Skip to main content


Lean... Do the Stuff Under Your Nose

Lean programmes of work can really help to improve the performance of a business, but does this have to be at expense of fixing the problems right in front of us? I have seen too many projects have time invested in them whilst right in front of the people in the business are immediate problems and opportunities. Small, lean centric, actions that can yield quick and long lasting results get ignored. How does that benefit everyone? So, please plan out the bigger change projects for your business but don't lose sight of the obvious improvement opportunities that are sitting under your nose. Giles Johnston Smartspeed Consulting Limited Taking the frustration out of on time delivery.

Does a tight scope give better delivery performance?

When an improvement project is being designed it is a good idea to give the right degree of consideration to the scope of the project; what's in and what's out. Many projects take longer than necessary, or never get completed, due to an unclear scope that leaves the team attempting to implement a continuously evolving change project. Some points to consider: Even if the scope does not include all the possibilities you can always go back and complete a second smaller follow up project. Completing something is better than not completing anything, especially for ongoing motivation. Small tight packets of work are very productive due to the marriage of focus with short term achievement. If your projects are stalling, or just seem to keep on going without ever coming to a conclusion, then review / revise the scope and 'put them to bed'. Smartspeed Consulting Limited Taking the frustration out of on time delivery.

Takt Time: Using Demand Calculations to Help Shape Your Lean Manufacturing Improvement Projects

Sometimes our business improvement projects feel like we’re not making enough of a change, but what if there was a simple method to determine just how much of a change we needed to make in order to make our processes competitive?  By using some basic facts and figures we can determine exactly how much of a shift we need to make to our processes, and ultimately guide our thinking to create the right degree of change.  This booklet, written by an experienced business consultant, gives you a step by step guide on how to determine the key inputs to your business process improvement design. By using takt time as the basis for the direction you will identify the right amount of change required for your business. Click here to view on Smartspeed Consulting Limited Taking the frustration out of on time delivery.

Beware of the Decay of Standards

Over time standards often drop. This can affect all manner of things within your business, from customer service, to quality records, and more. There is an interesting insight to this called 'broken window theory' ( Wilson and Kelling ), where windows were seen to be broken on derelict buildings, and as it was seen as OK (i.e. no one was prosecuted) then everyone else joined in. Eventually all of the windows were smashed out, by people who normally wouldn't get involved. How does this manifest in your business? Do people see others who don't tow the line and complete the necessary actions / disciplines without corrective actions being taken? Do they then follow suit? A good example of this going wrong in a manufacturing business is with data entries into an MRPII system (or the routines around the system). A failure to provide the right information, or inputs, can create all kinds of chaos. I see many businesses where the users put up with the chaos and cre

Stalling the implementation?

Projects often take longer than expected, but sometimes it is us who are creating the delays. Stalling the implementation however might not always be in the interest of everyone who is involved. Sure there will be teething problems, but this is natural and can bring a whole raft of benefits when encountered. During the infancy of a project / new way of working there will be things that won't work as you would expect. If the planning of the implementation was done thoroughly then you will be expecting to see a certain number of these types of problems and they will get resolved. When we resolve these issues our skills improve and we get better as individuals and as a team. There will always be bits missing from a project plan, but as long as the important things have been covered and planned for then the small bits that aren't crucial can be coped with as they arise. If the pros outweigh the cons of making the change then perhaps it's time to go for it. Smar

Improving productivity through formal meetings

Many people hate meetings. There are so many meetings that people attend, and most of the ones I have observed fail to agree / allocate tasks and define responsibilities. They also take too long. Many of these meetings however are routine, they are basically the same meetings week in week out (or day in day out). Taking the time to stop and review the purpose of the meeting can allow you to standardise the meeting, making it more clockwork and functional than it may be currently. The meetings may become 'samey' in structure, but if you can speed them up then they don't become stale. And who knows, you may decide to stop running a few meetings in the process. Smartspeed Consulting Limited Taking the frustration out of on time delivery.

'Winning Ugly' with Process Improvement

When we start out on our improvement projects, whether we are 'going lean' or for another reason, we sometimes find that our grand plan of how the improvement is going to progress differs from what we actually experience. An approach often referred to as 'winning ugly' (achieving the result, but possibly not in the way you first envisioned, is a nice way of putting it) is a good one to keep in mind when you are faced with projects (and even individual meetings within those projects!) that aren't going to plan. An obvious point that I see on a regular basis is the amount of detail and planning that is put into the improvement project plans because of the fear of having to win ugly. Now, this is not to say that you should skimp on the details and start with a poorly thought out project, but the phrase 'fit for purpose' certainly comes to mind. Unnecessary polishing of project plans delays taking action. Get the plan fit for purpose and then start taking a