Productivity: unleashing a tidal wave of possibilities

Published: 29 Jun 2023

In the latest in our Business Briefing Notes series, author Chris Kinvig reveals ways in which you can operate your business more efficiently and examines three of seven core tools that will demonstrably and dramatically improve your productivity.

Chris Kinvig is a Six Sigma Master Black Belt and Scrum Master, a retired army officer and senior associate at Deloitte LLP. He is an Operational Excellence professional, with 20 years’ experience in delivery process improvement and creating a lean culture.

Five performance dimensions

Before looking at where productivity is being lost, you need to differentiate your customers’ wants from their needs, in order to understand your customers fully. Once you have established what your customers want from you, the next step is to assess how your business is doing against five ‘performance dimensions’. These are what the author identifies as what clients really value and they are listed as Quality, Speed, Safety, Flexibility, Cost, Sustainability and Dependability.

Identifying hidden costs of running your business

Correlating academic theory to real world examples, the briefing note examines where the hidden costs of your business really lie. These include time and effort spent on reworking things or scrapping finished articles Find out what Leader Standard Work is and how it can help you provide a structure and routine that will help you shift from focusing on results to a dual focus on both process and results.

‘Eyes for waste’

You need to review your business processes to identify which ones actually add value and should be retained, and which ones do not. Having ‘eyes for waste’ is essential to discover which of your processes don’t add any value, one of the major reasons for poor productivity levels. Chris also provides a great explanation of the foundation principles of sustaining an ‘outperforming culture’ in your workplace.

The article reflects on the thought-provoking philosophy of Taiichi Ohno, considered to be the father of the Toyota Production System, who identified seven forms of waste, typically remembered by the catchy acronyms DOWNTIME or TIMWOODS:

Defects: producing products or services that are scrap

Over production: making to stock, producing products in the hope they will be sold

Waiting; delays caused by waiting for approval, inspection or parts delivery

Not utilising talent

Transport: unnecessary movement of materials or goods

Inventory; holding stock and inventory

Motion: unnecessary movement around the workplace

Excess process: doing more than is required to meet customer requirement.

Do, Ditch or Delegate approach

As a business owner, how can you avoid taking on responsibility for all aspects of the business and becoming completely over-burdened? Detailing what business leaders need to do to create and add value can be summarised in 3Ds; what should you Do, what should you Ditch, and finally, what should you Delegate?

With examples of links to further resources to help you, the full Productivity Business Briefing Note is now available to download from our website.  One of our vision statements is to help members build a better business and to that end, you can find all the Business Briefings available so far to download here.