Are suggestion boxes useful?

Suggestion boxes are one of those seemingly good ideas that can easily backfire. When we are studying a process area we create a big wall map which is a visual presentation of how the process works. It makes it easy for employees to see how and where their part of the process fits into the whole.

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In search of world-class performance

World-class, or best-in-class, are terms that organizations like to use to either describe themselves or to use as a benchmark comparison. These terms are often used as some kind of blanket description.

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The unlikable tendencies of a consultant

Contrarians have an innate desire to be skeptical, take opposing viewpoints, and want to do things differently. Although it can be slightly irritating for others in a social setting, it’s very helpful when you are looking for opportunities in a business.

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The good and the bad of overtime

Whenever we see overtime over 5% an analytical red flag goes up and we start to suspect that there may be too much cost built into the process. Many organizations use overtime to offset peak volume periods.

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The real value of “5S”

5S is a Japanese workplace organization methodology that is typically part of most “lean” programs. There are a few variations of how to translate the original five Japanese words.

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A solution in search of a problem

A consultant spent three hours watching a production line trying to find opportunity. It was a simple quality inspection area where the product flowed in a continuous stream past a number of trained inspectors.

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Managers don’t provide a “backup” assignment

In many operations, back up assignments can be a useful means to even out daily workflow. By providing a “ready backlog” of work that can be pulled if the main task is delayed for whatever reason, a manager can help optimize the productivity of an area.

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