All that stock on the shelf isn’t an Asset

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The ability to deliver client orders quickly can be the difference between winning or losing an order but how can you ensure that you do that and how quickly do you really need to do it? Part of the c

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Breakfast Standard Work

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Like most parents I have a morning routine that gets followed if I want to get my daughter to school on time, there is very little variation to the routine otherwise things go wrong and we miss the sc

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Lean and the 4 types of Problems

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Every organisation has problems, it doesn't matter how big or how small the organisation, there are always problems. They come in all shapes and sizes from little niggles like there's no A3 paper for

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Lean Lessons from My Mum Pt2 – Less Haste, More Speed

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As a parent I find myself saying things to my 11 year old daughter that I certainly heard my parents say to me, things that made my eyes roll and managed to draw deep huffing breaths from me as these

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The Definition of a Defect

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When I talk to organisations about how to improve things something they all jump on is their quality, we must improve our quality. Great I'd say, so tell me what you mean by that, they would then typi

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10 Rules to Running Successful Virtual Meetings

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With everything that is going on in the world at the moment with the Covid-19 pandemic the move to working remotely has exploded. People have, to be fair, worked remotely for a long time and been succ

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The 5 Keys to Great Visual Management

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Imagine you are in the Scottish Highlands in the late 1500's between you and your extended family or Clan as we call them, you have a bit of land and around 600 cattle and sheep. Now imagine that anot

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Fixing the Pain with Lean Thinking

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Joe walked into a doctor's surgery convinced he was not long for this world. He sat patiently waiting for the doctor, who was running 30 minutes late, but finally it was his turn. The Doctor, an elder

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You Need A Standard

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I spend a lot of time talking to people about lean and ISO (International Standards Organisation) systems, especially ISO9001. People sometimes think that it's a strange mix of things but when you pee

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Lean and the Pipe

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I get asked pretty much every week what Lean is, what's its purpose, how can it possibly help my organisation, we don't make cars, or volume or even, we don't make anything – we are a service organisa

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If you want to cut someone’s hair, they need to be in the room

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"If you want to cut someone's hair, they need to be in the room". I heard that phrase a while ago and it's continued to bounce round my brain nonstop since then because frankly it's brilliant. If you

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Lean and the Million Dollar Printer

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When Taiichi Ohno started the journey that was to revolutionise not just Toyota but the manufacturing world, which has now spread across all organisations including services and even healthcare and co

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Building a Plan to Change a Lightbulb

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Suppose you are sitting in your home, reading your favourite book when there's a bit of a bang and the light above you goes out. Now you are sitting there trying to read in the dark, what do you do? O

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The Benefits of One-Piece Flow

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When I talk with clients undertaking their lean journey about heading towards one-piece flow in their processes, they tend to be slightly nervous. There are lots of discussions about how that will mak

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Continuous Improvement Engagement Survey Results

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We launched a 30 second survey a few weeks back to ask the main question, What is your biggest challenge in gaining engagement in your Continuous Improvement Programs? and the results are in. We had a

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Setting a Team for Success

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Work groups are characterized by the least amount of interdependence. They are based on organizational or managerial hierarchy. Work groups may meet periodically to hear and share information. Teams a

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Minimum Viable Improvements

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Most people will by now have heard of the MVP, the Minimum Viable Product. It's the smallest functioning version of what you want to build or ultimately deliver to your customer but perhaps with limit

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Top Tips for implementing 5s - Podcast

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Episode 8 - Top Tips for Implementing 5s  Last month we got another chance to guest on the fantastic new podcast The Quest to QHSE where we joined host Craig Thornton to talk about 5s and gave ou

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Talking Transport Wastes and the 10 year Old Consultant.

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Yesterday I was sitting with my daughter in a coffee shop as we shuffled between school and one of her many extracurricular activities, she is 10 so there are a lot of activities as she tests out the

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The Quest to QHSE Podcast

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Episode 6  I was really delighted to participate in episode 6 of The Quest to QHSE Podcast with Craig where we got together and talked about how to use lean improvements to save money, something

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Measuring Lean Success

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As questions about lean go, how to measure the success of a lean program or 'how lean' is an organisation seems to be getting an increasing amount of air time in meetings, in part, it's about how do w

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Understanding the Real Waste

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The other week I had a really interesting discussion over a coffee with potential client. They had been working internally to find a way to really drive and push a continuous improvement culture into

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Lean Lessons From My Mum

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It's a bit of a sitcom stable, the main character comes out with a comment or a put down and then gasps, the hand goes to their mouth and then they utter that terrible phrase... Oh no! I sound like my

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Improving Flow with Changeovers

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One of the 5 fundamental principles of lean is to obtain flow, find a way that your product or service flows seamlessly from the start of your process to your client and do this as fast as is practica

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Lean – The Why, What and How.

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I get asked all the time what is the point of lean? Why would you 'do lean'? It's actually a pretty common question and there are many many answers that people give when they are asked about it. The p

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Webinar Rerun - Buiding a Continuous Improvement Program with Toyota Kata

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Unfortunately, Most continuous improvement programs fail, either completely or they fail to live up tot eh hype and expectations that are set up front for them The reason for this is that they ar

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Lean and the Magic of Checklists

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When we start talking to organisations about the use of checklists in their operations to ensure nothing gets missed and what needs to get check or inspected gets, well, checked and inspected we get a

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The Lean Lighthouse

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Lighthouses have got to be one of the most magical of buildings ever created, I love them. They stand against the mighty elements, the wind, the rain, the hail, the sun and everything else the environ

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No Respect – No Lean

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When people talk about lean there are so many areas that are discussed, there are of course all the tools – 5s, Kanban, load balancing (Heijunka), mistake proofing (poka-yoke) Root Cause analysis with

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Pull Vs Push Vs Grab

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One of the fundamental elements of lean is to create pull in the system, so what does that mean? Well lets first agree what we mean when we talk about push systems and the challenges that they create

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Seeing With New Focus - Lean and the Optician

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Just before Christmas, I got my 1st pair of reading glasses, this was after much persuasion from my wife and daughter that something wasn't as good as it could be with my vision. The key hint apparent

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Lean Described in 4 Words

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I get asked frequently to explain what lean is about or find myself explaining to a management team that it's certainly not about reducing headcount. It's about continuous improvement in every area of

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Building a Kanban System with Google GSuite

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Over last 6 months or so I've been playing with Google 's GSuite (disclaimer..I'm a MIcrosoft fan having lived through Windows 3.11 and so many revisiosn of office it's scray) to do a number

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Great blog John. I've been using GSuite for about 9 years now. You've already discovered some of the real gems and you've also gi... Read More
Monday, 07 January 2019 23:32
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Webinar - Saving Time and Money with Kaizen

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We were recently invited to take part in a webinar with the Craig from Mango to talk about continuous Improvement and how a little can go a long way. When it comes to Continuous Improvement

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Making Changes – 1 small step at a time

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Change in any form can be challenging, some people find big changes are scary, for some people it's really stressful. Part of the reason apparently is how our brains have developed over the many thous

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10 Ways To Stifle Continuous Improvement

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You have just noticed that people all around you are making changes to things, they keep tweaking and tweaking them to get "improvement" but they are moving away from what's written down on the paperw

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Improving Quality and Productivity by Standing Still

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It sounds counter intuitive doesn't it, if you want to improve your quality and your productivity it's best if you just stand still for a while. Surely you need to be running around doing things, havi

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Lean and the 5 Second Saving

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I have a question when I work with teams about how long it would take them to save at least $20,000 in their organisation, normally this results in answers of killing meetings or big bang events. When

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How a lean organisation thinks about price

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How do you set the price of your products? It seems like a simple question yet like everything there are multiple answers to this question depending on which organisation you ask or indeed if you

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Lean and the 3 Factors of Waste

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Start talking about lean and almost everyone starts thinking about waste elimination, which is good, mostly. You see what they are usually talking about is removing non-value-added tasks and activitie

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The 5 Principles of Lean

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When we get the call from new or even existing clients eager to start their lean journey they are always desperate to get started. They have heard from friends, colleagues, industry bodies and ma

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Value Stream Mapping is a Team Sport

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Value stream mapping is a phrase that gets banded around in lean quite a lot, "Oh you should map that process" "have you VSM'd that?" and a hold host of other phrases (I quite like to ask if "you have

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How Lean is Your Administration or Service?

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Often you will hear an organisation talk about being 'lean' they have lean processes, they have driven down the waste in their systems, they have 5s and Kanban's and management by walking around,

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Lean and Your True North

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Over the last 10 or 12 years the term "True North", sometimes referred to as "North Star" has gradually become more of a talking point in lean circles. Now it's is increasingly cropping up in conversa

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LEAN and the Sales & Operations Planning Process

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When I talk with organisations about forecasting most tell me it's not possible in their industry, their customers don't know what they need so how are they ever going to know? That usually just

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LEAN as a Learning Framework

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LEAN is one of those things that every organisation, large, small, manufacturing or service should do, for me it's just obvious. A great many people see LEAN as a waste reduction process, there to cut

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Thinking Time

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Daily work life can be busy, meetings, phone calls, paperwork, emails, more meetings. It just never stops. By lunchtime, your head hurts and your thinking I just need 5 minutes to get things in an ord

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When Continuous Improvement Isn't Improvement

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 When is Continuous Improvement not Continuous Improvement? It's not a dad joke, it's one of my favourite annoying questions I pose to clients when we are working through any form of LEAN or 6 Si

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Fight The Worst of the LEAN Wastes

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When it comes to describing the LEAN Wastes I like the DOWNTIME acronym, it gives the added hint that these aren't good things. Most people know and attack the popular ones in the group, the loud ones

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10 Steps to Improving Your Output Targets

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How often have you heard or said something like "We are running behind again!" or "We are not meeting our output Targets", "The System says it should only take", "We have timed it and know how long it

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Improving Your Cycle Time

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I don't know how many times I have the conversation or overhear the conversation about wanting to improve throughput in a operation by doing things quicker. Typically it's something like "Lets fi

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The Value of Identifying Bottlenecks

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It's not news that when you have a bottleneck in your process you have a problem, backlogs build up, sales don't go out on time, customers get frustrated and cash flow starts to suffer. Identifyi

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Productivity By the Numbers

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Productivity conversations are always interesting conversations, generally they start about being more efficient in the organisation, when what is really meant is I want more out the factory, which is

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Build Less, Deliver More (the art of improving throughput)

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Volume is the solution, volume will make you more productive, volume will reduce costs. That's the goal, reduce costs and send more money to the profit line. The more you can spread your set up costs

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Why You Should Sweat The Small Stuff

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You hear the advice from a huge number of people, hit the big things 1st, focus on the biggest bang for the buck, don't sweat the small stuff. Yet the thing that people forget, it's all small stuff, u

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Getting Control of Your Projects

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Before we start I want to point I'm not going to be talking about in-depth project management or project office systems, I'm not talking about slippage, work breakdown structures or Gant charts or&nbs

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Are You Running Your Week?

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It's been a busy time of late between some increased travel while working with some great clients in Auckland, plus touching base with some in Christchurch, working with some really interesting indivi

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The Growth Plan - A Problem Solving Tool

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Every business has problems, it doesn't matter the size or complexity of the business issues come up, daily some large and some small. What defines great business and great business cultures is h

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Continuous Improvement Goes To Mars

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On Wednesday morning my alarm went to remind me to get up to watch SpaceX's Falcon Heavy take off on it's test flight. Truth be told I didn't need the alarm, I was up already and excited, this was his

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Getting a Start on Productivity

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You will have heard the saying - if a tree falls in the forest does it make a noise, well Productivity is kind of the same, Are you really productive if no one knows or rather how do you know you are&

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