Skip to main content

Adhering to the Schedule

The following is an excerpt from the e-book 'On Time Delivery'.


Adhering to the Schedule

The Team Leaders were sticking to the production schedule like a charm, the previous fights over the value of work were now a dim memory (but not yet distant). The work to lists were being used and we were getting pro-active updates about problems with upcoming jobs on the schedule. The next milestone for the Production team was to get rid of the end of month bulge, we had removed the bulk of the ‘hockey stick curve’ but there was still a slight imbalance in the order books toward the back end.



At the end of each month the turnover would jump slightly, but during the first couple of weeks in a month it would increase at a slightly slower rate. Many would consider me a pedant for wanting to fix this, after all the massive turnover leap at the month end had gone, but I wasn’t happy with the month end focus still being present in the minds of the majority of people in the business despite what we had experienced since the changes. Since moving to the balanced production schedule my colleagues and I were now focused on weekly output. For the lead time of our products daily output still seemed too far away to consider.

After talking with our Team Leaders it took a few weeks of focussing on the weekly output targets to start hitting them, the production teams seemed remarkably keen to get involved in working this way. It turned out from speaking to them that they hated month end just as much as we did!

The weeks started to yield more and more similar weeks from an output point of view and the interesting thing that we noticed was that we started to slowly increase the level of output we were able to achieve. This steadier approach to producing orders was giving us an efficiency boost. After a few weeks of experiencing this and talking to the Team Leaders I altered the calculations in the capacity plan so that we could take advantage of this result. Please bear in mind that because of the loss of the month end spike we were also using less overtime through the month, so this natural gain in capacity was as a result of focus and balance.

Learning Points
  • Keep your capacity planning tools up to date with current information.
  • Aim to get your teams focussing on the smallest unit of time possible that is relevant to the type of production you are involved with.
  • Try to avoid delivering on the 37th of each month!
  • Change can take time, find the pace of your team when making changes, they won’t necessarily travel at your pace (which is usually faster than theirs) so beware!





Available from:




Popular posts from this blog

Where there is a (performance) gap there is a concern

I had a really good day yesterday working with a client's team.

The team has issues. Plenty of issues. Some are managerial issues, some are people issues and some are production issues.

When I first met the team they didn't know what to do with their issues, so I started by helping them to see more issues.

Issues everywhere, they didn't seem very impressed.

And then we captured the issues as 'concerns' into the tried and tested 'concern cause countermeasure' format and followed the process:

Concerns probed for root causes and root causes converted into countermeasures.
Soon they realised that some of their root causes dealt with numerous concerns and they gained momentum.

Yesterday we pulled another one of their processes apart and identified all of the gaps. The gaps became concerns and we fed them back into the process. Now they have a practical action plan (of countermeasures) to upgrade the process in question.

What do you do with your performance gaps? …

Continuous Improvement and the Five Legged Race

Many improvement projects need the buy in of several people before they can progress. Amongst these people there will be some that have a firm view of what needs to happen and are keen to make progress. Some of the people won't be sure and they will need more time. Other people might not be that interested and have other priorities they want to focus on.

None of this is wrong.

It is an observation of mine and one that I see repeat on a regular basis with the businesses that I come into contact with.

But, if we take the principle from the observation we have an interesting improvement strategy (one that I personally use when I get stuck with my client's improvement projects).

You might have worked out the approach from the title of this blog post, but it is analogous to a three-legged race (or four, five, nine...). If someone in the group moves in the wrong direction and / or at the wrong speed then the whole group falls over.


In the example I gave at the start it is no differe…

Do you have time to prepare (in order to become super productive)?

I had a funny conversation a few weeks ago with a team that was complaining about one of their colleagues spending 'ages' preparing their workstation within their factory. I meet a lot of people that spend too long preparing (and effectively procrastinating) so I was intrigued by their comment. It turns out that this individual didn't spend too long but rather his colleagues dived into their work without thinking through what the best way to work was...

The slower to start gentleman did in fact prepare his work area. He was also able to produce a far greater amount of work in the same time period because he had invested in a smarter way of working than his counterparts. The time spent preparing his working area was valuable and not overdone.

This example reminds us of the importance of the second S in 5S (set in order) and how workstation design is critical if we want to maximise the productivity of our teams. Whether this is a physical work area in a factory, the filing s…