Saturday, 28 January 2012

Do not expect answers from consultants

Too many people do expect consultants to answer their questions and solve their problems. Of course sometimes the problems are so specific and obvious that consultants can indeed solve them.

In many organisations,though, the 'problems' are not that simple. The job of a consultant then is to help us understand that problem ... so that we can work out our own - tailored - solution which fits in with our mission, our aims, our way of thinking and our way of going about things. Then it might work!

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Bring out the real productivity stats

An interesting letter in a UK national newspaper last week suggested that the average Briton walks 900 mile per year and drinks 22 gallons of alcohol each year. Thus, 'productivity' is 41 miles per gallon.

There must be a whole raft of such 'useful' statistics we could compile.

Any suggestions?

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Careful with those figures

It is at this time of year that we get lots of statistics for 2011. Some of these are eagerly awaited ... so we can see how serious the current financial position is.

Amongst the first to arrive are ... retail sales over the holiday period. In the UK these are being hailed as 'good' ... up on the same period last year, for example.

However ..
(1) The same period last year saw the UK with heavy snow ... the shops were empty because people couldn't or wouldn't get there.
(2) Sales were up. But what about margins and profits. If I lose money on each sale, rising sales aren't going to help.

So be careful how you interpret what you read. Someone might want to give you a good message .. .and might present the figures to give that message. Your job is to look carefully and decide on the real 'truth' (if you have enough information).

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Down to business

So, the festivities are over ... everything is packed away for another year ... and we can concentrate on business.

We know this is a difficult year ... and WE know it demands improved productivity.

So, whatever else we do, we must get that message driven home through the corridors of power and the offices of industry .. we need to tackle REAL productivity issues.

Governments should be looking to invest in infrastructure issues. In the short term, it will help industry. In the longer term it will help industry more.

Industry needs to hold its nerve ... to do those things that allow it to survive these difficult times ... but also to keep one eye on that longer term ... and to prepare for the better times that will undoubtedly come. US manufacturing figures look good ... and could spark a (mini) revival.

Now, if only we could solve the Euro zone debt crisis. Suggestions on a postcard, please!!