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Author

  • Dick Smythe was educated at Bolton School, then graduated in pure mathematics and statistics from St Andrews University 
  • Afterwards, he took a masters degree in Operations Research at Birmingham University under the famous Professor Stephen Vajda 
  • He became a Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society, Operational Research Society, Institute of Management Services and 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 during his university holidays before joining their OR department based at Redcar
  • He subsequently moved to London when invited to join the world-famous BISRA OR department under Professor Sir Charles Goodeve, FRS – then part of British Steel – and was involved in their electric-arc steel-mill design and cost reduction projects and developing  their iron ore shipping strategy
  • During these earlier years, he also 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 the first 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 RORC offshore yacht races and failing to keep his golf handicap down to single figures at Royal Mid-Surrey Golf Club
  • He is happily married to Rhona, has two fine sons, Rob and Ed,  a lovely daughter-in-law Victoria, and two favourite grandchildren, Amelie and William – and he lives either by the Solent or at Marble Arch in London
  • He wrote ‘Productivity Knowhow’ Revisited post the Covid pandemic because, as the late Peter Drucker once said, managers have always sought something which lets them ‘do their job with less effort, in less time, yet with greater impact’