Skip to main content

Have You Found The Tools That Work?

One of my clients apologised to me the other day....

They hadn't done anything to offend me, but that's how they started the conversation.

It turned out that they were apologising because they had stopped using a method to organise their office that I had shown them.

Instead of being upset I congratulated them, why wouldn't I?

From talking to them they had tested out the idea, decided that it wasn't their thing, and then taken the best bits of the method and created a modified version. They weren't using the method that I had shown them, they were using a method that fitted with their way of working. In my books that's called continuous improvement!

Stepping back from this conversation came the killer question: "Is your business performance better now than it was before we looked at any method to improve how it is organised?" The answer was "yes", they were on the right track and could develop their idea further.

When you consider the PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act) approach of Lean / continuous improvement this kind of conversation is great. Take the ego out of the process and find the tools and approaches that work for your business.

For each common business problem there are usually a number of options to resolve the issue. In my experience most options work perfectly well.... but here comes the consideration - you need to find the option that you can make work. Whilst they might all work, you might not have the desire, time, knowledge, or experience to make them all work. The reality is that you will have strengths that will make other options work for you, you just need to play with these other alternatives until you find that perfect fit.

So, if you are struggling to make a method work for you, remember these steps:

Find, Play, Evaluate, Adopt, Develop, Maintain

And, if you can, have some fun with trying out new methods. But, once you have chosen a method that works, don't keep chopping and changing. Develop the approach and firmly make it part of your day to day business.


Giles Johnston
...optimising MRP systems and re-engineering business processes

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

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

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