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Productivity By the Numbers

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 fine. We invariably talk about what has been done so far and how they lead the floor and the example they set themselves. One of my favourite little points is that as a leader, you get the performance that you project.

What I'm trying to get at here is that your team are watching you, they are watching how much you do, or don't do. They are watching what behaviours you accept, and what you don't, what you say you deliver and don't, you get the idea. They will follow the example that you set as a leader. If you want to have a high performing team then, you must be a high performing leader who can set a great standard and energise those around you. 

My frequent questions tend to be about where are you spending your time and are you using it wisely?I'm quite a fan of a lot of what the Covey 7 habits has to say, there is a huge amount of common sense in there. I love the use of the 4 time quadrants. Invariably when we start out people are spending a lot of their time in Quadrant 1(important & urgent tasks aka firefighting). Very little, if any time, in Quadrant 2 (Important not urgent) – which is where you really want to live! A surprising time in Quadrant 3 (Urgent & Not important) and there is always a bucket of time in Quadrant 4 (Not Urgent & Not Important) which is just wasting your time. So if you, as the leader, are spending your time everywhere but quadrant 2, why would you expect your team and your production to live in Quadrant 2 and be productive?

Think bout these 4 quadrants in terms of your shop floor production.

  • How much time does your floor spend in Quadrant 1 activities, the firefighting? Is it more than 50%? More than 75%? How much waste is going on in this zone, how much rework? High Breakdown levels and lots of time wasting, perhaps even shuffling jobs to find the one that you want to work on and avoid the other ones.
  • What about Quadrant 2, Important & not urgent, this is the perfect zone for your production to be in, you are building what you need as you need it, and you know where everything is at.
  • Quadrant 3, Urgent & not Important – this is when your building jobs perhaps to satisfy a promise that someone made that really didn't have to be made. This is the stuff that forces you to reshuffle the entire plan just to fit something in that isn't needed for another month (or two!) again in here you will find a pile of waste in your system.
  • What about Quadrant 4 – Not Urgent & Not Important, here you are just filling in time, perhaps building stock just to build stock and keep people busy. Moving stuff around the plant just because you can and to make it look like you are busy. This area is pure waste.

When you start thinking about each thing that is happening in your plant and try classifying it into Q1,Q2,Q3 or Q4 you soon start to see how much waste is going on in your operation. At the same time, you are doing this, you need to start classifying your own activities into the 4 quadrants and start removing the firefighting of Q1, the time wasting of Q4 and limiting your time in Q3 the busy work. Only if you start spending your time in the valuable Q2 planned, Important non-urgent work can you expect your team to live here as well.


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Wednesday, 22 May 2019

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