Skip to main content


Optimum Process Versus Optimum Steps

Time spent training people to perform specific aspects of their work does not mean that an optimum process is born. An optimum process is not the same thing as having 'standard operating procedures' (or SOPs). A process is a collection of steps, the correct sequence can radically change the overall time required to complete a process. The optimum process is often hiding in front of you The optimum process is often buried within the average performers process, the key is to uncover the optimum process and fix the training. Giles Johnston Author, Consultant and Chartered Engineer

How do you manage your capacity?

One of the central issues to any business is how do you manage your capacity. Getting this wrong can result in poor delivery performance , confusion within the business and unhappy customers. Do your capacity levels fluctuate wildly? Many businesses have some form of software (such as project management software, ERP / MRP etc.) to help do this, but what about businesses that don't have this support? Regulating your capacity is all about knowing what you have committed to and when. Many businesses that don't have a formal system do have some kind of paperwork or spreadsheet system to help with their day to day management . Adding some simple capacity information to these systems can be quick and straightforward to do and can give you a surprisingly quick improvement to the level of control you have over the operational side of your business. From visual management ideas with your paperwork stacks, to an additional (hours required) column in spreadsheets, all

Improving your on time delivery performance using your MIS

MIS Overview Most businesses have some kind of MIS (Management Information System) that is designed to drive the actions of the business. Whether you use CRM, ERP, an online project management software application, or a spreadsheet, they all can count as a MIS. Over time the quality and usability of that system can wane and leave the business with a less than effective tool for running the business. Correcting this situation is not difficult . If this is something that irritates you as you strive to achieve a consistent on time delivery performance (with the accompanying high level of customer satisfaction and business profit) then read on. Lack of understanding One of the most common reasons I have come across for a MIS system losing effectiveness stems back to a lack of understanding of, and around, the system being used. There are two issues here that I would like to quickly touch upon. The first is the lack of appreciation by team members of why a healthy system i

Do You Suffer from the Hockey Stick Curve?

One of the more interesting phrases I have heard when discussing on time delivery performance is the 'hockey stick' curve. You know the sort of thing I mean (see below). Your business outputs very little in the first couple of weeks of the calendar month, and the last week or two look like everyone is running on rocket fuel! The rate of change in output is huge and once again the business achieves its turnover target. Interpretation of the 'hockey stick' curve. Skeptics may say that although work is invoiced it isn't produced until the next calendar month, which accounts for the low levels of output in those weeks. So what? The important question is what do you do about it if you recognise this pattern occurring in your business. Finding out if you have an uneven order book is essential to find out if you have a throughput issue or a loading issue. Loading issues can be rectified easily by balancing out the order book (and coming up with a be

Are your SOPs based on best practise?

SOPs, or Standard Operating Procedures, are often written by people who understand a process, not necessarily the people who know how to do it best. Finding the few people who know how to do it best, in practise, in real life, and getting them to define the optimum process can do a lot to help improve a process' performance . Apart from the obvious savings to time there could be quality improvements, customer satisfaction improvements and more. Who's writing your business' SOPs? Giles Johnston Smartspeed Consulting Limited Taking the frustration out of on time delivery.

Understand your MRP reports

If you are running an ERP / MRP system a good question to ask is ‘do my staff understand the reports they use?’ I have visited many businesses over the years who use such systems and it still staggers me how many of them don’t really understand the information that is provided by the system. Not only can this cause issues with delivery performance but it can create additional work, bloat over time requirements, inflate working capital and generally produce chaos in the workplace. Periodically it may be worth your while to review the core system reports with your teams to see if they can be improved and ensure that there is correct understanding of how to use the reports within the group. Smartspeed Consulting Limited Taking the frustration out of on time delivery.

Continuous Improvement: Getting into the swing of things

I was listening to a gentleman talking yesterday about writing and 'getting into the swing of things' for gaining both competency and efficiency. Although technique can impact performance enormously, putting in some time and repetition can also be invaluable, and then my thoughts wandered to business improvement activities. If you take Continuous Improvement for example, if you don't put in the time and effort to get the right kind of conversations going, or exercise your problem solving muscle, then the quality of the ongoing efforts will be poorer than they could possibly be. Developing relationships with people to facilitate  Continuous Improvement discussions also takes time and effort. One of my best experiences, in one of my latter jobs in industry, took about three months of daily conversations to get one chap to come on-board  When he did come on board through it was worth all of the effort. And I say effort, it wasn't really a difficult process to sp