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

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