Process Optimization

Your Business is Hemorrhaging and You Don’t Even Know It

There’s an interesting read in this month’s Harvard Business Review (HBR): The Hidden Cost of Inconsistent Decision Making. The article explores the implications of variation in employee judgment and specifically, how to solve for that variation. In essence, the article was about Mura – the Japanese term meaning waste of unevenness / variation.

 

Like many of my clients, the organization featured in the article hadn’t previously considered the impact inconsistency […]

You Can’t Incentive Your Way Out Of Performance Pain

I get the idea behind incentive plans –reward employees for extra effort related to achieving some sort of organizational goal. Typically one that has been hard to come by.

 

Sometimes they work.

 

When expectations are VERY clear.
When the goal isn’t too complex.
When employees have enough autonomy to affect ANY issues in their path that impede performance.

 

 

Most of the time they don’t.

 

First, because the issues incentive programs are intended to fix, aren’t […]

Nothing Ventured Nothing Gained

As a Continuous Improvement expert, I’m a control freak big fan of data. I wholeheartedly believe that you can’t create lasting improvements without 1 – benchmarking and 2 -understanding the context in which the data was derived. But despite the fact that you can quantify nearly every aspect of a process in its current state, when making projections about the future state, stakeholders must understand that even highly detailed […]

3 Lessons From Starbucks Standard Work

Like many tortured souls in my line of work, I frequently enter places of business and during whatever wait there is, reimagine different elements of the operation from the layout and processes, to the product array, delivery mechanism and related possible revenue streams that would improve the customer experience, culture and / or profit.

 

This activity comes as second nature to me and so I can run through scenarios quickly. […]

Poor Performance Is Often About Poor Process

Cuts in headcount are too often made with short term goals in mind. Somehow those with traditional management views consider this among the easier tacts to take when looking at cutting costs. I will grant them that it is one of the faster solutions in that regard. I would hope that these layoffs represent a last resort for Levis Strauss. I imagine that if they are truly experiencing a […]

Getting Past Lean’s Bad Rap

For better or worse, organizations that experience performance pain tend to feel the burn most acutely in Operations. Macresco is often brought in to assess the damage and charged with conceiving of the “Lean” remedy executive management (misguidedly) believes will put an end to their troubles. It is at this point where my uphill battle begins. I’m either battling leadership on the purpose and application of Lean or management […]


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