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Showing posts from November, 2013

Nail One Project At A Time

There is a great time management phrase, it says:
"Do Less Better"
I don't know if you subscribe to this approach, but I certainly try my best to do so.
It certainly holds very true when you are trying to improve your business. With so many day to day pressures already being upon us, our continuous improvement projects can just seem like unnecessary, unwanted, additional pressure.
This situation is then made more arduous and complicated by not having just one continuous improvement project / focus at a time but several. Have you been in the situation where you have numerous competing projects, for the the time that you just do not have? I know I have in the past, and I won't be the last.
I can see the frustration in my client's eyes when they just aren't making progress with any of their improvements. Not just one project is failing, they are all failing. I've tried to juggle several change projects plus my Operations Manager job in a past life and I simp…

Do You Have Too Many Workcentres?

When I am trying to figure out why a client's MRP / ERP system isn't helping them to deliver their products on time, their workcentres often creep into the equation.
The configuration of workcentres can make a big difference to effectively managing a shop floor environment, but even before that is understood the volume of workcentres is a serious consideration to be thought through.
Splitting up your manufacturing facility into workcentres is never a right or wrong decision. The quality of your thinking about this however will affect the ease of managing the flow of production and the following pointers are listed here for those of you who may be in a bit of muddle with work to lists, routings and capacity planning.
Things to consider:Like the resolution of a digital camera, having too few workcentres won't allow you to manage bottlenecks. Try to avoid having one workcentre called 'factory' or too few that won't allow you to see what is happening with your pro…

Do You Fight Over Which Continuous Improvement Solution Is Right?

I was yesterday confronted with a conversation about how something that I was doing with a client was wrong.
A little confused about how something that was going wrong was producing such good results we started to double check a couple of items.
After a few minutes of scratching our heads it turns out that 'wrong' was a perspective. There were many appropriate solutions, but the other person only saw one as being the right solution.
After a little bit more digging it turned out that my client had wasted a couple of weeks of their improvement efforts on trying to work out what was wrong with what they had already done!
Continuous Improvement is rarely a straight-line affair. It involves experimentation and one team will create a different solution to a different team.
It is the direction of travel that is the important factor to agree upon.

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

Links to Amazon and Smashwords

My new website, improvingbusinesses.com, now has links back to Amazon and Smashwords.
So, if you have a Kindle, an iPad, a Nook, a Kobo, or something else, then you can now download my books for these devices.
Each book has the links to the site (Amazon or Smashwords) at the bottom of its page, an example is below:

Click here to view the e-books page.

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

Do Your Re-Schedules Work?

If something goes wrong in a manufacturing business there occasionally comes a time when you have stop what you are doing and re-schedule the order books. Hopefully before you do this you will have worked out what had caused the problem and addressed that first.
Some MRP systems will take care of this for you and some won't. If yours won't then I wanted to share this thought with you, in case your re-scheduling efforts seem to be in vain.
I see many businesses who, when they are faced with a re-schedule, don't do a complete job. They do enough to level out the next few weeks of production and then hope that they can get away without doing any more.
The next couple of weeks may go OK, but then the problems that were there beforehand start to amass, and a few weeks later your overdues are sky high again!
If you need to re-schedule your order books manually then please make sure that you do the entire job in one go. Don't pick at it. Don't just do the bits that look …

Continuous Improvement Tools - Discount Code

To mark the launch of the improving businesses website I am offering a 50% discount on products until the end of November 2013.

The products include PDF versions of my business improvement books, as well as a handful of downloadable kits. The kits include work books, instructions, work sheets and presentation slides in most cases.
To get your 50% discount, please enter the code launch when prompted during checkout (just after you enter your name and email address).
Click here to visit the website.

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

Are You Suffering From Continuous Improvement 'Mission Drift'?

Developing a mission statement for a business is an interesting process.
Firstly, it usually means that you have chosen some kind of vision for your business (the why / what question). Secondly, it usually means that you have some idea of how you want to realise the vision (the how).
'Mission Drift' is a term I heard a number of years ago and I think it is a good term to apply to our continuous improvement activities.
If your business started to behave in a way that wasn't congruent with your values then you wouldn't achieve your vision. If your business started to work toward objectives that don't fall in line with your mission statement then you probably wouldn't end up where you wanted to be.
Mission drift is when we fall away from what we were meant to be doing and do something else.
In your business your continuous improvement activities will hopefully align with your vision and mission statements.
If they don't then it might be time to review how you…
One of the nice things about publishing books is getting positive reviews. My book 'Business Process Re-Engineering' has been out for some time now and I have now made it available as a PDF version.
Since being available as a PDF I have received this review which I was keen to share with you.
"I have been through more process mapping and sales and operation planning training sessions than you can shake a stick at. Your discussion is the simplest and most actionable I have seen. I like that your approach is relevant to small as well as large business." Brian
Thank you Brian!
To view a sample of the book (PDF format) - click here, or use the button below to buy. SKUEB-BPR Qty
Price$5.00 Add to Cart

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

Visible Continuous Improvement Plans

Years ago I was criticised for having numerous pieces of paper all over a wall in my office. This was when I worked as a Production Manager in a factory failing to hit its output targets*. Apparently it looked a little messy....

I needed to take action to change my factory's situation and one lonely Friday afternoon (when everyone else had gone home) I listed out the changes I needed to make. These formed the mini-projects that were all over my wall.

Production was busy. Frankly it was chaotic and I chose to pin my mini improvement plans to my wall so that they were 'in my face'. Every time I walked into my office there were my plans. I certainly didn't forget about them.

How many times have you crafted a much needed improvement plan but never gotten around to implementing the changes?

There are many strategies we can take to improve how we deliver our projects and the idea of having the plans in bite sized chunks and highly visible is just one.

I used this approach to …

Make Process Improvement Results Visible: Play Eye Spy!

In a number of projects recently I have been playing a game of 'eye spy' to great effect. Can you remember that game from your childhood? You pick an object you can see and tell the other people playing what the object's first letter is. The person who guesses correctly first then gets to have a go.
Pretty simple game.
The approach I have used is to help my clients see whether a change has taken effect or not. For most business leaders they can use their KPIs as a gauge as to whether the change has taken effect. For the people who don't see the KPIs, but who are performing the new process, the eye spy game works rather effectively.
To use this approach you need to be clear on the cause (the new process / tasks) and the expected effect (the new result / behaviour).
The logic is that when the new process is embedded and working properly then you should be able to see the outcomes that you are looking for. There is sometimes a lag between the cause and the effect when it…

MRP Improvement Book Now Available in PDF Format

'Making MRP Work' is now available in PDF format on our sister website improvingbusinesses.com.

It has been for sale for several months on the Amazon Kindle device and will also be making its way on to the other main readers (Kobo, Nook, iPad etc...) shortly. In the mean time you can purchase the right version for your reader via Smashwords.

I hope you enjoy it


Giles Johnston
Author of 'Business Process Re-Engineering', a practical plan to improve business performance(and Making MRP Work!)