Saturday, 24 September 2011

Relearn once more

I have just read a dissertation from a student about the implementation of Lean practices in UK manufacturing industry.

Over-simplifying dramatically, it says lots of companies are trying it ... many are failing at it.

The reasons for failure? Everything that you would expect..

Lack of senior management commitment.
Lack of communication.
Failure to anticipate resistance to change
Unrealistic expectations.

These are lessons that are in every management textbook. Either managers don't read .. or they don't understand .. in which case, lots of writers and publishers of management texts are wasting their time.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Sometimes you get surprised

Sometimes your instinctive feel is just wrong. Sometimes things are counter-intuitive.

For example, in Bahrain, they have introduced a ban on outside work between noon and 4pm in the months of July & August. The ban was introduced in 2010 and repeated this year.

Not surprisingly, employers - especially those in construction - complained, saying it would lower productivity.

However, there has been almost total compliance and the government is claiming that workers have been performing better - more productively. A government spokesman says that several employers have indicated productivity increased after the rule was introduced.

Healthier and safer working often does mean higher productivity ... it looks as though this is the case here.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Safe Hands

I've just returned from an event in Ankara, Turkey organised by - and for - Turkish Industrial Engineering students. I have 4 comments to make ...

They did a great job of organising the event .... and looking after me. They engaged me in lots of interesting conversations, discussions and arguments (of the right sort).
I had fun!

... but most of all, I was impressed by their knowledge of IE approaches and - more importantly - the context and environment in which those approaches will have to be delivered. I think the future of IE is safe in their hands.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Work from Home and be more efficient

Allowing workers to work from home will not suit every company, but providing greater opportunities to staff to do so can have real business benefits. According to BT, while the London Olympic Games provides a timely business case to make the leap to greater flexibility, that decision has the potential to deliver returns that outlast the summer’s sporting triumphs. And BT’s research in the wake of the Vancouver Games found that a substantial 30 per cent of businesses would in retrospect have taken the chance to improve flexible working facilities for their staff.

This is an area in which BT leads by example, having encouraged flexible working for years. More than 70,000 of BT’s staff are equipped to work flexibly and around 13,000 work from home. The result has been harder work from employees. Jon Lane, business development and partnership director at BT, says “we find that home workers are 21 per cent more productive than office-based colleagues.” They also take less sick leave. He adds, “We have also made significant savings from reduced accommodation costs, and savings from recruitment and induction costs through better staff retention.”