Blog

Waiting for the next Improvement Project?

How does your organisation identify improvement opportunities? Does it wait for someone to spot them or does it have a system that drives opportunities to the surface?

Why Warehouses lose efficiency over time

As a specialist in logistics consultancy work Ormond Hooper has observed that most warehouses suffer from a gradual leaking of efficiency and cost optimisation over time. Here he takes a look at some of the reasons for this and possible ways to stem the leak.

Measuring performance – good or bad?

Are measures of personal performance a good or a bad thing? There’s potential for negative effects whether you do or don’t measure, so how do you get the benefits without the downside? Working to agree an objective measurement system that those being measured accept can be a great start.

So Improving Efficiency Can be a Bad Thing?

Sometimes improving efficiency may not be as beneficial as you think. What if the thing you’re trying to make more efficient isn’t needed at all? We need to consider the difference between Efficiency and Effectiveness.

Continuous Improvement – Is Process or Culture the Key to Success?

Harvey Leach takes a look at the organisational factors required to enable continuous improvement plans to be successfully introduced and be sustained.

Continuous Improvement Workshop

We are pleased to introduce the first in a series of workshops designed to train leaders and business teams in business improvement skills.

What can we learn from the “Volkswagen issue”?

What can VW’s recent troubles teach us about the way organisational targets can encourage people to behave in strange ways? How we are measured, rewarded and punished can affect the ways we behave.

Do Deadlines Matter?

How important is hitting a deadline when no-one’s screaming for results? Without the “pressure”, it can be hard to proactively set and hit target dates, yet it’s key to making progress with improvement efforts.

Why do good Lean implementations go bad? – Part 2

Lean and other Continuous Improvement implementations so often flounder and then fail to deliver; but why? Leadership and people development are the missing ingredients.

Why do good Lean implementations go bad?

So often Lean or continuous improvement implementations fail to deliver. In this article Paul Kelly suggests that the over emphasis on the tools and a lack of appreciation of leadership and people is a weakness that undermines the “improvement community”.

Is your attitude to failure putting your business at risk?

Effective continuous improvement requires experiments that have a possibility of failure associated with them. How do you allow this without putting your customer relationships or your business at risks. Without ongoing improvement, the business is at risk anyway, so here are some practical steps to help you “fail safely”.

Are you afraid to let others make mistakes?

How acceptable is it in your organisation to make mistakes? If managers are looking for someone to blame when things go wrong, it’s hard for people to try new ways of doing things. Making it OK to fail is essential for improvement to happen.

What capabilities do you need to turn beliefs into effective action?

How do we know that our Vision, Values and Beliefs are turning into reality? By looking at how we and others turn that into action. Is what we see consistent with what we want?

What beliefs are essential to improving performance?

What we believe about ourselves, our organisation and our colleagues can have an enormous impact on how well we can engage everyone in making improvements to our business. In this article, Harvey Leach explores some key leadership beliefs that will either enable or constrain our ability to improve the performance of our organisations.

How do our beliefs about others affect the way we work with them?

Have you ever thought about how much your beliefs about others affect the way you interact with them? Assuming that everyone is trying to do a good job and working to help them identify and fix the things that are stopping them can be a powerful way to make effective improvements happen.

Why won’t people engage with improvement plans?

One of the issues that crops up most frequently when I run improvement workshops is “how to engage others in making the improvement.” All too often, I see the output of improvement workshops – where all the attendees have worked together and created a real passion for making improvements – fall flat when they share their plans with the rest of the team. Why is that?

Reverse Logistics – A lost opportunity?

Paul Kelly’s article, recently published in Logistics Business IT Magazine, looks in more detail at the opportunities presented by taking an organisational view of Reverse Logisitics.

How can leaders create the right climate for successful continuous improvement?

The key to sustainable continuous improvement is to establish a culture where identifying opportunities to improve, planning carefully to take action and making steady progress towards an agreed goal becomes part of the very being of the organisation. The harder question, of course, becomes “so how do we establish such a culture?” Harvey Leach gives an overview of the areas to consider.

Why haven’t we got round to doing the thing we really want to?

Why is it that some of us never get round to putting into place that brilliant idea that we’ve been holding onto for so long? Harvey Leach looks at some of the possible reasons here.

Combining Procurement to achieve Savings

As all public services are under pressure to make savings, one approach considered here is combining procurement spend between similar organisations to achieve greater opportunities for cost savings and price negotiations

The Carter Report – How to respond?

The interim Carter Report was published last week. This is our interpretation of how NHS Provider Trusts could respond to Carter’s challenge.

Reverse Logistics – Home for the Unwanted?

Reverse Logistics has often been the seen as forgotten operation in the world of supply chain management. It can provide the opportunity to unlock significant business benefits, but also raises some important organisational questions that need to be answered first.

Supplier Relationship Management

Changing the mindset towards managing the relationships with your suppliers may be the key to adding business value, creating new opportunities and preventing conflict further down the line.

The curtain finally falls on the Public Sector Microsoft XP Customer Support Agreement

Following the decision by the Crown Commercial Service not to renew the single Public Sector Wide Windows XP Customer Support Agreement and its coverage or Office 2003 and Microsoft Exchange 2003, many public sector organisations are having to face the fact that they finally need to plan for their migration to newer supported applications.

10 Ways to Protect Yourself When Hiring a Supplier

10 pointers to make sure that the long-term contract that you’re about to sign with a supplier is water tight.

Global Supply Chain Automation

A review of the benefits of automating the supply chain, including cost savings, producing greater and faster information and the ease with which this automation is achievable, against the obstacles that typically hold businesses back from applying key automated business processes.

Making Change Stick

Melanie Haydon looks at the planning required during a project to ensure that the results are sustained over time.

What is Big Data in Manufacturing?

Phil Lambert talks about what Big Data really means, with practical examples. He then explains how that information can help manufacturing organisations if used properly and guides you to the next steps.

Are Local Authorities ready to fulfil their new responsibilities under the Care Act 2014?

Under the Care Act 2014 local authorities will be required to take on the responsibility for care provision should a current provider fail. Colin Hudson looks at the issue that this raises and the steps that need to be taken into consideration.

Making Your Professional Body Fit for Purpose

Ian Barratt CMC discusses the stresses faced by professional membership bodies and their business models The climate for all kinds of organisation is challenging and professional bodies are no exception. Gone are the days when such bodies could sit in splendid isolation, ignoring the need to compete with others outside their professional qualifications and training, […]

Making those New Year Resolutions stick!

So, it’s the first week back at work, and all the memories of Christmas and New Year are already starting to fade. And what about your New Year resolutions? Did you make any? And whether we’re talking about personal or business resolutions.

Business New Year’s Resolutions

While many people still have New Year’s resolutions to improve their life, I wonder how many people take the time to do business resolutions and improve their business life? While the pressure is off most people during this Christmas break there will be time to reflect even if it’s while travelling or zoning out when […]

Planning for Christmas

So it’s the countdown to Christmas, and here comes that quickening of the pace at work as you try and get things finished before everyone starts having days off to go to nativity plays and do Christmas shopping and the round of other Christmas events. So how do you juggle the demands of work and […]

Governance: Burden or facilitator?

In his third article on membership bodies Ian Barratt CMC explores whether governance arrangements are driven by the scale of the organisation or its culture In a recent edition of the PARN Professional Body Sector Review one contributor noted, “I suspect that laborious consensus-building which is the norm on many association Boards puts people off […]

The Key to Sustainable Continuous Improvement

Are you totally satisfied with the results of all of the improvement efforts in your organisation? Are you thinking “everything here is fine, we really don’t need to have an improvement programme”? If the answer to either of these questions is “yes”, then please skip onto the next article, this isn’t for you. Now, if […]

The CEO and the ‘Critical Friend’

In my previous article on the role of the CEO in membership organisations, I mentioned the external ‘critical friend’ as someone who can enable the CEO to shape responses to their environment with the confidence born of objectivity. The title, in one sense, is a clear articulation of the role: the individual who can challenge […]

Responsible Procurement

Why responsible procurement is crucial to business

Consultants as Agents of Change

Recent figures from the Interim Management Association show that the demand for interim managers is soaring, reaching 15% in the first quarter of 2014. Driven by the current economic climate, as organisations respond to the upturn, they need resource to make changes happen and implement improvements but having stripped out resources during the recession they […]

The CEO figure in membership bodies: leader, loner or just lonely?

I was talking to the Chief Executive of a membership body recently who summed up one of their dilemmas as “Who can I talk to without the conversation becoming another problem?” I sympathise with the sentiment. Having been the Chief Executive or Deputy in three membership bodies and worked with other, similar organisations as a […]

Set for Growth with New Appointments

The Consultancy Company, the UK specialist in implementing strategic change, is strengthening its team with the appointment of two new senior consultants. Ian Nicholls will be bringing his extensive experience to the business’ well-established manufacturing offer while Sheldon Stoutt is set to bring in a fresh skills-set with an entrepreneurial background in […]

What to look for in your temporary labour supplier

The 2010 Agency Workers Act changes have become part of normal ways of working but what do you need to look for from your temporary labour supplier? Organisations will continue to use temporary workers both to cover short term peaks and absences and as a way of reducing the risk when taking on new people […]

Contact Centre Diagnostics

A contact centre may have challenges that need resolution but rarely, if ever, can these be resolvable solely within it. Experience shows that the root cause of the issues arising in contact centres lie elsewhere in the organisation, typically by internal processes and systems not working. This means the contact centre is simply where the […]

Linking to Sustainable Procurement

For every supply chain stakeholder among our clients, sustainable procurement continues to be a more than just a buzzword. You don’t have to look very far to find constant examples of the impact of poorly manage sustainable chains and their devastating potential. Sustainable procurement – where procurement is used to deliver enduring social, economic and […]

P3 or not P3, stability is the question

With the world’s three largest shipping lines planning to launch their vessel sharing alliance in Q2, now could be the time for manufacturers to review their use of international container freight services. Ultimately this is developing a clearly defined commercial strategy for managing both shipping lines and freight forwarders that will lead to reduced cost […]

Navigating TUPE for your business

While the legal implications of the recent TUPE amends are up for debate, so too is the way that they play out within businesses. How can business leaders work with their HR functions to navigate the new framework? As a business owner who has been on both sides of a takeover, Aidan Salter from The […]

The Consultancy Company provided us with a clear vision and were excellent in their support in turning the vision into a robust, well managed project plan for improvement. This programme of activity has significantly improved the service we provide to our customers and the guidance and support The Consultancy Company was a key enabler.

If I was looking to choose a Management Consultant . . .

I am often asked what organisations should look for when appointing a management consultancy. Our clients approach us to provide the expertise and guidance they need to help them overcome challenges facing their business – a major investment of time and resource. Having worked on the client side at a senior level, I’d factor in […]

How to decide on project priorities for the coming year…without the stress

Coming to the financial year-end brings with it business planning, and the budget cycle, along with a pile of projects that you would like to, or think need to be, actioned in the coming year… So how do you decide which projects should be a priority for this financial year? And what do you do […]

Why we’re growing our team

For all business leaders, growing your team is an exciting time. Complementary skills, new sector experience, shared passion for client service, all add new energy to an organisation. Having taken the helm at The Consultancy Company last Autumn, my vision was clear- to continue to help clients overcome strategic challenges and reach their full organisational […]

3 steps to a better value proposition I’ve just started working with a client who has a worldwide reputation for the excellence of their core competence in engineering. They are also fortunate in having a key customer with whom they have had a long-term relationship. But that is creating issues for them – familiarity seems […]

Supplier Management

Value for money is the ideal combination of “whole life costs” and quality which meet your requirements. In order to assess value for money you will need a clear, concise statement of what you want the goods/services to do. Develop terms which are clear on the outcomes you want. However, make sure these are not […]

Selecting a Supplier

When you are engaging third party suppliers, there are some vital things to think about which will help ensure a reliable service. Of course, the deal that the supplier is offering is one of the main things to consider. But before that, it is important to get to know them and establish what risks there […]

Social Media

Do you know how your customers are saying about you on Social Media? Once upon a time, if you upset a customer, the rough rule of thumb was that they would tell 25 other people of their bad experience with you. That was bad enough and back in my travel industry career, I once had […]

Working With Stakeholders

Stakeholders: May be affected as a result of the changes your project brings May control resources you need to do the project or May need to do something to make it happen. They can make or break your project. If they are being positive they can provide advice, make decisions and promote the project’s aims. […]

Handling Change

When planning a project, it’s easy to assume that everyone will see the benefits as clearly as you do. But sometimes, people resist change, even when it is in their best interests. Handling change is all about thinking from the point of view of the people impacted by it. People directly affected are easy to […]

How to Stop project risks spiralling out of control

You’ve done the plan, got a budget and people are starting work. What could possibly go wrong? Risk Planning Imagine every possible risk that could occur. The building firm you are using goes bust three days before work finishes. Your workflow software malfunctions. Your recruitment campaign fails to deliver enough staff for your contact centre. […]

Waiting for the next Improvement Project?

January 14th, 2016

Why Warehouses lose efficiency over time

December 15th, 2015

Measuring performance – good or bad?

December 9th, 2015

So Improving Efficiency Can be a Bad Thing?

December 1st, 2015

Continuous Improvement – Is Process or Culture the Key to Success?

November 17th, 2015

Continuous Improvement Workshop

November 3rd, 2015

What can we learn from the “Volkswagen issue”?

October 14th, 2015

Do Deadlines Matter?

September 22nd, 2015

Why do good Lean implementations go bad? – Part 2

September 10th, 2015

Why do good Lean implementations go bad?

September 8th, 2015