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Showing posts from June, 2018

An OTIF Performance Lesson From the World Cup

If you know me personally you will be aware that I am not a huge football fan... but I do love a World Cup. As with most things that I watch, or participate in, I like to learn something from the experience. Tonight, whilst watching the Uruguay vs Portugal match I was comparing the set pieces that the teams have prepared with the idea of scenario planning in business. For many businesses scenario planning is something that is in the domain of strategic work and is for executives only. This isn't accurate of course and applying the idea of scenario planning to your operational activities is a great way to drive up your operational performance when the going gets tough. In football their scenario plans (or, set pieces) are carefully considered. When a certain situation faces a team they can then choose to enact one of their set pieces, hopefully increasing their chances of success. The key point is that these set pieces have been thought about in advance. In business, mo

When new systems and processes can't trump discipline

Most of my working life revolves around developing new processes and embedding systems for my clients. Sometimes, however, I find that these requests for new ways of working are masking a deeper issue - a lack of discipline amongst the senior management team and staff. Have you experienced this in your place of work? The logical extreme of this conversation is to automate your processes and take the human component out of the equation. But, if you want people in your business (as they are usually the source of good ideas and innovation, as well as problems...), how do you develop the right kinds of habits and discipline into your daily operations? There are lots of good ways to consider, including: Developing an effective business routine . Linking performance to appropriate KPIs . Driving behaviour through short team meetings, with fixed agendas . Describing 'what good looks like' and sharing this vision with your team. Leading by example and rewarding discipli

Do You Set Your Team Up To Win?

I had a great time tonight watching my daughter and her peers at the ice skating competition. Some of the skating was great, some was less so, but every single skater performed which was brilliant to witness. Every skater, no matter their performance, got several rounds of applause and it was deserved in every case. Everyone wanted to see them win and communicated this with them through their applause. This got me thinking. I often ask my clients if they set their teams up to win, usually reflecting on a current performance objective or continuous improvement goal . In many cases the conversation raises a few opportunities that my client can look at that can increase the chances of their teams winning at the challenges before them. Considering this same topic, with the skaters I saw tonight they: Had been given / made time to learn and practice. Were supported by someone that could mentor and guide them. Their objective was crystal clear to them. A clear plan was in plac

How do you open and close your improvement tasks?

Loose ends... they're a pain aren't they? Everytime you open up something to improve it you risk having a loose end. Discover additional ways to manage change in your business The more improvements you get involved with the more loose ends you could have. Too many loose ends can result in confusion, de-motivation and no tangible results. One option is to limit the amount of improvements you work on at any one time. Another option is to work in small packets of time where you open and close improvements rapidly, so that you never finish a period of time (say a day, or a week) with the loose ends left, well... loose! A further option is to design your improvement activities so that they can be fully completed within a certain time period (again, a day or a week are two good options). The situation that we want to avoid is constantly starting improvement projects and then moving to another improvement without (in some shape or form) landing the project. Completi

Making It Happen (continuous improvement toolkit) has been revamped - save 50% today

I'm pleased to announce that my continuous improvement course has been revamped, updated and is available as an instant download (all of the tools are now available on day one). To celebrate this release you can get 50% off the price ($67 USD) by using the code MIH50  at the checkout. The course is now available as a 146 page PDF file that accesses all 28 of the templates / worksheets / explainers simply (no more file structures to navigate!). Making It Happen  includes all of the original 30 'lessons', the 4 sprint projects and now also includes the 8 Productivity Boost modules. To find out more about the contents of these modules click here . To get hold of your copy click on the link below and get started today. I offer a 30 day money back guarantee, so what's to lose? 0,Making It Happen Enjoy, Giles About the author Giles Johnston is a Chartered Engineer who specialises in helping businesses to grow and improve through better business processes.

A Little Bit of Structure Can Go a Long Way

It never ceases to amaze me how casual some businesses are when it comes to organising the way their business operates. It is true, a little bit of structure can go a long way. There is a big difference between a rigid, bureaucratic, organisation that can't flex or adapt to changing customer demands and one that is loose and wild. Finding a balance is an essential task for most businesses. With a little bit of structure you can: Run meetings with purpose, that generate the right kinds of actions. Manage results, by ensuring that the inputs and outputs of your processes are 'fit for purpose'. Ensure that your teams know what they are doing and are on track with their performance. Deliver the right level of quality products and services for your customers. ... and more. Without a little bit of structure you can find yourself getting into a knot, not entirely sure where you are, where you are going to or how to approach the journey. I like flexibility, but

What is an action (that helps improve business performance)?

Action boards are an integral part of effective team meetings . Constantly capturing actions to remove obstacles from the day to day operations, identifying small improvement opportunities and avoiding having to 'remember to remember' tasks really can help a team to perform at higher levels. However, the other day I was asked a question - "what is an action?" I have never had to really think about this topic, it has always come naturally to me (and I probably capture more actions in my to do list system than I need to!), so I came to an agreement with the team. So, this got me thinking about when is an action actually an action (and when is it something else) and I thought I would share the list we developed with you. If you are struggling to get your team meetings and action board off the ground you might find it to be useful. Here it is: The following are not actions The task can be done in less than 10 minutes, directly after the (morning) meeting.

A Small Continuous Improvement Consideration That Can Lead to Big Results

Are you like me and want all of your continuous improvement projects to be delivered at once? The fact is that there isn't enough time in the day (let alone if you have a day job to contend with too!) or enough resource to call up to engage with all of your improvement projects at once. I am a big fan of effective prioritisation of improvement opportunities and so I thought I'd share with you part of a conversation I recently had with one of my client's member of staff. In front of us was a number of projects. Each one looked like it would give the business a real boost in terms of tangible results. But, when you listed them out there was a clear priority based on the dependencies. In this list was one of my hot topics for this business, kitting of orders. I spotted this and naturally became excited; its benefits will be huge for the business. Then I looked at the other options; cell design, stock control, 5S etc... The reality is that I could either have my