Friday, September 8, 2017

Note to Self

At my age, I find myself forgetting things, especially when It comes to my “To Do” list.

A lot of us have ways “to do” this.  Typical these days is to use your android or iPhone, tablet, or notebook.  It’s convenient and it keeps records and history for as long as you want. 

I’ve even seen people talking into a handheld recorder.

For me, I found what works best is handwriting these all too important tasks on a piece of paper and carrying it with me where ever I go.  It did the job when I went to college (pre-computer), discovering now, that this old way takes care of business as well as any other means.

It’s not that I’m adverse nor have I not tried these wonderful apps that crowd my cell phone.  For example, I rely upon the calendar app instead of flipping pages in an A5 organizer.

But there’s something to say about that sheet of paper with a note written from you in your own cryptic handwriting.

Benefits?

  • It get’s the job done.
  • It’s convenient.
  • It’s not bulky.
  • You see accomplishments as you check off the task.
  • Each time you open up the sheet, it gives you a snap shot of what you’ve done and still need to do.
  • It helps time manage your tasks.
  • It helps prioritize your tasks.
  • It makes you feel good when you check off everything on your list and justifies that “Miller Time” moment.


This is a simple process that anyone can sink his/her teeth into, a physical act that requires both mind and body to coordinate and integrate as one; kind of like a ‘tai chi” moment.  And there’s nothing wrong with Tai Chi.

I surfed the web and found posts and articles about the benefits of physically handwriting on journals, school notes, meetings and so forth as they prove a stronger method of recollection.  

Check it out.  It’s somewhat revealing.

If you’re like me, handwriting or scribbling that’s marginally legible, you may think it’s counter-productive because of the readability factor, but when you step back and think about it, what matters is that whoever writes the note, can read it and make sense of it. 

From a business perspective, this is one way to relieve yourself from the dreaded multi-tasking monkey mind your find yourself caught into.

Write your list, and stick it in your pocket, referring to it every chance you get.

Try it.  You'll like it!

So if you don’t mind, my “To Do List” says I’ve got to throw the whites into the wash.


Saturday, August 26, 2017

Dissatisfied!

Picture courtesy of dreamstime.com


I’ve never created a blog on my cell phone, but I was compelled.  More like pissed.  It happened when I did not get an order I placed online.  At the time, it was in stock and I paid with my credit card.


I asked for a tracking number, and was then told that I’d have to wait several weeks for the manufacture to restock the distributor’s shelves.  


Wow.  Not good.


Why is it's easy to understand that stuffing eight pounds of cheese cannot fit in a four pound bag, but yet companies continue to over sell or overbook?


How many customers face dissatisfaction when service or products aren't delivered on a timely manner?


Lean Six Sigma 101 identifies value as any product or service a customer wants delivered on time hassle and defects free.


So what value can a customer expect when eight pounds of cheese is delivered in a four pound bag?  I know.  You're wondering, what a strange metaphor.  Remember, I'm writing this on my cellphone.


I realize that the primary objective is to increase revenue, and what better way than it is than to increase sales; however, the promise of satisfaction with delays and hassle make for poor business.


Labor, materials, equipment, processes and environment are used to determine a company's capacity.  This paradigm is used all the time and relied upon to ensure balance. Data collected and quantified validates a pattern that undeniably provides a pattern of expectation.  Here is what management uses to determine capacity and plan to meet customer’s demands.


But it's ignored.


I have a client, a small business owner, who is also in the habit of making SWAGs or super wild ass guesses when determining monthly inventory estimates.  Of course, like watching someone fold a road map incorrectly, it drives me nuts because he sells without knowing if he has enough to meet the demand.


I asked if he kept an accounting of his inventory and he’d shrug it off telling me that all he needed to do was just glance at his shelves and take it from there.


Consequently, he'd oversell, find himself in deep water as he was in the habit of pre-collecting payments.


When capacity planning is ignored or excluded from the process, a company, not surprisingly, faces a series of challenges that undermines its primary objective.


This is not symptomatic to small business as, due to high expectations and the continual push for more and the “siloed” differences between division promote an ambivalence, suppressed communications, and diminished control.  As the team concept disintegrates, the company suffers.


Ideas like shoring up an accounting system to provide true inventory numbers is a good start.  For service industries, another idea is to develop or purchase a reliable scheduling program that’s user friendly, app driven and updated in real time.  


As a process manager, I cannot tolerate lip service to justify customer satisfaction.  Clients, as far as I’m concerned, should only pay for products and services delivered, on time, hassle and defects free.  

What better way to control the flow than to follow a process without variation?


Obviously, this solution cannot see a modicum of success without policy, management, and employee buy-in execution and compliance.


So I cancelled my order.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Rule of Thumbs: Write a Business Plan


On occasion, I’ve been approached by small and medium sized companies. Some are start-ups. Many are established.  Others are handed down from generation-to-generation, modifying practices to accommodate trends, customer satisfaction, and up-to-date processes for profitability.   

So when I asked for copies of their business plans, their standard answer is “it’s all in my head.”   

Then I follow up with “is this where you want your company to be?  In your head? "

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Scientific Method

Lean is a science based discipline that uses facts, data, processes, measures and analysis to manage company operations, , reduce cycle times, and eliminate defects.  Projects, which include corrective action preventive action (CAPA), design and development (DND), and continuous improvement, follow a process or, specifically, the Scientific Method.

TIMWOOD Video

Saturday, January 28, 2017

More on TIMWOOD

First of all, this blog is devoted to the promotion and development of scientific process management, more specifically: Lean and Six Sigma. Tim Wood happens to be one of the nuances of the concept that is used by many companies to remind their staff of ways to curtail waste. Of course, there is so much more to discuss, learn and develop both internally and externally. I've learned that once you've learned something in this field, and thought you almonst know it all, you've discovered how much you need to explore.

As a start, let's look into who and what is Tim Wood.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Logical Thing To Do

When I was in college, I took a philosophy class, a requirement that was boring. 

One topic of discussion was “logic”.

The professor stood up in front of the class and said, “A cat has four legs and a tail. A dog has four legs and a tail, therefore a cat is a dog.”

Afterwards, he said nothing else.  

Silence. Crickets.  Chirp.  Chirp.

I couldn’t wait, so I raised my hand and challenged his statement, “I don’t think so.”

He asked me why?

I told him, "Cats aren’t dogs." 

He slapped his hands and screamed.  “EXACTLY!”

This professor then got on top of a soap box and, in so many words, said, the world was full of people, with power, who affected our lives; and, there was nothing we could do about it because we, as a human race, were inherently ignorant and stupid.

He stopped talking and scanned the room again.

I raised my hand.

Again.

He waved me off and challenged everyone to provide him with a 40-page, typed, term report with references to prove him wrong.

Remember, at the time, we didn't have the Internet nor word processors. It was then blood and guts, research.  Little did I know; I could use my martial arts training to provide a strong reference.  

At the time (1973), I trained in SF Chinatown and had the pleasure and honor of learning from Richard Kim, founder of the Zen Bei Butokokai ttp://www.richardkimmartialartist.com/affiliates.html, Master (Hanshi) Kim told us this story about kata.  

I remembered it well, driving the long distance from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to San Francisco.  Okay, I accepted being “inherently ignorant and stupid,” but I was, also, enamored in learning; and, I wanted to understand about so many things: Why we were in Viet Nam?  Why Kent State students got shot?  Why ethnics minorities were ethnic minorities.  Why S.I. Hayakawa was such a butt.  Why I liked listening to Jimmy Hendricks?  Why I wanted to be the next Bruce Lee?

About 200 of us sempais and gohais stood in attention between the long and arduous training to hear Hanchi Kim's words of wisdom.  Some carried small pad and pencils.  I wished I did, but my memory served me well, because in this lesson, he opened our minds to the responsibility of kata.  (For those of you who don’t know, “kata” was a set of pre-arranged techniques: blocks, strikes, kicks and punches that emulated combat, the karate way to develop skill and endurance. Breaking it down to brass tacks, it meant putting an opponent out with force but not kill.)

In kata, because we fought imaginary opponents, we could insert, should we wish, a “killing” mindset; but by doing so, must accept the responsibility and intellect behind this practice.  Training to take another person’s life should not be taken lightly because, he instructed, not only the techniques become second nature but the thoughts and intents.  To train to be inadvertent killers or murderers is not the way of martial arts and a person should know the difference.  The key word is "know."

In my report to the philosophy professor, I referenced this “kata” analogy, and he, surprisingly, agreed with my argument about how an individual without knowing was influenced to accept faulty logic.  We talked about how mainstream media, seclusion, and exclusion perpetuated a “if said enough times must be true” culture that, if not checked, affected others.

Could it be true that political pundits and talk show hosts were convincing unsuspecting souls that "cats were dogs" and not caring how this toxic repetition of faulty logic created irreparable harm? 

How is it possible to change direction in this culture? I suppose I'll have to pull an old Lean Six Sigma term "Kaizen" to help me out..."good change, one small step at at time."

Through intellect, rational thought, research and logic, I chose not to be "inherently ignorant and stupid,” and with "one small step at a time," I am convinced, good change is the logical thing to do.