Dick Smythe was educated at Bolton School, graduated in pure mathematics and statistics at St Andrews University and then took a masters in Operations Research at Birmingham University • He became a Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society, Operational Research Society, Institute of Management Services and the Institute of Physical Distribution Management • His career started with a scholarship from Dorman Long Steel on Teesside, working shifts on blast furnaces and steel mills before graduating and, afterwards, in their OR department – he subsequently moved to London to join the world-famous BISRA OR department, then part of British Steel, and was involved in their corporate planning and cost reduction programmes • During these earlier years, he became an officer in the Royal Naval Reserve, serving on their coastal minesweepers, and a wing forward for Rosslyn Park RFC (n'th XV), playing mostly for their famed après-rugby • He was then recruited by Europe's leading consultancy of the day, PA Consulting Group, and went on to set up and grow their Productivity Services Division into a significant part of the business, becoming a PA director and sitting on their UK management consultancy board - whilst there, he led a joint study with the CBI into UK productivity, and presented the results on TV, radio and to the national press with Director General Sir John Banham - The Times leader commented: "It is refreshing to come across something that has its feet firmly planted on the ground" • Since then, he has mixed productivity consultancy work with playing the property and stock markets, skippering his own boat in the Fastnet and many other ocean yacht races and keeping his golf handicap down to single figures • He is happily married, has two sons and two grandchildren to date, and lives either by the Solent or at Marble Arch in London

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Author's posts

Customer measures needed

Once, supply of most goods and services people wanted to buy was limited – suppliers thus had the whip-hand – for example, Ford could offer their ‘Model T’ cars using the strap line “any colour so long as it’s black” Those days are long gone Mid 20’th century and on, competition between suppliers started to …

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Current customer measures

Supplier organisations have two sorts of customers – external and internal: External customers pay for the goods or services every private or public sector organisation offers them – it’s their money alone which keeps businesses in business and public services alive, and pays for every employee’s pay packet and shareholder’s dividend – it’s them who …

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Waste murders productivity

Whilst few managers measure productivity well, even fewer measure their waste of outputs and costly inputs Waste arises both internally and externally: Internal waste = When things are not done RFT (Right First Time) and work is rejected or has to be reworked External waste = When things are delivered to customers either not as …

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Major failings of productivity measures

All managers need to know they’re getting the most out of all costly input resources employed: In the private sector, to beat their competition, minimise unit costs and maximise sales and profit margins In the public sector, to optimise the number and quality of services on offer However, most managers do not measure productivity well …

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NHS targets have had their day

Lord Prior of Brampton is reported by The Times as saying: “NHS staff suffer from learned helplessness in a dysfunctional system” So what prompted this mystifying statement? A&E units are currently reporting their worst numbers of patients waiting longer than four hours, many on trolleys as no beds were available – the NHS Confederation of …

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