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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The difficulty and importance of managing “shoulder periods”

Many industries experience “shoulder periods.” These are the time periods leading up to and away from the peak volumes. Figuring out how to manage these periods can be a difficult task for managers, but it’s also very important for realizing performance improvement gains.

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What are your three key indicators?

Over the years, one of the things we’ve noticed is that each new manager tends to create new reports, for whatever purpose they have at the time. Old reports are not eliminated, so over time there are a mountain of available reports – and a mountain of performance indicators — in the system.

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To whose benefit?

There’s a Latin expression that will resonate with anyone who has struggled to implement change in an organization: “Cui bono?” Commonly attributed to the Latin orator Cicero, it means “To whose benefit?”

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Hockey-stick forecasts

The “hockey-stick forecast” is a fairly common concept for people who deal regularly with future plans of one type or another.

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Why CEOs struggle to align their organizations

Properly integrated management systems are the most important tool that a CEO has for aligning an organization and creating a culture of accountability and continuous improvement. Management systems help all management levels plan, execute, report and improve their area of responsibility in accordance with the CEO’s strategic direction.

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The origin of “R2”

When we studied organizations and how management reacted to off-schedule conditions or variances from their plan, we noticed that results that came relatively close to an objective were generally considered “good enough.”

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It’s easy to lose sight of the purpose

The backstory on 52 Maxims was that we worked for The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co. for a number of years; during that time were introduced to their concept known as “The Basics” that consisted of 18 fundamentals of service, which they used as daily reminders for their staff.

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Operations has to own the project

Many companies have corporate improvement teams of one kind or another, such as quality or Lean or Six Sigma or some combination. And sometimes they bring in outside consultants to serve a similar role.

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