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May 11

Vanguard lead way for big improvements

  • Productivity is the most important peacetime issue facing any nation or organisation – therefore, one would expect all governments and major business schools, management organisations and consultancies to focus on it 

  • Not so

  • For example:

    • The UK has no well-known, well-supported productivity ‘centre of excellence’ e.g. a UK Productivity Centre – HMG might occasionally set up study groups to evolve better measures of economic performance or advise on ways to improve national productivity but nothing much ever results

    • Major UK business schools offer no courses on the subject

    • The CBI and IoD offer no useful help or comment about productivity on their websites

    • Major consultancies offer their expensive advice on anything but – the one exception being McKinseys who delve into the subject, albeit only at the macro/ global level 

  • So, for all the huffing and puffing about productivity being ‘almost everything’ and ‘the guts of capitalism’, managers and ministers are left with all sorts of productivity experts forever trotting out their groupthink wisdom about dismal ‘productivity gaps’ followed by widely different theories but little good practical help on how to close them – hence, most productivity gaps persist 

  • However, hope is at hand 

  • One management consultancy has emerged which already has a successful track record in obtaining BIG quantifiable productivity improvements for organisations in both public and private sectors – namely:

    • Vanguard Consulting

    • N.B. I have no connection with them and only a limited understanding of their approaches but I do like what little I know of them 

  • Vanguard, led by John Seddon, has cut through all the highfalutin fads and TLAs on offer to identify HUGE improvement potential available in most organisations, much from cutting waste caused by what they call ‘failure demand’ or which arises within most processes

  • Their approach is based on the thinking of Taiichi Ohno, his revolutionary TPS (Toyota Production System) and his focus on ‘removing the non-value adding wastes that occur in all OCTs (Order Cycle Times)’ 

  •  Overall, “all power to Vanguard” in their efforts to improve the performance of others

  • They seem to offer what most organisations desperately need i.e. practical solutions for big quantifiable productivity improvements and quick paybacks

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