Friday, October 31, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Which way do you lean?
I was at a networking talk recently on Lean techniques and how they can be applied to non-manufacturing processes. Manufacturing companies, following the thinking of people such as W. Edwards Deming and Eliyahu Goldratt, realised a long time ago that costs can be taken out of systems by ensuring that waste is kept to a minimum and quality is built in to the process.
Waste is a broad concept that includes everything not directly related to achieving the desired outcome such as unnecessary work, movement, scrap, cost, expenditure, research, etc. In manufacturing terms this equates to ensuring that stock and work in progress are kept to a minimum. This has some interesting side effects. For instance a common belief is that an expensive piece of equipment, a computerised (CNC) lathe for example should be working all the hours that are available; i.e. the asset should be sweated. However, if you step back a bit and think of the whole process, it becomes clear that in any process there is always one step that is the slowest in the system and that dictates the overall throughput. Once the bottleneck is identified, it can be eliminated, machines can be added, manpower can be employed etc, but the overall effect is merely to move the bottle neck somewhere else. In effect what happens is that raw materials are consumed at the rate of the fastest step in the system, partially worked materials (Work in Progress or WIP) build up at each station in the process and the system still only creates finished goods at the rate of the slowest step with the additional bonus of now lots of money is tied up in the system in the form of unfinished parts. If you also consider that if a quality failure occurs somewhere and there is a lot of WIP this will equate to a large amount of money being wasted. The lessons here are all about understanding the bottleneck and running the system at the speed of the slowest step.
How can we apply this to non manufacturing processes?
Firstly, understand the process, this is sometimes called As-Is. [SKI: in the Constraints Management world, this is called a Current Reality Tree, or CRT.] Map it out, analyse it, find the bottleneck, identify the inefficiencies, determine where the organisation supports the process and where it doesn't. Is there IT involved? Does it support or hinder the process. Where is the work in progress building up, for example is there a pile of unpaid invoices, are the contracts department struggling to match invoices to contract numbers? What does this mean in terms of your business. Especially in terms of cash flow, liquidity and staff morale.
Next determine the metrics associated with the process and actually measure them. Metrics are good for a number of reasons, firstly they allow you to determine if any changes actually make a difference, and secondly they enable you to drive behaviour by encouraging the fleshy part of the organisation to understand what constitutes "good" and to focus on achieving it. Consistently.
The next step is to create the picture of the ideal process, the To-Be state. [SKI: in the Constraints Management world, this is called a Strategic Intermediate Objectives Map, or SIO Map.] This is best done in a group, with a shared understanding of the goals of the process, the variations that occur and the peaks and troughs in demand. The key is to be pragmatic and to ensure that the process can really work in practice.
Implementation is the difficult part. Managing the change encourages and supports people to adopt the new approach and make it work. A key element of this is eliminating waste. This means taking away all the encumbrances that stop the process from working slickly and ensuring that everything needed to do the job is to hand. So, necessary files should be close to hand and easy to search. Clutter that adds nothing to the job should be removed. Where possible standards should be adopted, so that roles can be mixed and matched without a need to get to grips with someone else's way of working. Encouraging a culture that always looks for improvements will pay dividends once the initial pain is overcome. Now is the time to take another look at the metrics and trumpet the improvements. If bonuses or benefits are aligned with the metrics the performance can only improve.
The things that struck me about this approach is that it really is obvious. If a clerk costs the organisation 20,000 a year and spends 20% of their time searching for information that equates to a wastage of 5,000 that potentially could be eliminated by merely tidying the filing. Multiply that across all the processes in an organisation and the potential for savings is considerable. The approach is also very simple.
This blog post has only scratched the surface but nevertheless, think about it for a couple of minutes. How much could you save by improving your processes. Would that mean that there is more free time to do more profitable tasks? Does this let you get on with the projects that have been on the back burner? Would you get paid faster? There are any number of ways in which this type of study can very quickly hit the bottom line of your organisation.
If this has piqued your interest. Give me a call.
Chris Bryan---- Phone: +44 1420 588172 Skype: chris.j.bryan ©2008 Chris J. Bryan. All rights reserved. Permission granted to reprint to Throughput.us LLC.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
"What are you doing differently in your business today, from just 30 days ago?"That is the sixty-four dollar question that I asked on Tuesday. Within 24 hours, I had 17 good answers, but I selected Francois Brosseau's as the best of the best. Here it is:
Two things come to mind in reading your question. First I started actually using LinkedIn after being initially invited and doing nothing about it earlier this year. I must admit, thinking back, convincing myself that I was much too busy to begin using it as a networking tool. Your question today has made me realize that the economic anxiety has been the cause of a mind shift towards being much more receptive to using LinkedIn as an effective tool. Like any tool, what you get out of it is proportional to the effort you put into it. Secondly, late today I received an email from a surf shop in California where I spent 3 weeks surfing with the family this summer. "Killer Dana" operates 3 shops in the southern state and they do a brisk internet sales business as well. Instead of the usual promotional email, this one was a personal note from Steven, Killer Dana's "CEO". Reaching out to his clients, he was admitting to spending a lot of time in the water. "Great waves these days", he says, "but also in an attempt to avoid news of the turmoil." With that kind of thinking this could really be a banner year for surfing, I thought. But he went on to admitting that things were challenging and that he was focused on running a tight ship, while still providing clients with great service and selection, as he described: - by providing further markdowns, even on surf boards, something they had never done in the past - by continuing to offer free shipping, despite rising costs - by completing a company-wide inventory to make sure clients aren't disappointed due to lack of availability, backed up by a "free stuff" guarantee And to my surprise, - by vastly Expanding its product offering, this to make sure clients have incentive to shop in one place, Killer Dana He finished his personal note by not only thanking clients for their loyalty, but by showing his appreciation for allowing he and his colleagues to live an incredible lifestyle - like coming to work in surf trunks and sandals, holding board meetings on surfboards, taking mid-day trips to the beach.... He completed on a more serious tone, sincerely thanking clients for allowing them the opportunity to continue doing what they love to do. The Killer Dana message is simple: maybe this is a great time for reaching out to clients and personally telling them just how much we have appreciated their business and their loyalty, over a period of time which has proven to be a very incredible period of growth. We can do it by email, by regular mail or even better, in person. Check out killerdana dot com —Francois Brosseau (via LinkedIn)It pays to have smart friends... what are YOU doing differently? -ski ---- Jeff 'SKI' Kinsey, Jonah Strategy, Tactics & Execution Dover, OH | Hilton Head Island, SC | Las Vegas, NV Cell: +1 330.432.3533
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
"The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, Fannie Mae's regulator, has suggested that the accounting errors may have been willful, in part to increase Fannie Mae's earnings per share and thus increase the bonuses available to senior executives." By Terence O'Hara Washington Post Staff Writer Thursday, March 31, 2005; Page E04So, let us not forgot greed when trying to understand exactly where the wheels came off. -ski P.S. You (nor your assistant) ever did return my last email...
Sunday, October 19, 2008
"Without admitting or denying the allegations in the Commission's complaint, Dunlap and Kersh agreed to the entry of judgments: (1) permanently enjoining each of them from violating the antifraud, reporting, books and records, and internal controls provisions of the federal securities laws; (2) permanently barring each of them from serving as officers or directors of any public company, and (3) requiring Dunlap to pay a civil penalty of $500,000 and Kersh to pay a civil penalty of $200,000."So without an explanation from Dunlap, I will remain a fan, but endeavor to keep a close watch on my passions. The tenets in Dunlap's book Mean Business are still valid today. It is the contents of this book that I find refreshing and of great value. His "Four Simple Rules" provide great insight.
- Get the right management team
- Pinch Pennies
- Know what business you are in
- Get a real strategy
"I got married to an ugly woman. Don't ever do that. It just sucks the energy right out of you."The same is true for employing the wrong people, "it just sucks the energy" out of your business. Good people might leave; smart people that you need to turn things around. But rather than fight the "system" they find it easier to move on to greener pastures. I personally have done this on more than one occasion. How sad. There has never been a better time to get the wrong people off your payroll. But you have to build the trust that you know what you are doing. That by removing the deadwood, the remaining organism will live. That is what happened at Scott Paper Company during Dunlap's rein. That is the insight available in this book. A lot of good people were let go... because the corporation was in danger of dying and taking everyone's job. In health care, sometimes a limb must be removed to save the body. What tough decisions have you failed to make? Is your business at risk of death? There is hope... -ski ---- Jeff 'SKI' Kinsey, Jonah Strategy, Tactics & Execution Dover, OH | Hilton Head Island, SC | Las Vegas, NV Cell: +1 330.432.3533 ©2008 Throughput.us LLC. All rights reserved.
"Trust must come first."That is not just a theory, it is a law! Break it at great risk to your effectiveness. Most have heard of southern hospitality and, it is a real and ever present mindset for a lot of people raised in the south. However, as more and more northerners (me included) settle in the warmer climates of America, this brand of treatment is in danger of joining the dinosaurs. How sad. But I digress... The other day I was reviewing some of my notes on a sales training program, and the first step in the process was "building trust" with the suspect. The method even had a very simple rule: you cannot proceed to the second step, until the first step builds some level of real trust. Ever notice the connectedness of the universe? I have never been more excited for the future. Many of us have heard the misquote from Richard M. Nixon, Condoleezza Rice and Al Gore that the Chinese symbol for crisis is formed from the symbols for "danger" and "opportunity". The truth according to Wikipedia is that it is formed from the symbols for "danger" and "crucial point". Even better! In other words when faced with danger, we get to decide! The old adage, fight or flight. When you hear that Wall Street is gyrating in huge 700+ point loops, yes, there is danger. But there is also great opportunity for gain at this crucial point. But again, Wall Street is only 20% of the picture down on Main Street. Need help making sense of your business? Get help! I am looking for businesses in Northeast Ohio to purchase. Or to consult with. Basically to "turn around" in the strict sense of generating more throughput. And that throughput will most likely take the form first, of creating more cashflow which should lead to more profits. But only if that is one of the primary goals of the organization. As Zig Ziglar says, we need to start asking ourselves the tough question: "Does this decision before me take me closer to my goal, or further away?" -ski P.S. As one method for building trust, I offer a "results-based" pricing option for clients... ---- Jeff 'SKI' Kinsey, Jonah Strategy, Tactics & Execution Dover, OH | Hilton Head Island, SC | Las Vegas, NV Cell: +1 330.432.3533 tag: Sell Baby, Sell™ ©2008 Throughput.us LLC. All rights reserved.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
- Tom Kolp; President of Kolp Real Estate
- Marie Cutlip, CPA; Owner of BetterFinancialSolutions.net
- Alan Plastow, MAT, PMP; Founder of BizTechNet.org
Friday, October 17, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
1. Is there anyone here who does not belong here?Go on to explain that you will do everything possible to help that person (or persons) find more suitable work. Consider getting them professional "out placement" help. Note however, these people are extremely busy right now. But call an agency and see what advice they offer.
2. Is there anyone here that would be willing to sell?This could be a short term arrangement. Maybe long term if it works out. Ask them to follow up with you first thing in the morning. Suggest that everyone consider this question seriously. Sleep on it. Do not be too hasty as to discount the idea too quickly. I am not thinking of "sales" the same way you probably are when you hear this question. Unless you know who Justin Roff-Marsh is, you do not understand sales in the modern free enterprise system. But I digress...
3. How many of you can be here Saturday morning at 7AM for a Crawford Slips session?Say what? Yes, Crawford Slips. Not brainstorming. There is a huge difference. Especially when it comes to producing results! Not sure? Check out either one of H. William Dettmer's books on Crawford Slips: Strategic Navigation or Brainpower Networking. -ski P.S. You might want to call me and schedule some time for me to assist in your efforts... before my calender gets too full to help. I have a retainer starting as affordable as $500 per month. ---- Jeff 'SKI' Kinsey, Jonah Strategy, Tactics & Execution Dover, OH | Hilton Head Island, SC | Las Vegas, NV Cell: +1 330.432.3533 tag: Sell Baby, Sell™ is now a trademark of Throughput.us LLC ©2008 Throughput.us LLC. All rights reserved.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
- Einheit: Mutual trust, unity, and cohesion
- Fingerspitzengefuhl: Intuitive feel, especially for complex and potentially chaotic situations
- Auftragstaktik: Mission, generally considered as a contract between superior and subordinate
- Schwerpunkt: Any concept that provides focus and direction to the operation
Thursday, October 09, 2008
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
Monday, October 06, 2008
"Trust me until you can."For me that simply says, lets proceed as if I have won your trust. In other words, why not assume that I am trustworthy, at least until I prove myself trustworthy? Or until I violate your trust? It makes life a lot easier. Do I get burnt more often? No. Most people tend to live up to your expectations. So I tend to expect more from my business connections. Yes, there are set backs. Methinks it is called life. However, as I continue to challenge the assumptions, of which trust is just one component, I gain a more complete understanding of the problem. And when trust is broken or abused, action is required. Nothing new in that statement. The Power of Assumptions? For me, the power is in challenging assumptions. What breakthroughs await you on the other side of status quo? So, take the survey and I will report the results in a few days. -ski P.S. Need help challenging your assumptions? Call me. ---- Jeff 'SKI' Kinsey, Jonah email@example.com Dover, OH | Hilton Head Island, SC | Las Vegas, NV Cell: +1 330.432.3533 ©2008 Throughput.us LLC. All rights reserved.
"Not only were their processes quicker, but Honda knew or learned how to exploit this advantage to achieve a decisive result in the marketplace" —Page 27, Certain to WinThis passage was in regard to Yamaha's 1981 attempt to become the world leader in motorcycle manufacturing. As I am sure you recall, during this battle for the marketplace (approximately 18 months), Honda introduced over 110 new bikes to Yamaha's 37. In the first chapter, your point that victory is not always to the strong is well taken. Your introduction of "time" as a construct throughout the affairs of all business starts to take shape. The highest praise that I can bestow is simply that having just completed a thorough reading of your book, I will begin to read it afresh tomorrow morning. Again, thanks for taking the time to share your unique insights with the world through this book. I now understand how little I have understood the power of Boyd's work. You have made it come alive in ways that I am only now beginning to appreciate. Thank you. I am a new person today, because of Certain to Win. Enthusiastically, Jeff 'SKI' Kinsey
''From the perspective of many people, including me, this is another thrift industry growing up around us,'' said Peter Wallison a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. ''If they fail, the government will have to step up and bail them out the way it stepped up and bailed out the thrift industry.''Hopefully at least one political candidate will seek to understand the complexities of the world around us before demanding more of the same stupid changes... Jeff 'SKI' Kinsey
Friday, October 03, 2008
Thursday, October 02, 2008
UPDATE: Here is a link to the story from September 30, 1999Buffett knows a bargain when he sees one. What are you doing with your extra cash? -ski P.S. Did I mention that the bailout/failout may now be the lessor of two evils? How sad. ---- Jeff 'SKI' Kinsey, Jonah firstname.lastname@example.org Dover, OH | Hilton Head Island, SC | Las Vegas, NV Cell: +1 330.432.3533 ©2008 Throughput.us LLC. All rights reserved.