Food for Thought "If you have the right people, with good, basic values and good work ethic, you can have a tremendous journey."

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Food for Thought 2 "The follow-up in my Food for Thought series, with more focus on my experiences with Six Sigma and Kaizen."

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March 30, 2012

Life is a scavenger hunt

Filed under: Food for thought for friends — Alec @ 6:27 am

I had a dream and woke up in the middle of the night and wrote this down.    I know what it means to me, what does it mean to you?

Life is a scavenger hunt where with friends we search for items.   Some are not easy to find.  There are tasks, challenges, optical illusions, and gifts along the way.   This is not a competition.   You are given instructions and a horse and carriage to ride.   When we complete the journey we are given a silver broach with a jewel.   The jewel does not represent death but joy and inner peace.  There is no risk,  but the journey is the …

Sorry,  when I woke up in the morning, that is all that was written.   Isn’t the mind a wonderful thing.

March 26, 2012

We have come a long way since we started McPherson Lean Partners, thanks to you!

Filed under: Food for thought for friends — Alec @ 4:01 pm

Our first Total Quality Institute Kaizen event was Nov 2008 and as of January 1, 2012, we have had 530 participants in 53 sessions including:

• 215 people in 22 Leadership, Sales, & Customer loyalty events
• 321 people in 31 Kaizen events
• AND we have done over 400 personal profile assessments for attendees

(This does not include the 36 Kaizen events that I personally conducted prior to MLP)



All businesses can be looked at like a three-legged stool. The three legs (in no priority order) are People, Planning and Processes.

People: Attitude is everything

If you have the world’s best processes but if your employees don’t follow them, what good are they doing you?

Behavior, teamwork, conflicts, habits, all play a huge roles in employee performance and success. Keep in mind that there are habits to watch out for. Rework is an indication of people not following procedures. Scrap is an indication of processes not capable. Learning how to build a great team and what type of people you want on the team is a key factor in running your business effectively.

Think about:

• Who is best suited to invest time into training for a specific skill?
• Why does someone not fit on a specific team?
• What triggers bad behaviors?
• What is the cue, and reward, that triggers good behaviors?

Planning: Future Goal Setting

Where do you want to be by a certain date in the future? Usually the time frame should be 5 to 10 years, maybe up to 20. Ask yourself measureable questions.

• What will your business look like?
• What are your strengths and weaknesses?
• How will you measure the success of the plan?
• How many employees?
• How much revenue? How much profit? What is your debt load?
• Who are your customers?
• Who are your competitors?
• What is your market?
• What types of services or processes do you include?

Then add a gap analysis; take note of where you are today and where you want to be for each of your goals. Establish a year-by-year plan to accomplish your goals.

Processes: How you do what you do

Manufacturing Process : If you want to be best in class we must have very streamlined processes that produce no waste. A helpful visual tool is to Value Stream Map your Processes and look for waste. Examine actual processes, not the assumed process. Benchmarking processes from one plant or office to another is a useful tool when auditing your efficiency. Make it visual, easy to assess and ask why.

Things to consider:
• Ask yourself if there variation of the process on 3rd shift versus 1st?
• Compare one warehouse versus another.
• Which is the fastest, and most efficient with least errors?
• What are the walk patterns, the wait areas?

Business Process : It is important to consider all your processes, not just manufacturing processes. Include business processes as well. Both aspects of the business need to be working effectively in conjunction for your processes to be successful.

Things to consider:
• What are your HR and Accounting lead times to process paper?
• What is the time to process a sales order or a quote?

Feeling like your three-legged stool is a bit wobbly? Call McPherson Lean Partners and let our expertise and experience help you find the right balance.

March 11, 2012

Get a little fire, please! NOW

Filed under: Food for thought for friends — Alec @ 1:43 pm

It is not what you say,  it is the way you say it.   It is your body language.  It is what you are thinking and what you do that really counts.    I have had several bosses in my career that were really big into body language.  Even to the point of firing people who they thought were sending negative signals.   I think that is a little over the top.

But,  your body language is what you are thinking either consciously or sub consciously,  and probably what you will do after the conversation.   And your body language is what I see even if you are saying something else.   Yes,  different cultures have different body languages that mean different things,  but in the Midwest, we can read them quite well.

Are you listening,  are you participating,  your body language tells us.  Get excited, get involved, at least say yes or no.   Don’t just lean back in your chair and not participate.    Don’t just acquiesce.

It does take courage,  and you may have to learn to love change,  plan for change and even be the facilitator for change.   But you will find yourself re-invigorated.

So,  laugh, cry, and get a little fire in the belly.   But above all focus on the vital few principles and act.    I could go on about you should have some 10 and 20 year goals.   You should identify the cues that happen that cause you to act on your couch habit,  or the cues you have (like me) to eat chocolate or cookie.

But,  I really want you to participate in life and go and do things that really matter.  Smile and enjoy life.

Finally,  at least learn to act like you are involved with your body language.   If you want to know how,  email me.

March 2, 2012

Graduate studies “Business sucess 599”

Filed under: Food for thought for friends — Alec @ 11:11 am

We need this class in good old USA, If I were teaching it, the outline would be as follows;

1.   What is your plan, what will your business look like in 5 & 10 years?   Who are your customers, who are your competitors?  What is your revenue, what resources are required to produce at that level; people, machines, floor space, capital, etc.?

2.  What process. variation and people problems might I incounter, and how will I deal with them?    What is the best process, with least capital, most capacity, and lowest lead times?    What can I do to reduce the variation so that every product is almost identical and variation continues to get smaller?  How do I pick my team members, and how do I add team members? How can I have a great team today, and develop the great team needed for tomorrow?    How shall I manage conflict among my team?

3.   What do I need to do today, this week, this month to execute the plan?

The text of the second section of the Declaration of Independence reads:

Filed under: Food for thought for friends — Alec @ 8:38 am

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

In an election year, we all need to reread the preamble and the second sectionof the constitution.   What does it mean to you?

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