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Tools available

  • There are many different improvement approaches and tools on offer – they are usually designed to improve just one of the set of cardinals and are certainly not appropriate for them all

  • Some are more effective than others however

  • The following selection are thumb-nail sketches of the more popular approaches in use

  • Opinions on their pluses and minuses are also included

Baldrige award

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BEM – Business Excellence Model

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BPR

  ·         BPR, from Thomas Davenport and Michael Hammer, appeared in the early 90s with the aim of redesigning whole processes, even whole organisations   ·         BPR was said to be needed when a dramatic and perhaps unexpected change highlighted an organisation’s weaknesses e.g. a hostile take-over bid, the loss of a major contract, market …

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Brainstorming

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BS 5750 or ISO 9000

BS 5750 is a national standard for quality management – it certifies that a company’s quality management system works efficiently   The system is defined as ‘the organisation structure, responsibilities, activities, resources and events that together provide organised procedures and methods to ensure the capability of the organisation to meet quality requirements’   BS5750 requires …

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BSC – Balanced Scorecard

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IIP – Investors in People

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LEAN

Lean – aka Toyota Production System (TPS) – invented by Taiichi Ohno: Lean evolved at Toyota over the last 50 years – its goal is to eliminate waste and continuously improve productivity in every area of work, including customer relations, product design, supplier networks and factory management   Wikipedia says Lean aims ‘to produce less …

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OPT – Optimised Production Technology

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OR – Operations Research

Most improvement projects do not need more than common business sense and elementary mathematical and statistical skills to find good solutions – but some do   OR aims to find optimal solutions to complex management problems where there’s a clear objective and a large number of variables and choices are involved – it’s the cream …

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Outsourcing

Outsourcing: To stay competitive, the recent trend has been to outsource whole processes or functions because: Others, whether at home or abroad, can complete them better or cheaper They’re only needed occasionally They’re supportive, not core, and only the latter must be controlled closely    Over the last two decades, many UK organisations have resorted …

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PPF – Putting People First

In the mid 80s, British Airways had completed a major cost cutting exercise,      including labour shedding, and was starting to be profitable again A complete change of attitude was needed on the part of many of the staff, at all levels and in all departments, not just with staff that fronted up to …

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Project Management

PM – Project Management – aims to minimise the time and cost to complete a specific task or project – in particular, it aims to minimise the ‘waste of time’ that can easily arise between the start and finish   Usually, the projects involved are large, complex, non-routine, one-off affairs – there’s no business problem …

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Quality Circles

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Six Sigma

Six Sigma is a statistical approach which aims to drive up profits by putting special effort into ensuring goods or services conform to specification   It’s applicable to repetitive, relatively simple processes   Six Sigma is about eliminating unpleasant surprises and broken promises via: Reducing any variation in the outputs from processes – defects or …

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TFP or MFP

Total or Multi Factor Productivity – TFP, MFP: Academics have tried to evolve total productivity measures for both nations and organisations – inevitably, they’ve been given TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms) viz: TFP = Total Factor Productivity MFP = Multi Factor Productivity – essentially the same as TFP Both seek to measure the efficiency with which …

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TQM – Total Quality Management

  At the end of WW2, the American statisticians Deming, Juran and Crosby, revolutionised the Japanese economy by persuading them that improving quality levels would not only increase sales volumes but also reduce costs – their ideas had fallen on deaf ears at home   It was not until the 80s that customers finally got …

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VA – Value Analysis

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WS/ OM – Work Study

OM = Organisation and Methods: Sometimes, specific tasks must be analysed in detail to identify how to improve them   Work Study, a scientific management approach, can be the answer   WS engineers determine the right way to perform a manual or clerical task, and then calculate the time it should take an experienced operative to …

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