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Continuous Improvement and the vital few

Let the low hanging fruit rot!

In diagnostics people are always looking for the “low hanging fruit”,  “Just do its” and “quick wins”.

I would let the low hanging fruit rot and go looking for the things we have to do. This means our diagnostics have to be completed with rigour and we have to have a thorough understanding of how the business operates and not just a problematic process. Too often people fix the wrong waste.

I have been guilty myself – I improved a change over time from 4 tours to 45 minutes, the business though had 30 presses and only work for 18, their problem lay in sales and not in capacity.

We need to fully understand where the bottleneck lies within an operation and improve this as priority one. Symptom and cause often raises its head, 5 whys have 5 levels to encourage us to dig further. Often process diagnostics alone are not detailed enough,

To achieve true continuous improvement, I believe we should now conduct our diagnostics via a series of lenses, can the organisation surface problems (deployment), can it fix problems (training and management process), are its processes effective and correctly designed (Value stream diagnostics), are the value streams profitable (activity costing) and finally are its people capable of delivering  improvement (change management).

All of us have had experience of the “happy mappers” who spend 10 days diagnosing your business and tell you at the need you need 5s, Kaizen, OEE and Kanban.  Let the low hanging fruit rot and diagnose properly fix the critical parts not the easy parts!

 Let the low hanging fruit rot


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