Monthly Archives: June 2009

Three basic questions for every business.

Making choices is the stock in trade of any manager, so following are a few questions you can reasonably ask yourself that will force you to consider some of the basic choices every business needs to ask itself. Which markets … Continue reading

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Operational Efficiency Vs Productivity

These terms are often used interchangeably, often in my experience muddying the waters in situations where clarity is required. Efficiency is all about how well you use the status quo, productivity is more about how you leverage gains to be … Continue reading

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The secret of being right.

No secret in being right, just be prepared to be wrong, and be prepared to accept the responsibility for being wrong, then learn from it. Thomas Watson Sr was spectacularly wrong when he said “there is a market for perhaps … Continue reading

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Lean and six sigma

I am sometimes asked the differences between Lean and Six Sigma. The “toolboxes” for operational improvement represented by these two approaches contain substantial overlap, particularly at the relatively basic level where most improvement initiatives start.  Lean seeks to maximise the … Continue reading

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Control in a supply chain.

Three things constitute the basis of decision making in most enterprises, Risk, Cost and Reward. Boiled down, this is what it is all about. In a supply chain, each participant does its own assessment and comes to a conclusion about … Continue reading

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Incentive alignment in a chain.

One of the hidden challenges in most transformations of a supply chain to a demand chain, is the alignment of the incentives through the chain. For a demand chain to be successful, each point in the chain must see its … Continue reading

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Through others eyes

When considering an important move, the range of possible reactions to the move by competitors often receives too little attention. Predicting competitive response to a move is of critical importance, and clear analysis should be done prior to committing resources. … Continue reading

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The trap in cost cutting

Across the board cost cutting is an attractive option as times get tougher, just make sure you are not cutting the costs that create the value customers pay for. The first thing that usually gets cut in a period of … Continue reading

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The CEO as Senior Brand Manager

  Brands are often the greatest asset a business has, in the case of service businesses, brands make up most of the assets. Why then are the brand sensitive decisions so often made by young, inexperienced so-called “marketers”  whose agenda … Continue reading

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Sheepwalking.

Re-reading Seth Godins little gem  “Triibes” during the week, I again came across the term “sheepwalking” to describe the pervasive impact on most people of the status quo. Last week I was chatting to a mate about a book he … Continue reading

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Can Facebook or Linked-in replace your lawyer?

Nice thought. Contracts are the usual form of defining an agreement, they are an enforceable substitute for trust that each party will keep his end of the bargain. However, the web has made information so freely available, that the potential … Continue reading

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Transparency as a manager of performance

There is a theme in the demand chain category of this blog. Wherever I go, I see the power of information transparency to improve performance, not just in commercial situations. There is an ongoing battle in Australian education for school … Continue reading

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Treat the cause

“We do not have time for that long term stuff, we have to …..(fill in your own)… or we will not survive to worry about it”. This is true, particularly in small business, but if you do not put aside … Continue reading

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Demand = orders + lost opportunities.

Most supply chains are driven by orders, someone reacts when an order is received. The niggling question is always about demand, as most recognise it drives orders, inventories, innovation, competitive pressure, and so on, but is rarely measured. Orders are … Continue reading

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Conformance and change

Most efforts to improve Operational Efficiency  (OE) have at their core the elimination of variation in a process. It starts by setting standards, measuring the variations, and then progressively eliminating the causes of the variations, until you have a repeatable … Continue reading

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Efficiency and Agility.

Further to the earlier post, “An agile demand chain” that drew the distinction between agility and flexibility, consider the differences between efficiency and agility. In many plants, efficiency has been built at the expense of agility, as long runs of … Continue reading

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Free stuff sells

Yesterday I went to a free concert in Darling Harbour in Sydney, and saw Jeff Lang who plays “my music” the blues, and must be one of the best lap slide players in the world. Point is, it was free, … Continue reading

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The Queen of Marketing.

Today is the Queens birthday long weekend holiday (it always falls on a Monday, strange that) in a couple of Australia’s states, not all, and it is not even her real birthday. Obviously, someone failed to get the message about … Continue reading

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The hard bit, and the glory bit.

Great, the big presentation nailed it, the sale is made, the goal achieved. When the cheering is over, and the empties from the celebration cleared away, perhaps a reflection on what really made the sale would be useful. The presentation … Continue reading

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What Sol taught us.

The current debate in Australia about executive remuneration, kept alive recently by the departure of Sol Trujillo from Telstra, about who gets what, and how much is enough, is essentially a spurious debate about supply and demand for executive “talent” … Continue reading

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