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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

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