Top Tips For Business
Eliminate and Improve:
The following short tips are a brief extract from one of our
comprehensive and very successful Lean Operational Excellence
Programmes. These programmes are always customized to suit
the business sector and company size.
1. To start an improvement process, select a process or sub-process
that is known to be inefficient and problematic. I strongly advise that
you do not take on too big a project to start with. Continuous improvement
is a step-by-step (incremental) process.
2. Study and map out the process. Talk to everyone involved within that
process and also to those who are the immediate inputters or are recipiants
from it. Ask many "what if's". e.g.. what happens if that information is incorrect?
Why do we do it that way? How else could we do it?
3. Identify the waste of time, effort and materials within the process. This
includes any activity which is not adding value to the customer, with the
exception of activities which,while not adding value, may have a regulatory
4. Design a future state; a desired and realistically achievable map of the
process when all improvements are made.
5. Work first on any bottleknecks which show up.
6. Agree and set metrics with which improvements will be measured and evaluated.
7. Key to your success will be the extent to which you successfully engage
and involve those who know the process and nuances best: Those employees
who work in that process.
For a free comprehensive discussion on how we can help you
Rudyard Kipling once wrote a poem which includes the following verse:
achieve Business Process Excellence please click on a
"Contact US" button at the top or bottom of this page.
A Tip from Kipling:
There is great knowledge in the answers to simple questions.
"I keep 6 honest serving men
(They taught me all I knew)
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who"
Knowledge and insightfulness come from questioning. This is
especially true in a business.
If you had acess to the valuable store of relevant knowledge in
the posssession of:
- Industry Groups
plans would be. Well, you can access much of this intelligence.
Get into the habit of questioning incessantly. If you have employees
get them into the same habit of continuously questioning external
contacts who have insight to the business sector..
You will be very surprised how much information people are happy to
Creating an internal "intelligence" file on customers, markets,
competitors etc. can be done manually, but there are very effective
CRM software packages available which can make this process easy.
Internally, questioning everything you do will very often lead to the
elimination of wasteful activities and create more value for your
customers. When questioning an internal problem or process I really
like the word "Why"?
When someone tells me that "this is happening because of XXX....",
the "Why" question should bring us down another level closer to the
true root cause.
Questioning each resulting answer in turn, in the same way,
will eventually lead to a root cause (or causes).
So: Invite Kipling's 6 Honest Men into your business and introduce
them to all staff.
A "Must Do" Tip:
Always know the answers to the following:
They will help you to focus on "Hot Spots" which may need your attention.
1. What is the individual contribution (Gross Margin) from each individual product or service & is this measured on a frequent (weekly or monthly) basis?
2. What is the amount and percentage each customer contributes to your GM & is this measured on a frequent basis?
3. What is the complaint/return rate for each product/service and each customer?
4. What are the trends, in terms of days cover and € value, of your sales pipeline; per product / customer / sector?
5. What is your Current Ratio (Current Assets/Current liabilities) and trend?
The answers to these questions need to be in your regular management reporting systems.
Unless there is a compelling strategic value in a specific product/customer you must be ruthless in assessing their GM contribution. (Items 1-3).
Many companies are too late to react effectively to changing trends in customer or product sales patterns. (Item 4).
Carefully monitor and manage this ratio (5). A deteriorating trend must be analysed and corrected.
If not already done, you really should have benchmark data which compares your performance against these criteria with that of your competitors or sector.