Friday, 23 May 2008

The good, the bad and .....

I am in transit, returning from the IIE conference in Vancouver. Lean rules ... judging by the content of the conference ... and it is steadily moving from manufacturing into other sectors ... especially healthcare.

Paradoxically, yesterday I read that Toyota was having quality problems with one of its newer auto lines .... so not perfect, then!

It remind us that the pursuit of quality and productivity has to be relentless .... break concentration for a short while and results move from excellent to mediocre very quickly.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

More lean

Well, I said I would try to post while at the IIE conference in Vancouver ... and here I am. I've been to the 'lean' track mostly, hoping to hear some 'pearls of wisdom'. The best presentation was on 'the psychology of lean' (by Karen Martin) reminding us that all change projects (whatever the methodology or tools used) are people projects.... and Karen managed to put over useful ways of engaging those being 'leaned upon' to ensure a greater chance of success.

Saturday, 17 May 2008

On my travels

I'm on my way to the annual conference of the (US) Institute of Industrial Engineers in Vancouver, Canada. Sounds good? Well, it is ... but I'm writing this entry during a 7 hour stopover in Amsterdam ... not so good, eh?

If I find anything of real interest (and novelty) .... apart from my own presentation, of course, I' ll try to blog it there and then.

What I'm particularly interested in is whether I can discern differences in (productivity improvement) practice between the UK (and Europe) and the US?

Any bets on whether I can?

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Brand new country

Vietnam has established a National Brand Name program that by 2050 aims to convey an image of a high productivity country backed by a firm set of values. This is to be a responsibility of every citizen and every organisation.

This is a real challenge as currently Vietnamese productivity is quite low.

One strategy is to build the national brand on the few strong brands marketed by Vietnamese countries.

This looks a positive mission and a laudable aim .. but currently the program looks heavy on exhortation, light on detail. Still, in 40 years or so ... we'll see how close they got!

Saturday, 3 May 2008

This is not a productivity programme

Schering-Plough Corp., the Kenilworth, New Jersey-based pharmaceutical company, has announced that it will cut costs through layoffs and other reductions. The company promoted this as a 'productivity transformation program' - cutting 10 percent of its jobs and shutting plants to save $1.5 billion annually.

This announcement came two days after a panel of doctors had said that its crucial cholesterol drugs Vytorin and Zetia Vytorin should not be used as an initial treatment. The panel recommendation could badly affect sales, which reached a combined $5 billion last year.

This is NOT a productivity programme. It may be a rational and necessary decision in response to external market conditions but to masquerade it as a productivity programme does a(nother) disservice to the concept of productivity.