Tuesday, 4 December 2012
Monday, 24 September 2012
Hundreds or thousands of jobs lost, when there's no major change to the business offering. No closing of divisions, no withdrawal of Products or Services. No halting of R&D, no outsourcing of functions. Just lots of jobs gone.
Sounds like the Seniors haven't kept their eye on the recruitment ball. Sounds like the jobs and those people weren't being sufficiently "productive"... and whose fault is that? Oh, and for those that remain it sounds like more work and pressure!
So in the long-term game of business success, when you have recruited staff, trained them, supported and led them, the right thing to do is.... Get rid of them? Can't be right can it?
Now, I'm not reflecting on emergency job cuts to avoid bankruptcy (which would be accompanied by Board level pay cuts and losses?), nor major revisions to a business as described above.
Making someone redundant (that means their job is gone, not that they aren't doing it properly), is one of the hardest things any manager has to do. It's horrible.
The answer then? Not central corporate controls on recruitment, but Local Management that makes the most of every job, and morally doesn't recruit for a job that isn't really there.
That is one of the greatest attributes required of Local Management: morally strong people that make the best of the people and jobs they are responsible for where they work, for the benefit of the business and their people.
Wednesday, 29 August 2012
- The transmission of electronic data on demand, stock and replenishment orders
- The despatch, transport and receipt of those of orders
- The production of orders, goods receipt notes, invoices and payments
- Negotiating and signing supply contracts, quality agreements
Wednesday, 1 August 2012
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.
Saturday, 21 July 2012
But now we pause to consider our purpose before we map.
Why purpose? Well without it we will collect lots of data and become swamped by it, sucked into the enticing comfort zone of data collection. Alternatively if we understand the process and meet the people that are involved then we can always go back if our purpose changes.
Remind ourselves which investment needs are the most important? Which are your competitors better than you at achieving? What will make your customers buy more at lower cost to you, more repeat business and tell their friends and colleagues to buy? Where can you gain a sustainable competitive advantage?
When you have that purpose, that lens through which to look, it's time to go and look at the processes. Go to where it happens: the coalface, the Gemba. Meet the people, understand what they do, what works well and what doesn't. Remember to look with your customers' investments, that lens as you see.
What would those customers think of this if they saw it?
What if a TV company came to visit, a regulator?
Above all understand it. Collect the data that is relevant , especially who is involved, as well as process times, cycle times, queuing times and whatever else seems relevant to your purpose. Capture it on paper because it is more flexible than a screen. Time to digitze it later if you want to do so.
Make sure if you are a member of a team that at least one of you knows the whole stream from supplier to key investment need. If you piecemeal it you'll miss something! Look and listen for those opportunities to improve.
Listen to this blog at http://audioboo.fm/boos/893637
Thursday, 12 July 2012
Next we'll list out your enterprise's suppliers... on the left hand side, in the next blog.
Saturday, 7 July 2012
Friday, 6 July 2012
If you'd prefer to listen to this then click here for the Audio boo.
- Time and effort, travel, in finding and buying your product.
- Association with your brand/image/product: an emotional investment. Their friends will know they have bought you.
- Bought into your method of delivering the product to their use.
- Bought into your way of paying for it.
- Accepted your warranty/service support/upgrade policy.
- Purchased directly or indirectly your packaging methods.
Sunday, 3 June 2012
I was sitting in a hotel breakfast room on a Sunday morning: The staff clearly lacked someone pulling the strings and making decisions on tables, clearing and allocating, and who was in charge of greeting and directing guests.
My guess is the same person who prepared the work rota, and who wasn't there to lead when it mattered had decided to run the morning with. "tight ship", keeping "a handle in costs", and managing the wage bill down.
What they missed by not being there and their decision was the looks and words of frustration from the guests who wanted a nice breakfast. They wanted coffee and tea when they were thirsty, fresh bread (not frozen) by the toaster. Repeat business and word of mouth recommendation are like gold dust in most businesses, especially
Hotel and Catering.
How many repeat visits or referred customers would have paid for that extra bit of staffing? What would have been the impact on the bottom line in the long term?
Thursday, 31 May 2012
The debate in the afternoon was supported by a panel of these people and others, and covered the topic well. The presence of Victor and John Bolton as businesses was supported by Tim Routsis of the Cosworth Group as the type of target companies that the event was designed around. Next year, I hope that we can encourage more manufacturing and supply chain companies to attend.
The event saw the launch of the TSB's High Value Manufacturing Strategy 2012-2015 document, in which Pharmaceuticals is identified as a high growth, high R&D intensity sector... just the ideal sweetspot!
Monday, 21 May 2012
Listen to my one minute introduction to the new ICH Guideline, number 11. Click on ICH Quality Guidelines page to access the document itself.
Monday, 14 May 2012
Monday, 30 April 2012
Friday, 27 April 2012
Wednesday, 18 April 2012
Wednesday, 4 April 2012
Adapt is the name of a book by Tim Harford, (Adapt Book page on Tim Harfords website) who works at the Financial Times and presents the excellent Radio 4 program More or Less (Statistics and numbers in the Public Eye, wrestled to the ground).
Adapt is a well researched and readable book that explores the concept of the need for failure in order to thrive on a Market, Corporate and Personal level. He brings together some solid thinking on what we need to do to bring that concept into successful practice.
Many books in the "business" or "personal achievement" shelves will use a simple but eye-catching phrase as the basis of their Life Elixir, and then dredge up plenty of repetitive anecdotal evidence to support it. Not Adapt. In this book, Tim stays "loyal to his readers", by using rigorous studies and trials reported in the public domain to support the work.
This excellent book is worth a read (no, I haven't received any financial reward, this is just one of my occasional book recommendations... for the others click around on Amazon, or look at Book review labels in this Blog).
Tuesday, 3 April 2012
Wednesday, 8 February 2012
“… so in conclusion then, I’ll arrange for you to go on a training course in that.”
Possible concluding words at the end of a formal appraisal or even the ever popular “one to ones”, but ask yourself before you utter them: Do they need formal training or should I be giving them more coaching?
Individual coaching by a Supervisor, Team Leader or Manager for someone in their group is time consuming, occasionally difficult, but frequently what is actually required.
Training is excellent at introducing or adding to specific skills or knowledge, but to enhance the use of a skill, embedding it into a skill set or working routine is much harder. This is where coaching takes over. My own rule of thumb is that coaching a person in a stretching area requires 3 or 4 times the number of training interactions. Now I’m not talking about coaching in basics here, but if you have deemed training important to add to one of your Team members’ skills or capabilities, then failing to coach in it adequately just throws money away.
Now don’t be alarmed. It doesn’t mean you have to coach everyone in everything. Discuss and make clear where the coaching should be focused. Discuss it in those “one to ones”. Put a timescale on the coaching period, so that it is clear to both parties when you both think the coaching should be over.
“ I think that I should coach you in this for the next two months. At the end of that period you should be fine”. Reviewing progress as part of the coaching will help confirm or disprove that timeline.
So remember to ask yourself the coaching question before you search for the training courses.
Monday, 23 January 2012
What do the following all have in common?
o Multi-level, treacle like, hierarchical organisations
o The common “ procedures will be updated, re-training carried out” statement when there is a mis-selling or service level scandal
o Buying and selling Structured Debt vehicles that you don’t understand
o And possibly, the extensive earnings multiple between the highest and lowest employees
They are examples of linkages throughout a company getting stretched to, or beyond, breaking point. Not dissimilar to the “chain of command”, it also encompasses the values and principles that should govern an organisation at all levels.
When some common sense value needs re-stating in a training session, such as “ don’t sell inappropriate insurance” or “ don’t forge signatures” (a misdemeanour more serious in my field of Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices than even the Financial or Utility switching sectors), the linkage between the principles of the business and its employees is broken.
So what should be done about it? Pre-emptive actions could include:
o Meaningful self-audit programmes
o A Whistle blowing policy that encourages the declaration of broken links
o Audit by external people, with no vested interest in hiding the breaks.
More important are senior people, leaders, making clear by their words and their deeds what is important in an organisation, re-enforcing the links, re-enforcing the right behaviours, rather than fixing them after the breaks are discovered.
An old boss of mine, senior and removed from day-to-day Production, used to walk a part of the Factory floor where he was responsible every morning for 15 minutes before starting his day’s work. Over a number of weeks he covered his whole patch. Walking round he commented on tidiness, organisation, and attitudes. Everything that he saw that did, or didn’t meet his view of the world, received a comment to those present and the supervisor or team leader. He may have been right or wrong, but everyone knew what was expected of them.
He took the time, and demonstrated by his actions. Linkage wasn’t a problem there.