Saturday, 28 December 2019

Promise yourself

Many of us are about to celebrate the start of a new year. It is traditional to make resolutions or promises to oneself that should make us a better person in some way. Those of us who are committed to productivity or performance improvement should make a similar professional promise.

For example if you travel often, especially by train or plane, how about promising yourself to buy a new business text to read on each journey. At the end of the year, you should have learnt some valuable lessons to help your improvement efforts.

If you are a business person, how about promising to take a waste walk each week, looking for obvious and less obvious signs of waste.

The promise you make to yourself will depend on where you are in your career, in your organisation and in your personal development. But, today, take a little time to think through possibilities - promises you know you could, and should, make and keep.

Saturday, 21 December 2019

Consistent inconsistency is our goal

Six Sigma is based on consistency - on reducing variation so that processes run smoothly and consistently, to their specification. 

Most processes have some variation - due to  inconsistency of raw materials, variations in machine or equipment performance, human inconsistency and error, variations in  the environment and so on. 

We either have to stop such variations occurring or design the process to be flexible enough to cope with the variation.

If the variations are within acceptable - and planned - limits, the process should be able to  cope.

So, oddly enough, our aim is to control process elements and environmental factors  and train our staff so that we have consistent inconsistencies - within tolerance limits.  If you can get there, give yourself - and your team - a pat on the back.

Saturday, 14 December 2019

Experts are not enough

What will a group of productivity experts do for you if you want to improve productivity.

Well, the best you can expect is to gain wisdom about best current practice.  That’s the job of an expert - to disseminate the best of current knowledge.

What the experts won ’t necessarily give you is innovation, new thinking and transformational improvement,

For that you need cognitive diversity - you need the views of the experts tempered and enhanced by other who are perhaps creative in other fields.

Cognitive diversity comes from educational and cultural diversity - so your recruitment and assignment process should help you achieve such diversity of employment - not because it is a good thing to do (which it is) but because it can help change the culture, the thinking and the innovation potential of your organisation.

Asking engineers to solve your engineering problems is clearly a good thing to do - but if you sprinkle into your thinking some extra, divergent thoughts from, say, musicians, sports coaches, medical professionals or others with different background and different expertise … you might just hit on a radical solution .which will transform performance and productivity.

Saturday, 7 December 2019

Don 't uninvent

Why do people keep pretending that useful things have not been invented.

For example, I keep seeing waiting staff in restaurants struggling to carry more than a couple of plates and IK want to shout 'There is such a thing as a tray" but some unwritten convention decrees the tray to an 'object non grata'.  Why?

I am sure you can think of other examples.

Learning from the failure of others can be hugely rewarding.  But so can learning from their successes, their innovations, their 'wins'.

If we are doomed to pretend that useful objects and devices do not exist, we are doomed to recreating the inefficiencies of the past ... and we have enough in the present to concentrate our efforts on!