We are facing difficult times, but the challenge can be met with our new lean programme.

  • We will be starting off with a weekend away at a hotel where we will review SWOT.
  • Thereafter I will be announcing some changes and initiatives. We need to act quickly on this so consultation with staff must be brief.
  • Each department will be expected to reduce staff by 10% during the next year. It is bound to motivate.
  • The senior management bonus will be increased and linked to the achievement of targets.
  • An important growth target will be the number of enquiries received.
  • I am concerned that not enough work is being done in the back office. The back office is much more effective place for work to be done if high productivity is to be achieved.
  • An organisation I know will soon be conducting a lean readiness assessment. This will help identify where we need to focus our attention.
  • I am impressed with the ‘Go to Gemba’ concept. Please make sure that your managers do this regularly – at least once per week.
  • The scrutiny of cost variances must be improved. I expect managers to take this up in their relevant cost centres.
  • Top priority must be given to the on-time production of reports, which must contain details of progress against targets.
  • We must make sure that all service centres are fully utilised. We cannot afford non-productive time.
  • I expect to see the ‘7 wastes’ posters we have ordered to be prominently displayed.

Service is crucial to our future. The following points relate to this:

  • Standards must be enforced.
  • The previous 5S programme must be re-initiated. Staff cannot be expected to give good service if their desks are untidy!
  • Productivity targets relating to call times in the call centre must be established. Standard call times must be reviewed.
  • Targets will continually be reviewed, and should be fixed in relation to the previous quarters’ performance.
  • We will investigate further automation in the call centre. If this does not yield sufficiently good results we will have to consider moving the call centre to India. We may have to consider this in any case for cost reasons. I have asked for a report from our consultants.
  • Since customer satisfaction is very important to me, supervisors of front line staff must produce documentation on customer problems. Customer surveys will be very useful in this regard.
  • The number of reported problems must be reduced. We will initiate a bonus system for reduced problems.
  • Service response time is obviously important to our customers. To that end I have asked consultants to carry out value stream mapping exercises. These will reveal the potential for waste elimination. By adding up the current activity times we will get an idea of current lead times.

Remember, profitability must be our top concern.

I.M. Fake, CEO (Alias John Bicheno)