow focus, make it routine and use tiny steps.
You may have seen a trend in this short report about routines. Routines can make a massive difference and including proactive idea generation and improvement activity is no different. Whatever method works for you to generate and

Is your MRP system configured correctly?

MRP systems are an integral part of many manufacturing businesses. Whether you are running MRP, MRP II or ERP there are some common issues that I see on a regular basis.
I see three main points when it comes to using MRP systems: 1.Decide how you want to use your MRP system. 2.Configure the various modules correctly. 3.Manage the MRP process as you would with other processes.
For point 1, is your business a ‘Make to Stock’, ‘Make to Order’ or an ‘Engineer to Order’ type of business. Being clear about this can make configuring your system more straightforward.
Configuring the modules, point 2 above, means inputting your rules of working into the system. Many businesses either lack the knowledge of how to configure the system or they fail to complete the task. Either way they end up fighting the system’s suggestions every day, often creating workarounds and poor working habits.
Finally, there are routines associated with MRP systems. Identify them and build them into your sunrise meetin…