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

By George, ‘every company is dying’

According to Sir George Buckley, a top quality UK export from the North of England to the USA and now Chairman of Stanley Black & Decker and Smiths Group,  the ‘basic building blocks are the same in all companies’ George says: ‘At the 30,000ft level, every company needs: A dream To know what it wants …

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EU to become USE?

Since the euro-based austerity crises visited on Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy – followed by the refugee crises causing Schengen alarm bells to ring loudly across most EU states – then Brexit – and now elections in France and Germany raising increasingly important national sovereignty issues there – the likelihood is the EU, as constituted, will …

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Passports to productivity Improvement?

Some say the ‘Productivity Puzzle’ is the result of a storm of problems affecting both supply and demand in G7 developed nations viz: Supply: In the past, major technological advances (aka Schumpeter discontinuities) enabled quantum leaps in productivity levels – G7 nations would all adopt them and improve at about the same rate – now, without more …

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IoT to transform many processes

“The IoT (Internet of Things) can help businesses be more productive and efficient” says Phil Goldstein, web editor for BizTech – “but they need a plan to integrate disparate technologies whilst addressing protection needs against malicious actors” Steve Darrah, Director of National Solutions at Intel, says that “IoT can be used to improve efficiency and …

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Diageo appoints a CPO

Many companies employ inspectors and quality controllers in an effort to minimise waste and boost good output volumes Very few indeed  have anyone specifically in charge of productivity or widespread employment of best practices, whether from internal or external sources Now, at long last, a major company has appointed a Chief Productivity Officer (CPO) – …

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Pareto analyses

Pareto, a 19th century Italian economist, spotted that “80% of effects arise from only 20% of possible causes” – apply this rule to national productivity levels and just the top quintile of companies determine whether improvements are made – and it has been ever thus In other words, the great majority of companies are doing …

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The capitalist’s dilemma

N.B. The following are extracts from an article published in the Harvard Business Review in June, 2014 – it remains highly relevant today Professor Clayton Christensen and Derek van Bever of Harvard Business School  have embarked on a fascinating study into what may be holding back growth in the USA and elsewhere given ‘corporations are …

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