Skip to main content


Do you want to be right, or get results?

Isn't that a question to get you thinking? I speak to lots of people that get stuck in this dynamic. They know what is right and they stick to their guns, but (occasionally) at the cost of not getting the results they wanted. Getting results often means that you have to do things that you think that someone else should do, or in a way that isn't 'perfect' in your eyes in order to see the results that you want. Have you been guilty of being stuck in this mode from time to time? Getting results doesn't mean that you have to do someone else's work, rather that you put your pride to one side and perform tasks that you could consider as being beneath you for a short period of time. A perfect example of this was when I recently had to get some stickers cut to size and no one wanted to undertake the task on the team I was working with; they all turned their noses up at the idea. However, the stickers had to be resized to prove that the imaging system on the

Are your reporting lines helping your business to become more productive?

Do your reporting lines help you to become more productive? It is question that appears to be rarely asked. Reporting lines exist for most businesses, but to directly increase productivity? Organisation hierarchies are often thought through with a great deal of care. What isn't considered as thoroughly is how the objectives of the management team are cascaded and how the reporting of critical information is handled.  A Simple Feedback Loop The sketch below depicts this consideration: In this model the manager clearly articulates the objective, goal or target that they need their team member(s) to achieve. The objective should help the business to increase its performance - including its effectiveness and productivity. The team member communicates the relevant information to the manager at agreed intervals to the level of detail that has been agreed. Formal reporting can take a number of forms, including: Written reports Meetings One to one catch ups Visua

Where do you focus your OTIF improvement activities?

When it comes to delivering on time, how much of your focus is on the early business process steps? I find that many businesses might fixate on on time delivery to their customers (rightly so, of course) but don't look at what is going on at the stages before the final step. Here are some ideas to whet your appetite when it comes to improving OTIF (On Time In Full) for your organisation. Recognising and discussing the domino effect Each step in your process feeds the next step. A failure to deliver on time at one of the upstream activities can snowball and really push out your deliveries. Being aware of this phenomenon and having an ongoing discussion about this in your business is a good first step. If your team aren't willing to discuss this issue then it is unlikely to get resolved. Make internal OTIF part of your normal conversation and change will be much easier later on. Develop KPIs that support on time delivery Most of us have KPIs (Key Performanc

Do you learn from your continuous improvement experiences?

I have the great fortune to work with a wide range of up and coming continuous improvement professionals. Some of them I get to mentor and some I only get to spend time with on projects. I have noticed a distinction within these groups; some progress a lot faster than others. The individuals that progress their development faster than the other group aren’t necessarily better skilled, or have some other talent, but they do one thing the other group don’t: They figure out what works and do more of it and what doesn’t work and do less of that. Not exactly rocket science, but something that I strongly advocate to those that I mentor. These individuals reflect on what they are doing and what they have done and spot the lessons lying underneath the activity. The lessons themselves are unlikely to be the results of the activities, but more what was learned about carrying out the activities. Lessons often include: How to plan more effectively. How to communicate more effectively.

The Risk of 'What Gets Measured Gets Managed'

I love the phrase 'what gets measured gets managed', it is so apt. There is a downside to this phrase, however, and I saw it in action again last week. One of my clients had a real issue with one of their business processes, it was under performing and causing a tangible knock on effect for the rest of the business. Available from Amazon and iTunes They had already looked at their process, developed a metric to help measure the performance and, as the saying goes, it got managed. At the same time this team took their eye off the ball with another one of their key processes and that started to go downhill. We put a measure in place for the other process, established a degree of formality around their Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) - of which there were now two - and balanced out the management of the processes. So, what is the lesson here? Make sure that the team are measuring all of their key processes before the change is about to start. In this case t

Purchase my OTIF improvement course for only $20

It's discount time again! If you would like to improve your OTIF (On Time In Full) delivery performance quickly then check out The OTIF Impro vement Course . Available as an immediate download, you will be able to review and implement my tried and tested management framework quickly. Templates, examples and step-by-step instructions are included with my course - all available immediately after purchase. The best bit is (apart from the results) is that the course can be completed and implemented quickly. Back to the discount... if you use the link below you will be able to purchase the course for $20, instead of the regular price of $47. To find out more about the course - click here . Remember to use discount code OTIF20 at the checkout, or use the link below to get your discount. 0,The OTIF Delivery Course Here's to your new level of delivery performance, Giles About the author Giles Johnston is a Chartered Engineer who specialises in helping busin

Does Email Kill Your Personal Productivity?

A manager at one of my clients came up to me at the end of a meeting. I had been talking about some of the factors that was stopping us from delivering on time and one of them was not making decisions in a timely fashion. Many of the people in the meeting put up some of their arguments about why they had so little time and email came up repeatedly. So, I asked them a qualifying question: "How quickly do you need to respond to your emails?" They largely looked at each other, rather than responding. I continued by asking them whether they were processing their emails in a systematic fashion, or being distracted by their email program (with their 'helpful' pop ups telling you that you have new messages). I got a mixed response to my question and observation, but a couple of them got the point I was making: email is a tool and you get to choose how to use it. In Lean manufacturing there is the reference to 'just in case' manufacturing; product being m