Category Archives: OE

Operational Efficeincy is a pre-requesite of success, it is a price of being in the game, a means to the end. However, OE is not strategy, a mistake many people make. This category contains thouights that relate to the impr0opvement of operational and manufacturing efficiency, and contains thoughts on Lean, 6 Sigma, Kaizen, and many other tools and techniques, and their application to continuous improvement.

2 parameters, 5 measures of great process

Robust, repeatable, and easily taught processes are the foundation of good outcomes. It therefore makes sense to consider the factors that separate good processes from poor ones, the effective from the ineffective. The measure of the process has two parameters: … Continue reading

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Collaboration and the cost of yesterday

Ronald Coase  was first to recognise and articulate the economic relationship between individuals and the co-coordinating structures necessary to organise the work of individuals, coining the term “Transaction costs” in his 1937 essay “The nature of the firm”  Coase in … Continue reading

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Go to the Gemba

“Gemba” is a Japanese term, literally “the real place”  and is a term used extensively in lean management, meaning, in effect, go to where it happens and look to understand. This originally meant the manufacturing floor, but just as easily … Continue reading

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Lean & Six sigma sustain each other.

Lean is at its core a management system, a holistic way of looking at the way an enterprise manages itself through a culture tuned to improvement, group and personal responsability, while six sigma is a quantitative process of managing in … Continue reading

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Lean operations undermine “offshoring?”.

Some time ago I mused that perhaps the worm was slowing if not turning, in relation to local manufacturing, rather than buying in from China as the default option. The crisis in the US, far worse than anything in this … Continue reading

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Commercial sustainability needs people.

  The next time you hear an argument that justifies moving Australian manufacturing to a low  cost country in order to compete, refer to this post on the Evolving Excellence blog describing the work practices in a Toyota’s Kyushu plant. … Continue reading

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Solution or counter-measure

Applying a band-aid to a problem, a measure to counter the impact of a problem is often an attractive short term option, particularly to a management  measured in the traditional way on output, to whom stopping a line is heresy.  … Continue reading

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Opposites attract?

Only in physics, in personal relationships we seek common ground, people who under stand instinctively what we are saying and thinking, and who work the way we do. Collaborative teams  and alliances of many types often fail from the start … Continue reading

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Geography is dead

Since man sought to organise themselves beyond family groups, geography has been the fundamental organising principal of almost all the institutions created, it was really the only thing that made sense. Everything from businesses to empires and the church(s) were … Continue reading

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Having a goal can be counter-productive.

Continuous improvement initiatives I have seen almost always impose a “finishing line”, correctly believing that focusing on an objective is a key to motivate performance. However,  what they often miss in this approach to improvement is the cultural aspect of … Continue reading

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Focus on the process.

Focusing attention holistically on a whole  process, end to end, and the productivity of the process will improve, improving the outcome. When you focus just on the outcome, all you get is the opportunity to improve the efficiency of the … Continue reading

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Inventory reduction is an outcome.

It seems almost all improvement programs I see have as a central objective the reduction of inventories. That is pretty easy to achieve, order less, less often, and in smaller quantities, objective achieved. However, when you count customer service, and cycle times … Continue reading

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Lean manufacturing and Demand chains.

Two differing approaches to management improvement you may think? Not so. Both require extensive: * Collaboration, * Transparency, * Robust processes, * A set of values imbued through an individual organisation, and group of  organisations in a demand chain,  * Respect … Continue reading

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To improve health, get Lean

In the last federal budget there was money allocated to the task of digitising health records allocated,  and there was some pretty unedifying comment on the amount, the progress to date, and the implications on privacy. What dross. Australian health … Continue reading

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Cash for suggestions – is it necessary?

Many businesses offer cash for suggestions, put a suggestion box near the canteen, and wonder why most of the suggestions  are physically impossible, morally debatable, and often both. In the end, successful suggestion programs offer the reward of personal satisfaction … Continue reading

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Copying is not enough.

It is pretty easy copying the machines, layouts, and the physical things that go towards producing something, and there are consultants by the thousand who will help if you need it. What you cannot duplicate easily are the management systems … Continue reading

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Problem solving continuum.

The variety of approaches to problem solving appear to form a continuum, that looks a bit like: The “workaround” where you find a way around the problem, hoping by magic it will go away.  Further along the continuum we have … Continue reading

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Lessons from the buffet.

I had lunch a few months ago with a client, just at the local club, nothing fancy, as we discussed the very challenging problems of  operational flow through his plant. It was a buffet, simple, serve yourself, and as luck … Continue reading

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What is the problem, and how do we fix it?

Working my way through a book on the implementation of “Lean”  called “Manage to learn” an interesting book that further evolves the textbook as a story genre started by Eliyahu Goldratt’s best selling book “The Goal” originally published back in … Continue reading

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Effectiveness, not just amount, of spending

All you hear about currently is the Australian “health debate” a debate the pollies have decided to have as a political exercise, are discussions about who gets to spend the money i.e. exercise the power,  it has little to do … Continue reading

Posted in Management, OE, Operations, Personal Rant | Tagged , , | 2 Comments